Michiana man returns from four-year renewable energy trip around the world

NOW: Michiana man returns from four-year renewable energy trip around the world


ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A Michiana man finally came home today after a four-year-long journey across the world on his bicycle. It was all in an effort to learn more about renewable energy and help communities along the way.

Mike Dits biked through five continents researching renewable energy by learning about what people are doing to power their lives in different parts of the world.

Today was his first day home in years and ABC57 got the chance to speak with him about what he learned as well as his family about what it means to finally have him home.

“He’s home. He’s home,” Lisa Dits Hayes, his mom, said.

1518 days. Mike Dits started his journey Aug. 20th, 2015 right here in the United States.

“I thought maybe something was wrong with him because I said ‘Michael this is quite a venture, why don’t you just keep your wonderful job that you have in Vernon Hills and just google it.’ he said ‘no mom.’ he said ‘I want to see it for myself how other countries are sustaining themselves and how I can help them,” Hayes said.

He’s been to 63 countries and five continents.

“As I’ve been going, I’ve been learning more about renewable energy. It’s an area I am very interested in. Collecting ideas from people around the world to see how they power their lives in a sustainable manner,” Mike Dits said.

All while documenting his travels and by helping out communities along the way.

“It’s made me a much stronger person in doing so,” he said. “Because I’ve gone through all different types of terrains, up in mountains and across deserts and in the middle of jungles. It takes a lot to survive in the natural world and I’ve learned a lot in doing so.”

He has built windmills, wells, and solar panels in villages all over the world.

Today his family eagerly waited for him to arrive home for the first time in years.

With signs and streamers, you can hear the excitement as Mike rides his bike around the corner into his family’s arms.

“For the past 4 years, as you can imagine, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, thinking about him on a daily basis,” Beth Falls and Christine Rushfeldt, his sisters said.

“I worried about him every day especially because he said an elephant almost trampled him in Africa and a wild baboon stole his oats,” Hayes said.

Four years later and his family is glad to have him back.

“I’m very proud of him very proud and yet I knew it was something he really needed to do,” Tom Dits, his dad, said.

And his next step? Well, he wants to start his own solar energy company.

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