Bernie, Adventure and Mules

Me, Bernie Harberts, on an adventure with my mule Polly. (Floydada, TX)

Hi. I’m Bernie Harberts, author and filmmaker. I’ve sailed alone around the world, traveled across America by mule (twice), pedaled a ten-dollar bike around Tasmania and walked across Newfoundland with a mule. Most recently, I sailed a wood ketch from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia Island, off Antarctica. From there, we sailed 3 weeks across the iceberg laced Southern Ocean to South Africa.

When I’m not adventuring by boat, mule or foot, home is an oak cabin in western Carolina.  I’ve also kept an online journal of my journeys for years at

Bernie's sailboat Sea Bird becalmed at sea.
Sometimes home is far out to sea.  This is my old sailboat Sea Bird. I bought her for the price of a used pickup and worked, wrote and sailed my way around the world aboard here. Here, we’re becalmed in the South Atlantic doldrums.  I rowed out in my dinghy to make that photo. No, I didn’t anchor (too deep). I just took down the sails and hoped the weather stayed calm!
Bernie's cabin in Western North Carolina.
When I’m not afloat, in a saddle or rolling in a wagon, home is this cabin in Western North Carolina. Life is good when your lawn is a hayfield. The rows are fresh-cut hay.

I grew up in North Carolina and went to NC State University. On a saddle mule, I traveled 4 months across the Tar Heel State, capturing glimpses few have slowed to document. With a mule and wagon, I have logged hundreds of miles more. UNC-TV and Our State Magazine joined my mule Polly and me for one of these trips. That episode, “Mule Rider”, won an Emmy award for the South East region.

Taking the Spirit of Carolina Adventure Nationwide

Now I’m extending that spirit of North Carolina to America’s back roads. For the Lost Sea Expedition series, I traveled 14 months across America in a wagon. Just as I did in North Carolina, I explored things that are particular to an area. This time around, it was horse breakers, Lakota elders, sod hut dwellers, ghost towns and a vanished sea that caught my eye.

I filmed the whole voyage myself – a first-ever for a cross-country wagon voyage. That footage became the Lost Sea Expedition documentary. The 4-part series was premiered on Rocky Mountain PBS. You can stream the series here on Amazon Prime.

Bernie Harberts and his wagon leaving his farm.
Let’s go! My cabin is situated close to some great wagon riding country.  Here some buddies and I are heading out on a wagon ramble. The wagon in the front is the one I drove across New Foundland. Behind me, in his old field wagon, is Ronald Hudson. I bought my mule Polly from him. He’s become one of my all-time best wagon riding buddies.

Got some travelin’ thoughts to share or ideas on where I should journey next?  Drop me a line!