Video series On The Way Home.
From south Italy via Hamburg and Elbe to Prague.
After several years on the road my Italian friend, travelling from Italy to China on his folding bike, wrote: ‚Mom, I’m ok.‘ At that time I was deeply touched by this post he put up somewhere on Facebook, and I was fascinated by how much emotion you can squeeze into only four small words.
I, on the other hand, find myself in the south of Italy. I have just passed the so-called point of the Italian shoe, and Sicily is slowly surfacing on the horizon. Its unique silhouette is characterised by the Etna mountain. I feel a growing urge to stop to be able to have enough time to absorb this fantastic sight. The conditions are pleasant, so I decide to take a break in the nearby bar. Sitting at the terrace purposefully directed towards west I have the whole breathtaking scenery at my fingertips.
I am thinking about what it is that fascinates me so much on the sight of a volcano which smoke is slowly being pushed away over the sea by the wind. I have seen many of them already, or at least enough for me to be clear that it is not really just the scenery making my heart throb. Afterall I have visited 17 different states in the past four years and in some of them I lived for over a half of a year. I have lived in Europ, in Asia and in Africa. There were numerous places and countless experiences. All that diving, swimming with dolphins, discovering of miracles and human skills, yachting, Northen lights watching, meeting with generous people, and also the opportunities to destroy hundreds of walls and presuppositions inside of me which I willingly accepted into my life and considered them to be a general truth. All the experience and my strong intuition are now telling me to slow down. There is something I should not miss, something that has just been fulfilled and it is hanging in the air for me to understand it. Usually, when something like that happens, there is one and the same ritual that works for me. It is straightforward. I just stop, get myself a cup of coffee and silently watch the reality happening around me. I do not wish to encourage anybody to drink excessive amounts of coffee or something like that. I am sure that any kind of stopping and just being or meditation would work as well. However, I enjoy coffee, so I have made drinking it into a pleasant ritual.
So I am sitting quietly and, while watching Etna, I realise that visiting precisely this place has belonged among my expressed wishes. And I mean those wishes that I had long before I decided to set off on this journey. By wishing, I mean something that I used to do naturally every day. It is just nowadays in the time of rush and universal unCONSCIOUSNESS I noticed that such wishing has become considered almost superNATURAL. Well, it is up to each one of us what and how we want to notice things and how much we want to leave or come back to the conNATURAL. Sometimes I ask myself how it happened that we, people, managed to turn so many ideas upside down. Take for example NATURALness (which we are born with) and which we can see in all small children and which we often consider being something extraORDINARY, and we take our unNATURAL lifestyle and attitude towards the planet as something utterly ordinary.
Okay, let me get my thoughts back to my coffee and to the splendid view and to the fulfilling of my wishes. Afterall it is beautiful to have the chance to share my feelings and experience that come my way during this journey. I think that wishes themselves, the ability to wish in the right way, but also letting wishes to come true, all those are big topics as well. Topics that are, in no way, easy for me to talk about even today and let alone to present them publicly. Still, the least I can do is to talk about my fulfilled wishes. It is them I feel hanging in the air, and I need myself to realise all the things I wanted, and that came true also to be able to humbly thank for them.
My thoughts are with the wishes that I expressed before setting off on the journey. Of course, once on the journey, I have wished too, but those wishes came with bigger experience and understanding what the journey really encompasses. Thanks to that I was able to formulate my wishes in a better way so that some got fulfilled already in a few hours. And that is where the catch is, or the magic. A correct formulation. That is why those few wishes I had before my journey started took not hours, days, or months to fulfil, but several years.
So that is the intense emotion that made me stop here. Slowly I am starting to see things clearly. There have been many big wishes fulfilled to me in the past half of a year. What is important now is to know how many and which ones. They were the wishes for which I had to wait for years to see them come true. Slowly I realise that some of them were my deepest ones. My imaginary list of wishes got all ticked during the past half of a year. Well, actually, I am not putting it right. Except for one wish, all of the things I wanted before setting off are now a reality. This moment is hugely emotive for me and, finally, I really understand what it is that I am to realise here. The wish that has just got fulfilled was to paddle all the way to the south of Italy, where I had never been before, and to get to know how everything would feel and to see Etna on my own eyes.
Finally, I understand why some of my new wishes are not fulfilling, although I am formulating them right. It is simply that there is one more wish to come true on this journey. The last, still unfulfilled, unbelievably far-away one. Why so unbelievably far-away? Because I wished to come back to Prague from the north from Hamburg, up-stream the river Elbe. And right now I find myself on the other end of Europe being separated from Hamburg by thousands of kilometres.
Now it is getting even more difficult to tell you everything. To put into words the emotions how challenging the journey so far has been and how much I have gone through during the past four years – to do that is nothing easy. Knowing that Prague is almost four years full of experiences, whether hard or beautiful, away, but mainly that those were years full of wishes-come-true. And now there is only one wish left, all the new ones I have made are put after that last one. Does it make sense? Shortly, I wish to live on a yacht, I wish to share my experience with people personally, I wish for a modest home in the Czech Republic and so on. All that is really sweet but there is Hamburg separating me from anything happening, the up-stream Elbe, and my desire to try coming back to Prague from the north.
So I am asking myself what all is separating me from being able to make this wish come true. Are there four more years on the way? Or will it be even more? Will the journey still fill me with happiness and bring me joy when I cannot expect when and where my other wishes get fulfilled? Should I think of more wishes just for them to be there? Or should I simply let that one wish be since all the rest got fulfilled already? There are dozens of questions running through my mind with hundreds of various combinations.
I have to stop myself and come back to the real world. I know that all my wishes come true the moment I stop thinking about how things should be. I know very well that many wishes end up fulfilling in a completely different way than I have ever imagined and I usually never even guessed such an approach was possible. Still, that usually proves to be the best and the quickest way. That one that shows itself without me trying.
So back to the reality to see what it really is that separates me from Hamburg. It is about 2,500 kilometres. That is the only real thing between Hamburg and me. The question is how I get there with my six-meter long kayak. I am sure there are many ways, but the important thing is to pick the one that makes me happy without thinking. And this is easy for me to tell. All I have to do is to listen to my heart and not to my surroundings that is usually much louder and has an unlimited number of opinions, what the heart should feel.
‚Mom, I’m coming home!‘ I just need to pick up my last wish in Hamburg. I am not exactly sure how I am to get home yet. Ahead of me, there lies about 1000 kilometres of sea, the Alps, 1500 kilometres of Europe, then Hamburg and then 850 kilometres upstream to Prague. Of course, now I am writing it I feel a pinch of irony, and there is a smile on my face. In reality, the distance is enormous. But I am trying to lighten things up because I feel a great weight has just dropped off me. That is because I allowed myself to make the decision I, and only I really wanted. And that is some liberating emotion right there.
So what is going to happen now? I think that now I have to somehow get to the north of Italy which probably means getting a bike and harnessing my kayak behind it. Then, probably, I will have to push the kayak over the Alps, pull it across Europe all the way to Hamburg. I am saying ‚PROBABLY‘… That is because the best way will somehow show itself in front of me in due time. The main thing is to have a direction to follow. And my course is clear. I am lead by my heart. I am sure it will be totally worth it.
Decisions, during winter time…
The sun is rising. I open my eyes and sit up to see what the situation around is. I do that many times a night when the sun rises and also anytime anyone passes by. I keep myself aware and manage to prevent situations I do not want to happen. This time, however, I pause. Looking at the sunrise, I notice that something is different than it was yesterday. Or, it probably was there yesterday evening too, but it was not visible, and I get very emotional about the sight.
Balance when travelling by kayak.
It’s probably clear to everyone that to paddle on a kayak you need to master the skill of balance. I figured it out myself before I had the opportunity to try kayaking for the first time.
However, this way of travelling has also brought me a completely different view on the meaning of that word.
I’ve got to understand that I’ve been looking for balance not only during paddling. What’s more, the true finding of balance often starts in the moment I get off the kayak.
I have gone through hell and hit the bottom. Times have been gloomy and I have felt crappy.
That is how a story by a skilful writer could start like when he wants to quickly capture his readers, draw them into the plot and, ideally, arouse some feelings for the main hero. The author would then probably go on with the narrative with the emphasis on deepening the readers’ emotions.