Kokoro Ito, traveling the world by use of a mountain bike made a pit stop in Conrad this past week.
At about five feet-eight inches tall and weighing in at maybe 140 pounds, the 30-year-old treks down the road ways on his bike loaded down with gear and equipment that weighs 150 pounds.
He began his journey about four years ago, leaving his home town of Fukuoka, Japan on the southern part of the island, making his way through Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, just to name a few of the Asian countries he has been through.
Ito has already been on the trail ways in Europe, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain, again just to name a few of his stops.
In halting English, he explains that he has no agenda, meaning he is not out to raise money for some organization or group or to make a statement of some kinds. He just wanted to experience the world on his terms, so to speak.
Before starting out on his world journey, Ito worked for a tourist company in Japan. He writes of his experiences and where he has been for a local Japanese newspaper.
When, someday, he gets the travel bug out of his system, Ito wants to go back to his home city. “I would like to take the teacher’s exam and teach geography,” he says.
No doubt that he would be well qualified on the subject.
That will be a while yet. He came down to Conrad via Canada and plans to stay on the I-15 corridor going south to California, on to Mexico and eventually going all the way down to the southern tip of South America.
Peddling 60 to 70 miles a day, he still has some time on his hands.
Ito has two sisters and a brother. One of his sisters is in Africa, an eventually, destination.
While he has had a number of memorable experiences, in halting English, he said one was a close encounter with an Alaskan Brown bear. He came, he explained, within about a 1,000 feet of the bear. Grinning wryly he says, “That’s close enough.”
If you can read Japanese Ito has an Internet blog site; http:/whereis kokoro.blog34.fc2.com/
Drop him a note, you’ll probably get an answer back.