I appreciate all your messages and comments. They help me remember that even when I am all alone, for example, on the open sea, I am most certainly not lonely. I am also very grateful for any information and experience, which may help me avoid any problems, or help me solve them, and which could help me move forward more safely and effectively.
Would you like to receive an original postcard from my journey? An ideal way to give yourself a present and support me at the same time.
Just sent a donation. Yeah… and do not forget to give me your postal address
Then I will send you a postcard from my journey…
Would you like to support me with a donation? With any amount in any currency? Or with equipment?
You can choose from the following options:
For a support with equipment please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org (we will think of a way how get it to me 🙂 )
Do you like moving on water? Or do you like diving in it? Or do you like visiting European cities? Do you plan new adventures? Do you have no partner and don’t want to travel on your own? Or do you not know where to travel, but want to travel somewhere? Then do not hesitate to contact me. Accompany me for a few days or weeks. We can meet with paddles in our hands as well as you coming along on your yacht. Or we can do some diving together or we can dive into the atmosphere of European seaside towns and cities. It will be my pleasure.
So what’s my approach to the journey? Is it an achievement-driven thing? Is it a challenge?
Personally, I don’t find the journey to be an achievement. I feel it’s a kind of life itself. I don’t think that the journey requires more energy than life anywhere else and in any other way. So, for me it means life on a journey, in the present moment. I don’t plan what the journey should bring to me, but I’m ready to accept anything it gives, shows and teaches me.
1. Setting off – Prague 4th April 2015
(START: Bajkazyl, Náplavce)
2. Crossing Šumava
(more then 100 km on foot with the kayaks)
3. Sailing down the Danube River
(2.200 km, it’s necessary to surpass more than 13 dams or other water levels)
4. Black Sea
(800 km long coastline of the Black Sea)
5. Greek Island’s
(the longest passages between island’s on the open sea during our journey, overall almost 170 km)
(leaving the Mediterranean Sea)
7. Atlantic coast
(the shore is notorious for its up to 30 m tall waves – “Nayarè” Portugal)
8. La Manche channel
(crossing of the channel with the busiest naval traffic in the world)
(800 km upstream back to Prague)
The financial side of such a journey is, surely, an interesting topic for many. I’m myself rather curious what amount of money the journey will eventually require. It’s without any doubt that I’ll inform you about the financial matters as well. After all, that’s a precious experience too, literally.
My name is Jiri Oliva and I travel around Europe…
To express myself in words isn’t an easy task. Even more so that I am writing it myself. I will try to describe in facts, what I have done and so what has made me to decide to travel around Europe in a sea kayak, in which I have never sat before.
I think that wisdom comes to a person in waves. Everything evolves and grows, so it can blossom and ripe, pass the best on and quietly leave. And so I am grateful for the opportunity to grow, for the wisdom, which comes to me in life and which moves me closer or further (depending on the point of view). But if I am moving from the beginning further on or getting closer to the finish, every moment on this journey has something in common and that is the presence. The realisation of this has taught me a lot. For example to be happy because of little things, be grateful, be able to stop and also to forgive. To understand the energy of the presence gave me the strength to accept the past and to create my own future.
From the facts about me it will be enough to say, that I was born at the end of the year 1987 in the northern part of Czech Republic. I have lived part of my life, for example, in Teplice, Kladno, Slany, France or Switzerland. I have studied a few schools and mostly used my hands to earn my living. I have tried some sports at a high level like climbing, running and mountain cycling. I have compared my stamina with others at marathons and ultramarathons. And I have not resisted the temptation of paragliding and parachuting. I have been lucky enough to climb up many rocks and mountains. At the age of 15 I went to the highest mountain of Europe and at 18 I travelled to the Himalayas. Recently I found myself in freediving.
I honestly think that I have managed to visit a lot of different places. Alone and/or with friends. By hitchhike, car, motorbike or on foot. In Europe, Africa or Asia. Every place brought new experience. I can enjoy the luxurious hospitality of a five star hotel and its red carpets as well as sleeping on the street among garbage and rats. Travelling has helped me open up and perceive better. And today I perceive that the words of wisdom are everywhere around us. We just need to get out of the everyday routine and stop ourselves. Open our eyes, heart and mind. And to fully enjoy everything around us. And there’s lots of it.
I like photography and film making. I enjoy making up new things, thoughts, and innovations and I constantly keep looking for new ways of doing things. Thanks to that I enjoy finding my own way. This way is often against the mainstream, although, it is not its purpose to be like that. It is more a consequence, in my opinion, of the uniqueness of each and every one of us. I love nature and everything inside and outside of us, regardless size, distance or age, anyway, none of it really matters.
I get up in the morning, focus my eyes and I go to work. Quickly, I have lunch at the midday and then off to work again. In the evening I try to find what’s left of my strengths and I try to devote my time to some, so called, hobby for a little while. I eat my diner on the go and, finally, I fall to bed exhausted only to wake up in the morning by the sound of the alarm and repeat the work cycle again. So, that’s how the days go by, followed by months and years.
I like working, I do my work the best I can and I like to see results. But, it seems to me that there is a precious little of the time outside of work. I have many plans, aims, and dreams and they keep spawning faster than I can realize them. The fast pace of living has entered our lives and we barely manage keeping up. To save time we postpone, ignore or forget our own selves, our intuition, needs, desires, dreams and wishes… We deliberately abandon our own values and we swap them for the values of others; values about which we were told that are true, right and important for us. Where’s the mistake? Where will that leave us?
Of course, it’s much easier to follow the crowd and go in the direction of everyone else. It allows us to stop thinking. It allows us to solve things quicker. And that’s what the demand is all about nowadays, after all. Resisting individuality. We are under the influence of what we think is expected of us and what we think should be our aims and values and we live gravely afraid of loss and failure. We often inhabit our own past or future. We consider living for the present moment as a waste of time or a luxury that we can’t afford.
When will the endlessly repeated mantra “IF I …“ come true?
Ach. Right. There’s just one bug. The little word… IF!
So let’s just STOP. The end, enough! No more IF I…! Simply, let’s live NOW!
So, I resurrect an old travelling idea about sailing around Europe in a sea kayak. This thought is truly an old-timer and it’s quite dusty. When it got born I was still at high school. I think it was my first year there. It meant many evenings and bottles of good wine that we spent with my friend while nourishing the idea. But in the end we cursed ourselves with the mantra … „It’s not possible now… The time is not right… IF WE have time one day…”
More and more often I stumble upon people who confess that they used to have a similar idea or that they still have it somewhere deep inside of them. Nevertheless, only a very few people manage to put the idea into practice. Still, I think that the idea deserves a chance. And I decided to rekindle its fire.
When I share the idea with my partner it gets her interested. She’s mainly intrigued by the freedom, simplification and slowing-down of our lives that the journey is sure to offer. The preparations took almost a whole year. Sometimes more or less serious complications emerged. But it’s possible to deal with most of them with the help of good people. And there were more and more of those and the idea’s getting stronger and stronger. When the date of setting off got closer my partner decided to go her own way, which, however, was nowhere near of mine. So we wished each other lots of luck and strength and we continued separately.
“Dear Jiřina, I thank you wholeheartedly for your time, love, understanding and help.
I wish you that your steps are accompanied by confidence, strength, good people and beloved animals.”
The ‘Journey Back Home’ was a decision that was everything but easy. Well, after being on the road for three and a half years the idea grew in me that this was the right time to do it and I started thinking how to go about it. My ‘Journey Back Home’ is neither the shortest nor the easiest one – far from it. Still, even a journey home is a ‘Journey,’ and I decided to accept it as such. So, when I was in the south of Italy, I got hold of an old bike and constructed a trailer that could carry the kayak and which I could tow behind another bike all the way to the north of Germany, to Hamburg. There the kayak was to go back on the water, and I was to paddle upstream of the Elbe all the way to Prague.
4th of April 2015 to October 20th 2018
The journey from the south of Italy took me through Sicily, and I boarded a ferry that should take me and my kayak to Genova. Then my devoted friend decided to help me, and he drove me and the boat over the Alps to the Rhône. I cycled along the Rhône through France and a part of Germany. I tried to follow rivers and channels, but I needed to travel over some mountains as well. Once I reached the Elbe near Hamburg, the kayak went back on the water again, and I sent the bike with the trailer home. Then I set off on a journey upstream the river towards Prague.