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Steffen, Co-Founder of, recently met with Francis Tapon, an avid traveler from San Francisco who can’t stop what he calls “the beast.” He is a knowledgeable hiker, and has written a book about the Appalachian Trail. He is already researching for his second travelogue!

*Francis, you are a passionate traveler – when did you first get itchy feet and discovered your travel bug?

“I was born with a travel bug — it’s in my genes. My Chilean mother and French father immigrated to America at an early age. My dad’s business involved constant trips to South America. By 13 years old, I had already been to six countries. However, I didn’t become conscious of my love for travel until I was 22 and traveled for 75 days throughout Western Europe. At that point, the travel bug became a travel beast.”

*What has been your biggest adventure so far?

“Becoming the first person to yo-yo the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). I hiked from Mexico to Canada, and back, along the continental divide. I walked over 9,000 kilometers of mountains in less than seven months. I slept in the woods every night, sometimes in the snow and I went 45 days without a shower. So nowadays I rarely complain about much when I travel.”

*You are currently out and about on the road again – where are you going this time?

“I’m back in Eastern Europe for at least 6 months. I have no set plan, except that I will revisit Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Moldova — all countries I felt I didn’t spend enough time in last time I visited. I’ll also make a special trip to little known part of Russia called Kaliningrad.”

*Tell us about your greatest experience on the road meeting other travelers.

“In 2004 I took a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn and met Maiu Reismann, an Estonian traveler who was heading back home. By the end of 90 minute boat ride, she invited me to stay with her family and showed me around Estonia. Eventually, she hiked with me over 4,200 km on the Pacific Crest Trail. Who would believe such a brief encounter would yield all that?”

*You have published a book and DVD about hikes – gives us a little insight – what’s the story and what are the next publications you are working on?

“The DVD shows 630 photos and videos about my CDT adventure. It gives you an idea what such a crazy trip entailed. My first book: “Hike Your Own Hike: 7 Life Lessons from Backpacking Across America” is about the lessons I learned from backpacking 3,500 kilometers on the Appalachian Trail. I donate half of my book royalty to the National Scenic Trails in the United States, so it’s nice to buy it even if you’re only mildly interested.”

*If you want to find out more about Francis, his book, DVD, current adventures and upcoming publications.
…check his profile on tripwolf here.
…check out his website and subscribe to his newsletter here.


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One Comment

  1. mpilar82No Gravatar
    Posted January 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I love snowing! It’s time for this

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