In Melbourne recently on the eve of the last leg of his 39,000-mile trek, the 29-year-old Israeli recalled cycling through the Mexican desert on New Year’s Day 2008. Suddenly a car pulled up.
“I didn’t know Spanish; I thought they wanted to help me," Sadan recalls. "Then one of them showed me a gun and I started to understand what’s going on.”
The bandits stole clothes, money, credit cards and supplies, as well as a tent and sleeping bag -- but not his 27-gear, custom-built, blue-and-white Thorn Nomad bicycle.
“From then on I called it Emunah,” he says.
Within an hour his faith was rewarded. Two American surfers passed by and drove Sadan to San Diego, where he restocked with supplies. Another American, having heard a TV interview, drove him back to Mexico so he could continue his adventure.
The incident served as a microcosm for his arduous journey of self-discovery: nightmarish episodes and seeing humanity at its glorious best.
“I’m excited, but it’s also a weird feeling because this is the end,” Sadan said in Sydney.
He was greeted by representatives of the Zionist Council of New South Wales, which has organized an event Sunday to celebrate Sadan’s achievement.
In 2009, during a brief visit home, Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein gave Sadan his blessing to be a roving ambassador for Israel. Since then he has spoken to more than 1,500 children as well as given interviews to scores of media outlets about the “real” Israel. Sadan is scheduled to speak to several school and community events while in Sydney.
During his adventure, which cost about $60,000 -- part of it covered by his sponsor, the Israeli water company Mei Eden -- he was held up at gunpoint in Mexico, bitten by a wild dog in Peru, contracted malaria in Mozambique and hit by a car in Bolivia.
Sadan said he intends to become a motivational speaker and wants to transform his diaries into a book that he hopes will inspire people to follow their dreams.
Next weekend he will fly to Thailand and then on to Jordan before cycling to Jerusalem, where he hopes to be the star attraction at a homecoming event at the Western Wall.