Swiss pilot Carlo Schmid, 22, stands in front of his Cessna 210 aircraft at the airport in Duebendorf, north of Zurich, July 11, 2012. Schmid has taken off for an 80-day solo flight around the world, in an attempt to become the youngest pilot ever to accomplish this.
Credits: REUTERS/ARND WIEGMANN
But he felt he had little choice but to pursue those plans following the death of his 45-year-old mother to cancer.
The 22-year-old Swiss pilot - who touched down in Vancouver on Sunday - spent Wednesday describing his journey across the world to students at the EC Vancouver language school.
His mother, who he remembers as an incredibly giving woman, inspired him to use the trip to raise money for a UNICEF project funding a girls' education program in India.
With 43 days left on his journey, Schmid said he's well on his way to reaching his goal of $100,000 thanks to devoted supporters.
A Swiss doctor allowed him to rent a Cessna 210 single-engine aircraft at a special rate, while friends and sponsors have kept fuel in the plane.
The young pilot started in Europe before heading to the Middle East, South Asia, Japan, Russia and then Alaska.
He'll resume his trek this Sunday flying over North America and Greenland, and will return to Europe in late September.