Marco Polo, Thor Heyerdahl, Sir Francis Drake – these names are synonymous with exploration and adventure. Today we can add the name Alison Becker to the list, the daring young woman who, when visiting her friend Laura in Steinbach, became the first Winnipeger ever to venture beyond the Perimeter.
“My husband Ron and I discussed it for months. He was really against the trip,” said Becker. “‘You don’t know what’s out there,’ he said. ‘No one’s ever left and made it back.’ But I knew going to Laura’s Tupperware party was something I just had to do.”
Becker says she trained for months, venturing first a few metres, then a full kilometre, and eventually she was driving five, ten, fifteen kilometres outside Winnipeg. With each trip she slowly increased her endurance and stamina.
“I was worried I might not have enough gas to make it back,” she said of the sixty kilometre journey. “I brought along a flare gun and a box of granola bars in case I got hungry. I was also considering hiring a Sherpa, but decided that this was something I needed to do on my own.”
Becker’s accomplishment is being hailed by National Geographic as the ‘most significant achievement in exploration since Bartolomeu Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1488.’ She is also scheduled to receive the Order of Manitoba for her ‘efforts in expanding the frontiers of knowledge about our vast and diverse province.’
Becker, however, has remained humble and says the months of preparation for the trip were worth it because of the resilience, grit, and determination she was able to show her kids.
“I did this for them,” she said, holding tightly to her three young children. “I wanted to show my kids that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything…even driving a few minutes outside the city to visit a lifelong friend.”