Living in a rural community has its ups and downs. You might even think of it as a hard, chore driven life. I rather like to see it as a life of different opportunities bringing you a new outlook on obstacles and the possible solutions within your means. Jon Mierke, an incredible young man from rural Lesotho shows us all what it means to transform yourself and stick true to your goals.
Beginning in his early days Jon was more of a video inspired type and cared little for the outdoor world. This early interest in video production gave him the platform to gain and improve on his skills. Later on, his interests turned to photography and graphic design. Somewhere between the swaying back and forth within his interests he stumbled upon mountain biking. As he put it:
“I can’t really remember how I came across mountain biking; all I know is I was instantly hooked. I went for my first ride, came back and immediately downloaded a couple hundred videos all about mountain biking and watched all of them. Eventually, I decided to go for a dream I wanted to do ever since I started making videos.”
It wasn’t long after discovering his passion for mountain biking that Jon began his own YouTube channel, RAW Adventures, covering a variety of mountain biking topics. Through his channel he is able to give advice while showing the beauty that is rural Lesotho. With his charismatic personality and genuinely good heart I believe he will be able to reach many people and inspire them to take their chance at a better more fulfilling life. You see though his channel is about mountain biking, it also encourages progressing forward regardless of your situation or resources available. It is about nurturing your passion and driving to see it flourish. Overall, he has described the mountain biking industry as rather pleasant and willing to help. A sport that really embodies sportsmanship. I imagine he strives to bring this forward in his videos.
Eventually though Jon found himself in a situation where new trails and trail maintenance was very limited. However, I’m not sure he cared to let this stop him from achieving his goals.
“I started trail-building because as I got more into mountain biking, I wanted more trails and seeing as I live in the middle of nowhere and nobody was building trails, I decided to take action, I ended up actually really liking it. Trail-building ended up as just one more way to spend my time outside and if I wasn’t out riding my bike for 6 hours, I was building a trail for 8.”
Though Jon had found his passion and had also found a way to make it a reality he had not forgotten his other interests. Trailing along, as it were, he continued his work in photography. Particularly landscape photography. With each shot the realization that he is a person deeply connected to the landscape deepens.
I have had a fantastic time getting to know Jon. Through his work and what he has to say I can see the foundation of a stronghold which is only expanding. I believe he will be able to bring so much to the world, especially his local area where he hopes to increase tourism and the standard of living for his fellow person.
“Trail-building has become an important part of what I do since people coming to ride often want new and more trails, my hope for the future is that RAW Adventures can grow large enough to help support locals through tourism and employment in the form of trail-building, shuttle drivers, accountants and so forth.”
RAW Adventures offer custom tours for mountain biking, hiking, camping, backpacking or you can check out the Wild Men On Wheels event, the second annual wild men on wheels is taking place on 20-22 September 2019. Follow the links below for more details and please do subscribe to his channel.