As we dig in deeper and craft the draft plan we find that not much is written about Kamchatka, the remote peninsula or Russian Far East. Or it's not easily accessible at least. We are reaching out to people and talking about our plans. Jola is one of these people. She has visited this remote land few months ago and has agreed to support us in terms of gathering information and contacts to locals. Jola is a traveller and has seen quite a bit of the world. She is blogging in Polish at "Dzienniki z podróży" (en. Travel diaries). Her last posts are about the journey in question. I've asked Jola about the impressions on Kamchatka and what were the highlights of her journey.
Neftali, a Costa Rican "aspiring filmmaker and uprising blogger" as he call himself has visited India in 2015. The region in particular that he explored was Rajasthan ("Land of kings" in literal translation) - India's largest state by area. He catches the Indian spirit and explores what the culture has to offer.
This year came with several changes. The blog changed it's name to "Go further" which reflects how I view travelling and it got itself an own domain blog.marcinkonkel.com. I also started working with The Travel Stories where I shed new light on the Trans-Siberian railway journey from 2014 in reportages from Mongolia and Russia. I also started promoting #kamchatka2016 project together with the team. Below you can see highlights from the places I've been to this year. Click on the photograph to go to the full gallery. Hope you like them!
In 2015, it's 62 years since the first ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (a hired Sherpa) in 1953 more than 3,000 others have “summited” the world’s tallest mountain. Sometimes the media will show how busy the most popular routes to the peak are. For around 30 000 US dollars almost everyone can ascent the mountain with a guide. The Economist in a recent article states that some pay even 90 000$. Just to compare, an average income in Nepal is around 700$, the climbers leave quite a bit of money in local businesses and for licences which significantly aids the economy in the region.
Jen Peedom, in her movie, tells a story of a quarrel between climbers and Sherpas that happened in 2013. The main character is Phurba Tashi Sherpa - a veteran of 21 Everest summits. What unexpectedly happened when filming in 2014 (6.45am, on 18th April) was a 14 million ton block of ice crashing down onto the climbing route through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas. As the synopsis states:
"It was the worst tragedy in the history of Everest.
The disaster provoked a drastic reappraisal about the role of the Sherpas in the Everest industry. SHERPA, tells the story of how, in the face of fierce opposition, the Sherpas united in grief and anger to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma."
The movie is entering cinemas world-wide. Learn more by reading the above mentioned article on The Economist website and watching the trailer.
We have our official logo of the expedition (above)! It was designed by Natalia Jaźwierska and we are proud that she collaborated to the project and devoted her time. This artwork will be used across all information regarding the project and the journey itself. Just as a reminder - you can also search #kamchatka2016 on this page and in social media to find content posted by us over time. Soon you can also expect an interview with a traveller that has already seen the distant land of Kamchatka.
Most movies about Kamchatka, at least at Vimeo, are about surfing, snowboarding or skiing. One can judge that the conditions for these sports must be at least good. "All about Kamchatka" is a promotional video about the region. Still it presents much more than just the mentioned sports. See for yourself.
Nathan Millward has made an uneasy decision to move from Australia (where he spent 9 months) where things didn't work out for him. The idea was to get back to England but honestly he just wanted to "get lost somewhere in the middle". In the effect he rode on his bike for 9 months with everything he owned on the bike in a small box and 2000$ in his pocket. His route to London had 28 073 miles..
"The road is a very confronting place when you are alone in the middle of nowhere with only you and your thoughts it can play devilish tricks on your mind. When you get home and you lived this adventure and every minute of every day (...) and the road suddenly stops I think it's the bit that can eat you up. That's why a lot people find it very difficult to stop. The hate of confronting themselves when they aren't moving forward."
A tremendous journey on one side and a harsh story on the other. It's not always that beautiful as you see it in the media or read in some books. Listen to Nathan's story directed by Fraser Byrne. A story with a good ending.
The Trans-Siberian Expedition has come to an end last year but the story continues. This Sunday (13.12.) you will be able to read my new article on The Travel Stories on the part of the route from Moscow to Irkutsk - a 3,5 days long train journey in the lowest class called platskart. Although many things have been written on this blog, this story is re-told in a different way with facts never told and some photos never published before.
During this project we got to learn that Russia is a vast country with great and hospitable people. Some of them drink a lot, some are nationalist, the administration don't give much interest in you, some want to get to know you better. Whatever you experience, you probably notice that Russia is "a state of mind" as explained two builders we met on the train. Read more on The Travel Stories this Sunday.
In December 2014 embargo between America and Cuba was relaxed. Import and export of some goods within certain limitations. The initial sanctions towards Cuba have been in place since 1960s in various forms. Additionally, the country suffered after the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991 due to withdrawal of Soviet subsidies worth $4 billion to $6 billion annually. After several years People's Republic of China has became a supporter for Cuba. Nevertheless, the economy has not yet managed to rebuild itself.
Paul Wex has visited the country in 2013 and captured how Cuba looked like in that particular moment in time. Not only the cities but also other parts of the island. Paul is not only the director of the video but also composed the music himself. Kudos.
Even a short visit to London's Portobello Market is revealing. Either a taste, a sight or a smell. This time without much of a narrative. Just photos to enjoy. If you can stand the immense crowd and still keep mindful about what you see, you'll be able to find some interesting stuff. Few glimpses from a stroll below.