Handsome Profiles

Oct 21, 2013

Traveling Cyclist
Pittsburgh, PA by way of Newington, CT

At the ripe old age of 28, Steve Slusarski retired from his six-year career in nuclear power plant maintenance with Westinghouse, grabbed his friend Aaron, who he had known since their college days at Rensselaer Polytechnic, and began riding a bicycle around the world. Now 30, he still hasn’t stopped pedaling.

I met Steve when he was on a temporary assignment in Cleveland back in the summer of 2011. During our initial conversation, he mentioned that he was planning to quit his job and cycle around the world with a friend. At the time, I didn’t know people could do that. A short while later, it became evident that Steve was serious about making it happen.

His trip started in Singapore back in January 2012. Since then, he’s cycled across 16 countries in Asia and 13+ in Europe (the only stickers missing in the photo are Austria and Italy, Steve’s current base). It’s a lot of ground to cover—tens of thousands of miles, actually. And with each rotation of the pedals, someplace new. At each stop, an unfamiliar face. Always the opportunity for growth from encountering the novel and oh so strange.

From assembling his bicycle in airports to making roadside repairs to pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere, his hands have played a pretty major role in allowing him to complete this incredible journey. Though his calluses had faded by the time I met him in Prague, Czech Republic back in June, he assured me that they were there not long ago (the dirt was from a morning spent foraging for mushrooms in the forests outside of central Prague). He and his partner had simply been taking it easy before flying home for the second time in those 14 months before our meeting (their first point of departure from the trip was Istanbul, Turkey). On the third leg of the trip, Steve is now going it alone.

Though he might be rolling solo now, Steve shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. In the coming months, he will try his hand at trades like blacksmithing, baking, farming and woodworking to see what his natural talents and interests are best suited for. All the while, he’ll head farther south into Spain and Portugal to ride out the winter. Beyond that, Steve’s fate is in the hands of those who decide whether to grant him a visa in the European Union. If no, there’s always the excitement of every traveler’s mysterious Plan B.

Steve addresses his reasons for taking off and the issue of expense in this video that was produced by an Armenian alternative news site.

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