Josh Cahill and Victor Eekhof plan to travel in a van that runs on diesel and recycled cooking oil. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Two men are planning to drive to the North and South Poles in a truck running on biodiesel to spread awareness as they go about rising temperatures, rising sea levels and how to combat climate change.

They will not be going literally to the North Pole, but a small town of the same name in Alaska, sleeping in their van or couchsurfing, a term for accepting hospitality and sleeping for free on a couch.

Josh Cahill, 24, a Dubai-based resident from Germany and one of the world's most experienced couch-surfers, working in the hospitality industry, and Victor Eekhof, 24, from the Netherlands are planning an initial six-month trip that will take them across the US.

A second six-month trip is planned to complete the huge journey down South America. But the first step is to find a sponsor for their mission, Pole 2 Pole 4 Charity.

The two seasoned backpackers met while travelling through South East Asia after Eekhof lost a close friend to cancer. The two soon decided to travel from pole to pole in a van that runs on diesel and recycled cooking oil. The plan is not an excuse to travel but the attempt to spread "a good message around the world", said Cahill.

"If at least a few people turn down the tap while they brush their teeth, then I consider this already as a little success. Nobody believes it anyway if you say we are just doing it to save the planet. We are all human beings and we need to be motivated and pushed," he told Gulf News via email.

"The poles are actually the focus point for every discussion about global warming. So we will actually not go to the literal North Pole but a little town called North Pole in Alaska," said Cahill. "It is in the arctic circle though. It was always a dream of mine to visit Antarctica. Since I'm little I wanted to go there and I think it's the only place left in that world where you still find the totally untouched beauty of mother earth far away from our daily society. We will get to the South Pole with a boat — most probably from Argentina. But this is still in planning."

Cahill and Eekhof will be raising money by selling advertising space on the van for WWF and Ecosia — two non-governmental organisations focused on environmental and species conservation. Living in the UAE, a country where each resident has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world, Cahill said he tried to reduce his impact daily.

"I never used the AC, first of all wasn't it that hot in the winter and it just makes me cough. I was trying to use public transport as often as possible. I think Dubai has a great transportation system but the majority are simply too lazy to use it," he said. "Dubai is a pioneer when it comes to green and environment-friendly buildings but the low prices for cars and the cheap petrol are supporting everyone's extravagant lifestyle."

What's couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing is a well-known practice amongst travellers usually looking to save money while discovering the world.

Several websites exist where people with a couch to spare and those looking for a place to sleep can find and rate each other.

Josh Cahill from Germany and Victor Eekhof from the Netherlands will be using this system, as well as sleeping in their van, as they raise money and awareness on climate change travelling from pole to pole in a truck that runs on biodiesel.

  • For more information visit www.pole2pole4charity.com