Skating the world to promote peace
AFTER 6000km, 10 countries and three sets of wheels, Mats Frankl is not even half way through his dream to rollerblade around the world.
The Swedish-born Australian citizen rolled into Bundaberg yesterday on his quest to be the first man to skate the globe, all while raising awareness and support for the Red Cross and victims of war.
“I decided about 15 years ago that I would do this,” Mr Frankl said.
“I spoke to my wife and we sold everything we owned to do it.”
The energetic skater grew up being taken to Vietnam War demonstrations with his parents and wanted to raise money for peace.
“Peace is such a loose term though, so I thought the best way to help would be to support people who suffer from a lack of peace and are victims of war,” he said.
“I’ve always been really interested in conflict. It’s so pointless but it still keeps happening.”
Mr Frankl is not alone on his trip, he is accompanied by his wife and two young children, who are travelling in a campervan.
He began his quest in Sweden and travelled through Scotland, England, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal and is now making his way through Australia before heading to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, America and New Zealand.
“I got my first pair of skates for Christmas one year and I went everywhere on them – work, the shops, uni,” he said.
“I just started skating for longer and longer.”
Mr Frankl said the preparation for the trip was long and hard.
“I was always training and I worked two jobs,” he said.
“We did a lot to get here.”
However Mr Frankl’s quest to help others has left him fast becoming someone who also needs help.
“We really need a sponsor to finish the trip,” he said.
“We can’t finance the trip alone anymore.”
The peace-promoting skater said the best part about the trip was not the places or the sights, but the people.
“We have people invite us to their home and offer to help us out,” he said.
“Especially the Australians. They really show their support, which is the greatest.”