“My expeditions unfold the roots of who we are as human beings,” says Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis, who has walked solo across many of the world’s most remote places. “The difficultly in life is to know your mission. Mine is to be a little bridge between humans and nature.”
Marquis’ adventures are like the great expeditions from an earlier time — long walks, carrying all her own supplies, interacting with cultures, wildlife, and landscapes. The main difference: She is a woman traveling alone.
“I disguise myself as a man every time I go on an expedition, hiding my hair under a desert hat, big sunglasses, no tight clothes (and always all covered up), and I always wear natural sand colors to be able to hide in the landscape,” she says of her strategy to avoid attention.
From 2010 to 2013, she walked from Siberia to Australia, alone. She crossed six countries, from freezing cold mountains to scorching desert heat, from high alpine to tropical jungles. “I’ve been held at gunpoint by drug smugglers in the Lao jungle, and my camp was raided most nights for two months by big drunk Mongolian horsemen,” says Marquis of some of the expeditions’ sketchier moments.
Her most challenging expedition was walking the most hostile terrain in Australia alone for three months while gathering her own bush food, as the aboriginal people do. She dealt with saltwater crocodiles, brushfires, and a serious drought.
“Surviving — in any environment — is not just about the technicalities,” she says. “It’s about exploring our capacities to open new doors into the unknown, and allowing ourselves to be amazed about everything.”
- 2000: She walked from Canada to Mexico.
- 2002–2003: Spent 510 days alone crossing the Australian outback.
- 2006: Trekked from Santiago, Chile, to Machu Picchu.
- 2010–2013: Walked from Siberia to Australia.