Sometimes, we find that things just don’t make sense. Iohan Gueorguiv, also known as the Bike Wanderer died at 33 years. He was a sort of hero of mine.
Iohan undertook a massive journey, on bicycle, from the Canadian Arctic to Patagonia. Over 6 years he released over 70 videos of this epic journey. His videos are among the most beautiful I have ever seen. Although he just used a Go-Pro camera, he was very talented at using drone and self-staged footage to get the most out of his limited resources. He also set haunting, beautiful music to his scenes.
Along the trip, Iohan routinely camped for days in remote areas in numbing cold, rain, sleet, snowstorms, and extreme winds. He occasionally went days on end without seeing another human. He was often in danger from bears and other perils of the road. But his videos were always cheerful and positive and accentuated the beauty and carefree life of a wanderer. He was kind to dogs and they appeared prominently in his videos.
I was charmed by his love of the road and jealous of his courage to follow his ambitions. I’ve always lacked the courage to take this sort of extreme wandering challenge even though I’m attracted to the idea of it.
But in reading the obituary, as one may surmise, there is more than we could have known from outside observations. The pandemic obviously disrupted his journey. Borders and shops were closed and his ability to overnight with friendly supporters along the way suddenly became more difficult. Iohan’s friends said he became more withdrawn and felt pressure to keep creating exciting content to match his reputation, even though he was unable to travel as freely.
I only recently became aware that some of my own family members take anti-depressants and I wanted to understand more. WHO estimates that around 5% of people worldwide suffer from depression. Somewhere between 12% – 20% of people in the US take medication for depression.
I suppose it’s hard to know if Iohan suffered from systemic depression and was just great at hiding it, or if this was a response to his immediate circumstances. Either way it is a loss.
He was interesting and had the courage to live life the way he wanted. And that is something.