Sixty-six thousand km., 1,520 days, 42 countries, two wheels: Roei “Jinji” Sadan
can easily just use numbers to tell the story of his four-year journey around
the world by bicycle, which he finished on Wednesday night in Jerusalem at the
But a journey of this magnitude isn’t about the numbers, he
said on Wednesday.RELATED:Premium: Two Israelis, two wheels, two eyes The ambassador on wheels
“I learned that the journey doesn’t have a
destination, the destination is the journey,” he said, as more than 100 family
members and friends joined him for the last three kilometers of his ride from
downtown Jerusalem to the Western Wall.
Over the past two years that The
has followed his journey, Sadan, 29, has stressed that it is the
locals, the random acts of kindness, the stunning scenery, the friends and other
bikers along the route, the sheer determination and the little moments that all
together add up to an incredible 66,000 kilometers.
“At first I didn’t
think he’d finish,” a teary-eyed Rachel Sadan, Roei’s mother, told the Post
the final ceremony. “But then he did one route and another route and another
route and he’s Jinji, and he knew he would do it,” she said.
has previously said that the trip was harder for his mother than for him, which
she thinks is probably accurate. “I’m very excited [that he’s done], after four
really hard years, when I didn’t know where he was, what he was eating, what he
was wearing, if he was OK,” she said.
The theme of Sadan’s journey, which
he began in March 2007, is “Dream with Open Eyes,” encouraging people to follow
their dreams. He was sponsored by Eden Water.
His route took him from the
northernmost point of Alaska down the entire west coast of North, Central and
South America, then from the tip of South Africa to Ethiopia, a two-week break in Israel, then across Europe from
Spain to Istanbul, across Turkey through Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to a tour
across China the long way, and a final four months in Australia along the coast.
He also biked for two weeks on a tandem with blind Israeli biker Orly Tal in
Along the way, he was one of Israel’s farthest-reaching
informal ambassadors, bringing his blue-and-white hybrid Thorn bike named Emuna
(Faith), bedecked with an Israeli flag fluttering behind, to corners of
Australia’s Outback, Africa’s deserts, and Central America’s jungles that had
never seen an Israeli before. He spoke at schools, embassies, Jewish communities
and synagogues, encouraging people to follow their dreams.
As for what
comes next, Sadan isn’t quite sure. He knows it will involve lots of rest,
catching up with friends and family and perhaps a book deal.
“I know that
I cannot top this, that’s OK,” he said on Wednesday. “But when I started, I knew
that this is the biggest challenge that I can think of. Now, after I did it, I
know that I was right.”
He finished the four-year journey at the Western
Wall in an emotional ceremony that included a recitation of Birkat Hagomel, a
blessing of thanksgiving traditionally said after a long, arduous journey or
after surviving a dangerous situation.
“I’m not an Orthodox believer but
the Kotel is the place for Israel, if you want to pick one place in Israel that
symbolizes Israel, and this is the place that I want to finish my journey,” he
A representative from the Western Wall blessed Sadan, telling him,
“From this point, the Jews went into exile, a long journey that lasted more than
2,000 years. Your journey also took you throughout the whole world... now you
are closing the circle as an ambassador by returning to this place.”
for the general public that’s maybe a little overwhelmed by his mammoth journey,
“Jinji” has a simple message that he has repeated over the years: “Do whatever
you want to do, but do it the best way,” he told the Post
“Wake up in the morning and start to train. It doesn’t matter if
you want to cycle around the world or you want to be a lawyer, every guy has his
journey. There are bad parts, but it’s all part of the journey – things happen.
Listen to the heart. The heart is the best compass.”
And then he added:
“You don’t have to be crazy to do what I want to, but it helps.”
more about Sadan’s journey on his website www.dreamwithopeneyes.com.