KATU: WOOD VILLAGE, Ore. — A man from India, who just finished crossing the United States on his bike as part of a larger six-year trip around the world, stopped over in Wood Village last week for a little bit of business.
Abhishek Kumar Sharma gained worldwide fame for his two-wheeled trek, which he's using to spread the message of sustainability, global peace awareness, and climate change.
"This is a time to act together," Sharma told affiliate KATU. Sharma started his epic journey in 2014, leaving his home in India with $50 in his pocket.
He first planned to ride around the country to talk about cleanliness, sanitation and personal hygiene awareness, in support of a $30 billion national plan to build 90 million toilets and end open air defecation in India.
But as he met new people, saw new cities, and encountered new circumstances, he quickly noticed how much climate change was changing lives in his home country.
His trip caught the ear of India's Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, and Abhishek Sharma met with him about six months into his journey.
Then he rode out of India with his sights set on spreading his message to the rest of the world. "As an Indian, as a global citizen, I'm trying to promote peace, because we all need peace," says Sharma."We don't need any hate. We don't need any racism. We need peace around us."
Since 2014, Sharma has ridden 32,000 miles on his bike through 40 countries.
In his five months traveling across the U.S. he says he visited many universities and cities and towns along the way.
He says he was welcomed at every stop by perfect strangers, who saw him as a person who could use a helping hand.
Since Sharma has no bank account or credit cards, offers of help in the towns he was visiting were important and also strengthened his philosophy.
"In our traditional Hindu culture, it is said that 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam'," says Sharma. 'It means 'the entire world is a family.'"
Abhishek Sharma said his next journey was going to start in Adelaide, Australia next month.
But in the few days since we talked to him, things changed. He's now preparing for an epic journey from London, England to Delhi, India -- 49 days in all -- in a hybrid car. After that, it's on to sharing his message in Australia and then New Zealand.
He hopes to be on to South America and Africa before his mission wraps up in 2020.
He says he's doing what he can personally to help the world, because doing something is better than doing nothing.
"It's a symbolic bike ride. I'm not going to change everything in the world. I'm not going to change it. But I'm going to change a little bit, and this little bit contributes something," he says.