TODAY.AZ / Weird / Interesting

Taking your cause on the road

19 May 2015 [16:52] - TODAY.AZ

Eleven years, 82 countries, 143,000 km and four bouts of malaria later, Alvaro Neil is still on his bike. He's still wearing his red nose and still performing clown shows in rural and poor communities the world over.

The 47-year-old Spaniard, better known by his moniker Biciclown, quit his job as a lawyer in 2004 to dedicate his time to a project he calls "miles of smiles," carting 55 kilos of clown and personal gear around the globe on two wheels.

"After five years working in Madrid I realised life was too short," Neil said by phone from Bariloche, Argentina. "I was like a character in a movie, but I didn't like my script. So I said, 'let me be the director of my own life,' and I took that script and I wrote it again."

Neil's new script includes some dramatic scenes, like in 2007 when the International Red Cross asked him to perform his 50-minute act in front of 2,000 people at a refugee camp in Tanzania. And then there's the time in 2011 when Neil happened to be in Japan when a tsunami hit, spurring the smile-maker into action.

The bike-bound clown's personal savings fund 60% of his travels, while 20% comes from the five books and documentaries he's produced about the journey. A further 20% comes from sponsorships (though many of those disappeared after the financial crisis in Spain). Neil travels on an inconceivably paltry budget of about $300 per month and doesn't charge for his clowning performances, asking instead for shelter while he's in a town.

The Biciclown is one of a likely small set of people who have travelled the world non-stop for the sake of a cause, but he's not the only person who's taken a passion on the road.

Scroll through the images above for a look at others globetrotting for a cause.

/By BBC/


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