The revolution in Egypt began a day before I was to departure towards Alexandria. Despite that fact the boat left Venice and headed towards its first stop in Tartus in Syria. I remember that all the people on the board were very conscious of the changing political landscape and for the whole days we were following up-to-date briefings on the situation. In the meantime the Egyptian borders were closed, there were army and thousands of people on the streets. This was it. I had to change the route of my journey. I couldn't quite believe that I wouldn't go to Egypt and what that meant I wouldn't see the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Suez Canal, the Pyramids and the Nile. Missi...

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Being A Free Man

I am sitting in my favorite armchair, smoking cigar and thinking of what lead me to where I am at that moment, what circumstances created this opportunity to circumnavigate the world, who helped me to do it, and how all this happened. The only answer which comes to my mind is that I just worked hard and the right people appeared as if by magic.

I have never had great teachers who shared their knowledge with passion, who were able to inspire the class with their enthusiasm and fire lasting interest in the world. But I was lucky enough to meet Robinson Crusoe, the Count of Monte Cristo or Phileas Fogg on the pages of the books I read - fictitious characters who took me to the world I had never known, who became the ones who inspired my love of travelling, exploring, going to different cities, discovering other places and other people. They were the ones who showed me that we all can make our own miracles. Maybe we should believe them or in fairy tales more instead of just listening to others who think everything is impossible?

I met many people on my way who spent two-three months here and there and told me that they had only learnt a bit about the local cultures and still hadn't seen half of the places they had visited. But traveling teaches something even more important - it teaches adaptability, determination, sensitivity and improve communication skills. So I gave up an idea of writing a blog describing my journey day by day or going too deep into details on how I had moved from one place to another or describing the cities I had visited. Useful information can be found in an internet or in travel guides. For me travelling is not just exploring local cultures, local people or new places. It is - in the first place - the best way of learning about myself - about my passions, my self-limitations, my fears and my weaknesses.

A fear was something I felt many times during my trip, but I improved my ability of dealing with it as much as I improved many other valuable qualities and that's something I would like to write about. But I would also like to share my thoughts about all those "big" words, which shaped my mind over the years and became the foundation of my trip. I always had a feeling inside that I could do it, and I paid attention to those signals.

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself. "*

*[From "The wisdom of the Native Americans" by Kent Nerburn]

Photograps:
Upper Left - crossing the Ganges River, Calcutta
Bottom Right - sitting on the tatami with the Polish version of the "Around the world in eighty days", Osaka



A Viral Infection

This was Tuesday afternoon and I was supposed to be leaving on Saturday morning. I was very concerned about Laura - my little daughter. For last few days she had a viral infection. She lost some weight, had strong diarrhea, and was so weak that although she tried to play, she couldn't stand on her feet. Finally the doctor decided to keep her overnight in the hospital and put her on drip. She was back home the next day, but didn't seem to be getting better and on Wednesday night myself and my wife Sylwia took her again to the hospital to see the doctor.

My mum moved to Ireland a few months before just to give us a hand when I was preparing myself for the trip, and also to help my wife while I would be on the way. My dad flew to Ireland for a few days that we could see each other before I would go. The date of my departure was just hours away and I was really worrying about leaving my family. But my wife insisted that I should go, and that everything would going to be alright and that my parents were there to give her a hand. I was to spent the first days of my trip in Europe, going from London through Paris to Venice, where I would take the boat to Alexandria, so we agreed, that if Laura wouldn't get any better soon, I would be able to return home quickly.

My journey was to start in front of the Reform Club in London, and I still had to get from Ireland to the UK. I was to fly from Dublin to Heathrow in London, but a week before my departure date, that airline's crew went on strike, so lots of flights had been cancelled. It was not clear if the strike would end shortly, so I had to work on an emergency plan of getting to the UK by boat, in case my flight would also be cancelled. Buying a new ticket in the last moment for a flight with a different airline would be way above mu budget. The boat would be much cheaper option. Finally the strike was over and I did fly to London.

Last few days before my departure were so hectic - my little daughter was sick, I had to find an alternative way of getting from Ireland to the UK, I had to make sure that all the cases I dealt at my work were closed, and I had to keep up with the preparation for the trip. The last-minute stress was just enormous, so when all the guys from my office came together with a cake just to say goodbye and wish me good luck, I was feeling quite emotional and was fighting back tears.

Photographs:
Upper Left - a magnificent view from the Singapore Flyer, Singapore
Bottom Right - crowds on the street, Shanghai



Adrenaline

A friend of mine dropped me to the Dublin Airport on Saturday early in the morning. This was it. I was on my own. I was really leaving now and a rush of adrenaline washed through me. My heart was pounding. My little daughter was much better on Friday and I was very relieved, but confused about the whole thing in the same time. Was it fair that I was taking off for so long and leaving my family behind? I knew that one of the most difficult things would be the long separation. I knew how much I was going to miss my wife and my little daughter. But after all the hard work, all the massive amount of organization, all the preparation, all I had to do was make sure I would enjoy the trip.


Photograph:
With a clown in the Ocean Park, Hong Kong



The Reform Club

The Reform Club located at 104 Pall Mall in London will forever be associated with Jules Verne's book "Around the World in Eighty Days", as the place where the idea of this incredible journey was conceived and the famous bet made.

When I stood in front of the Reform Club on January 22 and looked at the address board, I couldn't believe that I was in the place where Phileas Fogg had started his around the world trip in 1872. It still seemed to me unbelievable. But it was true and I was just to follow his path.

I spent months preparing myself to this journey. I did what I could. For sure I made some mistakes, but it was my greatest pleasure working on that project, seeing that something what had been an abstraction still a few months ago was now slowly becoming a reality. It's all my dreams coming together.

If we believe in something - as Paulo Coelho has written in "Pilgrim" - we feel stronger than the whole world brought together. This internal power help us to make right decisions in right moments, and when we achieve our goals, we are surprised by our own abilities.

Photograph:
The Reform Club at 104 Pall Mall, London



The Back Pack

I had just started my around the world trip and Aris was on his way for already a few months when we met in Venice. I had a feeling that he was very much of the school that you should own nothing expect what you can carry on your back.

Packing the bag was one of the most challenging undertakings of the trip. It seemed to me that there was so much to go into such little space. The journey changed my paradigms. It showed how little we need to be happy. No fancy stuff, just three pairs of threadbare pants, two pairs of old shoes and sandals, two shirts, three T-shirts, water and windproof jacket, fleece jacket, fleece blouse, sweater, bath towel, pocket knife, torch, laptop, camera and few other things.

Not knowledge or wisdom became the symbol of the man’s status, but cars, bank accounts, houses, masterpieces or jewels. Our western civilization made us dependent on thousands of gadgets and things. We became their slaves, we want to have, own and accumulate.

Now when I open my wardrobes and look at the shelves I can see so many things which I don't use and I am asking myself - do I really need it?

Photograph:
At the Tokyo Station, Tokyo