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Published:May 16th, 2006 09:37 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Dan Buettner, Expedition Leader of the Blue Zones

Judyth Piazza chats with Dan Buettner, Expedition Leader of the Blue Zones

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

When I was eight years old, my favorite food was Spaghetti-Ohs and wieners.  I used to light bugs on fire and torment my teachers. (I remember my 3rd grade teacher tried to punish me by sending me in the corner to play with a doll.  I tore it up.)   I drove around my neighborhood on a Stingray bike with a banana seat and huge "chopper" handlebars.  In the spokes, I clipped playing cards so it sounded like a motorcycle when I cruised down the street.   I thought I was so cool.  Who would have guessed I`d make a career out of riding bikes?   Back then I wanted to be a fireman. 

As it turned out I`ve had the good fortune of seeing the world from behind bars -- handlebars, that is. Right after college, instead of getting a job, I rode my bike from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. A couple of years later, when the Soviet Union opened to Americans, I teamed up with my brother Steve and two Siberians to cycle around the world. Finally, in 1992, Steve and I cycled with two other guys across Africa -- west to east and north to south. All told, I`ve bicycled across five continents and set three Guinness World Records. One bike trip just always seemed to lead to another. Call it a "chain" reaction.

I believe travel, especially slow-moving bicycle travel, is the greatest teacher of all. Over the past decade, I`ve learned that natural environments and traditional cultures are fast disappearing, and that people are essentially good no matter where you go. I`ve also learned that modern-day expeditions have to educate; they should somehow add to our body of knowledge and share a sense of adventure. That`s why I started MayaQuest and why I am now leading Blue Zones Expedition.

I also believe that kids are a lot more powerful than grown-ups think.  I think kids` fresh insights, intuition, research skills and their tendency to ask creative questions can help scientists make discoveries.  Kids can also have an important impact on how leaders make decisions.  My job with these Quests is to create the vehicle to harness kids` brain power for discovery and make sure their opinions are heard by people making health, environmental and ethical decisions.   My dream is to see the Quest used in every classroom - and to someday ride in a fire truck.

Pedals Up!
Dan Buettner

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