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Four Years On Foot

The Story Of Brave

I was on a Cape Town road trip when my car was robbed. All my trail-running and mountain bike gear, my racing trophies, as well as a Nikon camera with footage intended for the next exhibition - gone. On the first day I cried, on the second gave away the rest of my belongings to my maid and gardener, said goodbye to my husband, and flew across the Atlantic with a 13 lbs backpack for my four years' journey starting at the Appalachian Trail, where immediately I was given the trail name Brave from fellow hikers, once they learned my story. I didn't get back home.

On Foot

by the numbers

4500

mi
of solo hiking 

It's done even though I hate backpacking and camping. The limits were smashed after participating in Kalahari Desert Ultra-marathon, where runners slept under one big gazebo.

14000

mi
of solo bicycling

Keeping in mind the only two things - starting and finishing points, facing and handling all that happens on your way - every day is just WOW.

13

lbs
of total carried belongings

My backpack was the lightest one on the Appalachian Trail. Getting frustrated, though, when people thought I was just a day-hiker, not a through-, and greeted hikers with big backpacks, missing me.

14

countries
staying as  local

Getting local friends, following their lifestyle, borrowing their clothes for participating in local and family events.- the way of learning. And gaming.

50

Times at the Podium Of Running Races In One Year

In South Africa, a few months after my foot operation, I tried running and in less than two months improved my 10 km time from 75 minutes to 44. Since then always took category podiums.

30

Countries Visited

Before going wild, I traveled "fly & drive" (renting car at the airport and drive to the hotel) in many countries, mostly in Europe.

15000

Hard Copies Sold

Before I left Russia, leading Russian Publishing House AST collected my newspaper road trip columns in three books, which quickly sold out. 

200000

Miles
Road Trips in 2 Years

When I worked as a journalist for the major Russian media, one of my assignmnents was testing the latest models of cars, which I turned into road trips between local museums totally out of mainstream. Doing that became a mainstream after.

Epic Journeys

Famous Long Distance Trails Done In 4 Years

Apr 5 - Aug 15, 2014

Appalachian Trail

Luxury-resorts-foreigner yet a prominent trail runner, I found myself on Appalachian Range with no clue what hiking was about in general and the Appalachian in particular, 2180 miles from Georgia to Maine. I spent an hour on the phone with an AT manager named Laurie, and two days in a hotel reading about bears and snakes. I was crying from fear at the last six miles of the dirty desert road to Springer Mountain, thinking I would be the only human for 100 miles and would turn into Mowgli. Fellow hikers didn't see my tears, told I was brave with all my stories and gave me the trail name Brave. People always say that I am brave and I'm always about to ask "how you know my trail name?!”

May 21 - Sep 11, 2015

US Route 66

No limits after 2000 miles hike. I flew from Johannesburg to Chicago with her Appalachian 13-lb backpack, found the first Walmart on my way, bought the bike , climbed on, and took off for Los Angeles, all the way on historic Route 66, 2448 miles. In 2015 I was the only biker on Route 66, as no one saw a biker on this route before. It was a blast! I was totally blown out by the huge wave of people, their interest, their friendliness and hospitality. This bike ride had nothing to do with mileage per day and overall speed. 

May 23 - Aug 13, 2016

Across the UK

From London to the very north of Scotland - Orkney Islands - and back, Caledonia Way and Grand Canal. Nights at pubs - safety first! - sitting there till the midnight, when they got empty and the owner let me pitch my tent on the backyard. Nights in big houses when the tray with English tea was waiting behind the door of my bedroom.  Scottish weather was at its best -- wind, rain, and chill. Thanks to uphills, they helped to warm up. Madly beautiful though. 

Apr 21 - Jul 4, 2017

US East Coast Greenway Trail

3000 miles on Atlantic coast of the United States, from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida. All about meeting people and experiencing their great hospitality: being invited for lunch, for dinner, and for staying overnight in spare bedrooms. It wouldn't  be possible to ride through such well-established and highly populated areas without support from its habitants.

As Seen In

ALL ABOUT RUNNING

Never ran before, I was captured by the running which was the whole South Africa lifestyle. To not waste time, I asked the top coach of the country how to run, and he ... invited me to his group! After one month I was on the podium for the category and did not leave it for the next year, 2012, of non-stop racing. My 10k time was dropped from 1:15 to 0:44 just in two months of training.  

"One day, for no particular reason..."

Russian journalist, South African trail runner, and University teacher left home. Or maybe there was a reason.

My life was far from sports and the outdoors. I was a talented journalist, a big city girl, a 5-star resort customer. It was a complicated marriage, a much more complicated divorce, about-to-marry my divorce attorney, raising two kids on my own, a nightlife with parties and no boundaries between the journalist job and life itself, and my biggest love.

By that time the children had already grown up, so I just bought a ticket and flew … to the Kalahari Desert, 2008. Remember the movie? Gods Must be Crazy-2? A must watch. I always wondered if one day a surgeon could fix my foot so I could run like the bushmen in the movie, but I struggled to walk a single mile. That’s how badly my foot was damaged. In the desert I met my future husband, a former radio DJ. Soon a surgeon fixed my foot, I started faculty teaching at the University of South Africa, won an international photo contest with following up personal exhibition Iron Africa and in the meantime trained for speed running. Soon I got a silver medal for 10 k in the US at the 2011 World Masters Athletic Championship.

Day by day life was getting boring, together with a former DJ. Every day the same - a yacht club with beer, a golf club with beer, and a restaurant. With beer. So “One day, 2014, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run”. For this “little run” I bought an ultralight tent and sleeping bag, even though I hated camping, and flew across the Atlantic to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. “And I figured, since I run this far, maybe…” and I cycled the Route 66 from Chicago to LA and the East Coast from Maine to Florida.

After that I finally yielded (I didn’t like Tom Hanks) to the insistence of my children and watched Forrest Gump. And I figured, the couple of this movie quotes above saved a lot of writing. The rest will be on my book Four Years On Foot. Hopefully, soon. I recently stopped at the Midcoast of Maine. “For no particular reason.” Or…?

Journalist For The Leading Russian Media of 00s

Travel and lifestyle columns, motor car reviews, driving techniques series, and lifestyle futures: art, culture, vine, food, real estate, etc.

2008 Journalists Union of Russia Award for the road trip series 200,000 km Around Moscow.

2007 Journalists Union of Russia and the British Consulate Award for series of road pictures of rural and raw Russia just outside of Moscow.

Books

Published and sold in 15.000 hard copies by AST Publishing.

Lena Faber's books presentation in Biblio Glob book store in Moscow

200000 km Around Moscow

My newspaper column became a book, published in 15,000 hard copies by the leading Russian Rublishing House AST. It was one of the best travel columns of 00s in Russian Media.

Lena Faber in motor car race

Driving Art

"She was the best driver at least in journalists races, and the best journalist, who described all driving technicues in very interesting and funny maner. She had a gazoline in her blad and no speed limits. As a single mother of two, she couldn't become a proper car  racer, which was real pity." That what a Russian race guru, a professor of Academy of Driving Art Ernest Tzygankov, wrote in foreword to her book. 

IRON AFRICA
Photo Exhibition

Before starting teaching at the University of South Africa on 2010, I followed my husband on his business trips to South African mines, and took pictures of dusty workshops, rusty chains, oily tools, and all kinds of industrial junk. These photos won the Alliance de France international photo contest, and they organized my photo exhibition in Pretoria.

Jungle & Desert

2016-2017. From Atacama desert in Chile through Solar-de-Uyuni in Bolivia to Machu Picchu in Peru and all the way by the Amazon River to Brazil changing local ferries with hammocks on the deck, always in good company. Shamans and ayahuasca, forro and maracatu, piranha and anaconda, jungle and beaches, carnival in Rio-de-Janeiro and fight with a puma outside of it. 

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How You Could Help

These adventures and others will be included in the book Four Years on Foot, currently being written. To anyone interested in helping, please consider the options below and know your support is very much appreciated. Thank you!!

A cup of coffee

$ 10
  • That would be nice of you. There are a lot of cafes to sit and write the book at the Midcoast of Maine.

Buy My Picture

$ 30
  • Choose from Albums, email me link to this picture. and get your signed-specially-for-you picture by email in pdf format letter size, ready to be printed. (This feature is mot ready yet)

A chapter of the Four Years On Foot

$ 40
  • Click on the future book content, choose a headline, and email to me this link. I will write this section in a week and your name will be mentioned at this chapter, unless you don't want. That really will drive the writing process forward! (This feature is mot ready yet)

Video Chat

$ 50
  • - Travel skills couching
  • - Gear, food, and safety talk
  • - Fitness and exercising talk
  • -Life advising & coaching.
  • Email to me what you would like to talk about.

CONTACT FORM

About Author

In Moscow                     
In South Africa
In Travels

For Newspapers @ Magz

Moskovskij Komsomoletz 
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Aeroflot Inflight Magazine