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Tag: MB

Time for an Update

When I first chose to embark on my Pole2Pole adventure, I not only decided to undertake a unique circumnavigation of the globe via the two poles, I also made a precious promise to my two girls. I promised them I would try my best to update them with news and images of my adventures in order to help them share my dreams, thoughts and experiences with you, the people that follow me and believe in what I do.

So today, after over a month of silence, I am writing to my girls and I am writing to you, to let you know what I have been up to.

During the end of July I ventured alone into the Namib Desert with a simple aim, my goal was to survive off of nature’s resources while crossing on foot a small part of this country I have always admire. But the aim was not only to survive; it was also to disconnect from the connected world and to discover new horizons.

Namibia treated me well. I walked for hours under the burning sun, dug deep for a couple drops of water to hydrate myself, and encountered majestic wildlife along my path. But two weeks wasn’t enough, I needed more time alone to reconnect with myself.

That is when I moved on to the Caprivi bordering Botswana, and ventured into the Okavango swamps by pirogue amongst the crocodiles and the hippos. Living in and off nature is a type of self-cultivation, it allows you to grow into the person that you truly are. There is an abundance of value and fortune in being able to make my own decisions and naturally carrying on their consequences, whether they might good or bad. Nature is the best teacher; it educates me on ways to take responsibility. In today’s world, and today’s systems, we are unfortunately losing the ability of taking control of our very own destinies. The more one does alone, the better that person can understand their self, and the faster they grow.

My time spent discovering Namibia and Botswana was a real gift. Although the hours were long and at times my feet deserved a rest, the freedom I felt while crossing paths with animals in their natural habitat and traversing wide-open plains, mountains and dry riverbeds, was incomparable! Even the fires I made to keep myself warm at night had a meaning to me. Food for thought was everywhere around me. The environment I was exploring was step-by-step enriching me.

Solitude is an incredibly efficient way to finding answers to the many questions we all have about life and ourselves. I can guarantee that inspiration is found by undertaking new challenges and by venturing outside of our comfort zones. But the first question one needs to ask themselves before taking off for this life quest is the following: How determined am I to find the answers to my questions? How far am I willing to go? Am I even capable?

The Namibian Adventure

Trip to the North of Namibia on six Mercedes Benz cars.G350,G500

Walvisbay, Namibia: June 9th, 2016

Day 1 – 16:30: We’ve been on the road for 10 hours now, but one could hardly call what we’ve done so far ‘good progress’ – the thrill of adventure has clearly kicked in, resulting in a large number of sidetracked stops to admire the openness we have finally ventured into. On top of that, while we picturesquely drove along the coast with large waves collapsing onto the sand chasing the GClass tyres, all of the 7 cars eventually got stuck in the soft sand. Although the idea of despair might have crossed a couple minds, the explorers in us kicked in resulting in an intense 1hour battle against the swampy sands to dig one car out after the other. In moments like these, our notion of The Skeleton Coast takes on a different meaning. You begin to realize the terror some of those now-skeletons might have felt before this deadly coastal land was named. Up until now, we’ve had 7 sand-submerged vehicles, one of the 7 cars broke down due to a faulty gearbox, and one punctured tyre. Safe to say we are driving these beasts limitlessly. Riding over the steep sandy dunes, rolling down others, cruising along the flat desert roads, chasing the waves as they collapse majestically on the beach. Although we haven’t covered much terrain yet, we’ve been mind-blown with the most incredible sceneries. One recurring word amongst the large group: “openness”. There is something incredibly humbling about pacing through these vast territories. Almost a feeling of utter vulnerability. As you look around, you find yourself squinting in search of a far horizon. This ever-changing land does indeed carry its name well, there is a feeling of infertility, hopelessness, and even death. Ironically, these same lands also inspire eternity. Needless to say that being here and now has generated a unique energy amongst the team, problems are tackled differently, smiles and laughter seem more sincere, and the topics of conversation are limitless in imagination. The sun is slowly setting, one of those bright yellow African sunsets, as we make our way towards our camping spot for the night. The adventure has only just begun, but oh my what an inspiring day 1!

Keep on exploring,

Annika & Jessica

Mike Horn: The Privilege of Being Free

Pole2Pole - Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.
Pole2Pole – Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.

Living life gets a new meaning only when you can exist by being who you are. To be free is and certainly will forever be one of the most desired needs of mankind. History has taught us allot of what we know today about the word freedom. The word freedom has nearly become an obscenity and is slowly disappearing like the morning fog. The question is the following: What price am I willing to pay to be able to live with a certain amount of freedom? And what will I do with the luxury of freedom if I could acquire it?! I guess the trick question is, how do you define being free?

The big dilemma of growing up is that we lose our dreams, with that we lose our freedom. The solution to the dilemma is very simple in theory: Grow older but keep on dreaming like a child.

My father told me that if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough. How can man ever sleep, if his dreams keep on eluding him? Freedom often gets imprisoned in our mind purely by ourselves and how we think.

Action is the key word that liberates the mind. To be free, you need action.

We often speak about luxury as something we cannot afford. The new luxury in today’s world is freedom; it can be bought without a currency. We can buy freedom by changing the way we think! We often move from one situation to another, thinking we will have more time only to realise that we don’t. It is like having six of one or a half a dozen of another. One day will always have 24 hours and that’s the same for each human being on earth, we all have the same amount of time. How we use it is a different question.

Working with freedom, doing what you love, staying true to yourself, trying to do what you always wanted to do, reaching success or failure learning from it, is all forms of mental freedom. Take a moment to look at your life, find what ties you down, doing your best at what you do, start loving the hard and difficult moments, helps us to frees up our mind.

We should not always think that by having more time is the only form of freedom. Liberate yourself mentally take on challenges and responsibilities. It makes you feel good about yourself.

In short, enjoy being yourself and love what you do. It will make you happy, and a happy man is a free man.

When you have worked hard for what you want, and then acquire it, you often realise that you do not have enough time to use what you have acquired, that belief frustrates and imprisons us. The freedom of enjoying what we worked for, without the pleasure of the action of using it has the reverse effect of what we imagined it to be like when we started pursuing our pathway to freedom. We often say when I have this I will do that… and we find ourselves with no time to do the “that”, this is where the game changes in our mind.

Instead of thinking of only enjoying the action part we should enjoy the whole process of acquiring as well, in fact enjoy everything we do in the ideal situation. Certainly there will be different levels of enjoyment.

Live in the moment, do not always want to be somewhere else, it liberates your mind and adds to the happiness that makes us feel free! Be happy with who you are, rather than unhappy trying to be someone else or what others want you to be. Freedom can be summed up in 3 words. KEEP IT TRUE.

What does all of this blab about freedom have to do with the Pole2Pole expedition?

The answer to that question you can read above!

Mike Horn

 

Pole2Pole: A Young Explorer’s Adventure

Pole2Pole - Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.
Pole2Pole – Sailing on Pangaea in Atlantic Ocean.

Latitude: 02°23’.900 N

Longitude: 008°38’.850 W

Heading: 147° true

Wind: Southerly, 18 knots

The horn orchestra performed by the Monaco yachts upon our departure seems so far off in the distance now. Kicking off the expedition at the prestigious Monaco Yacht Club, I remember perceiving Pangaea as dwarfed by the sheer size of the adjacent giants. Not many vehicles can convey a unique story and character as well as boats do, though. That of Pangaea screams adventure. Her expedition-grade rigging and worn aluminum hull with dents and scars, which can each tell a story from the other side of the world, create a stark and curious contrast to the fine-polished hulls and delicate superyacht designs. Moored amongst them, she radiates an insatiable hunger for exploration, as though wanting to instantly break free from the mooring lines and made bound for distant shores.

Today, two weeks and around 3200 nautical miles later, we are hugging the Atlantic coast of the African continent as we cruise down South, having passed the halfway mark on our trip from Monaco to Cape Town already. So far we have been gifted with favorable winds and currents, enabling us to make great progress and push ahead of schedule. This time made good will come in handy soon as we pass the equator and the trade winds and currents start turning against us.

Ever since we’ve passed the Cape Verde Islands and rounded the westernmost tip of Africa, we’ve entered virgin territory for the Pangaea. After rounding the world several times and logging close to 200.000 nautical miles, the Pangaea had yet to be seen by the majority of the African Atlantic coast. The boat is an explorer herself, desiring to leave a track behind in the blank spots on the canvas that is the oceans of the world. This idea has recently been shared with me by Mike when talking about his expedition route choice and has added another layer of appreciation for the boat that we’re sailing on. In the past few months I’ve learned to feel at home on this boat during the expedition preparation phase at port. Now, with the boat making way, entire new facets of the boat are revealing themselves which I’m feverishly familiarizing myself with through the guidance and mentorship of Mike, taking in all the fresh information like a sponge, with the curiousness of the ocean sailing neophyte that I am. While the Pangaea is heading into the approaching waves at a close-hauled course, with the wind filling her freshly painted sails that propel her forward at eleven knots, with the waves tickling her bow as it pierces through the seas, you cannot help but notice her enjoyment and eloquence all along. Now, she truly is in her element.

Of the coast we don’t see much as we stay mostly more than 50 nautical miles offshore. But in the moments we do catch rare glimpses of it, the lights of homes send us imagining about distant and exotic cultures. There, at shore, must be a completely different world and life from what we know. At sea, we’re in our own little world, isolated and surrounded only by the horizon and our thoughts. The longer the duration we are at sea, the simpler our lives become. Watch periods, sail trimming and cloud studying become the cornerstones of our day-to-day life, and the daily progress we’re making stands above all else. We live for the gale that sends us hurrying all across the deck and crawling through sailbags, and for the serene nightwatch that sees the moonlight caressing the deck and the sails from both the sky and the sea; for the breathtakingly colorful sunset like you could only experience it at sea that brings the whole crew together on deck to marvel at the mesmerizing yet momentary display of art in nature; for both the intense times that make us feel alive, and for the tranquil moments that allow us to think about the ones that are important to us. The largest concerns of life at sea become reduced to coming on deck and being told just having missed the pod of pilot whales that passed by us two short minutes ago (happened to me yesterday), or the nightly tradeoff between the occasional spray hitting the face while sleeping, and a close-hatched, airtight sauna of a cabin (Mike could sing you a song about getting ripped out of sleep by a bucket load of spray). The fear of losing focus for just one fraction of a second and being thrown off the boom by the next better gust. And I won’t deny feeling homesick at times. But come that next thrilling storm, that next purple sunset, that next school of playful dolphins graciously surfing down our bow wave, and an overwhelming sense of beauty and gratitude takes over, flushing the most profound kind of contentment down my every fiber. Is this what sailors call “Finding the ocean”?

We are massively enjoying and enthralled by the momentum of the expedition start. The anticipation for what lies ahead is big. We are looking forward to crossing the equator by this time tomorrow, to the amazing things that are awaiting us in Namibia and Cape Town, and beyond all that, to the ever-looming grand adventure that is going to be the Southern Ocean.

With hot and humid regards from Africa,

Felix

Mike is in a constant state of travel and adventure , so keep up to date on all his expeditions !