Wednesday, 19 October 2016

How and why: #inspireourdream

Press here for Lithuanian version.

It might be the most boring topic, which I could have chosen for the first post, but How and Why must be written about.

It was one of these gloomy December days. I was sitting at home in Klaipeda, Lithuania, when Lin's call woke me up. I cannot remember, did she call from Singapore or Delhi, anyway, she asked me “What do you think, shall we do the North Pole?” ”Why not?” I replied without thinking. It must have been one of these days, when I was bored of everything.  

Eirliani received the BMW Foundation Responsible Leader
Award in 2015
I met Eirliani Abdul Rehman (Lin's full name) in  Delhi Rock, indoors climbing gym in Delhi. She  didn't take much time to find connections with  me. We became climbing partners and friends.  At that time, she was working at Singapore High Commission in New Delhi, India. But soon she  finished her carrier as a diplomat and started to  work with Noble Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi.  She joined Bachpan Bachao Andolan (eng. Save the Childhood Movement) and started to work with abused children. Eirliani, also, is a founder of YAKIN (Youth Adult Survivors & Kin in Need), a non-for-profit working with children from abused or disadvantaged background. They also work with adults survivors. These reasons compelled  Eirliani to make a big journey, which became Antarctica. About her reasons read more here and here.

Eirliani was very enthusiastic about our idea and started to act immediately. In one week, she made a schedule for our training, found the people, who can train us, found the guides, made a list of the equipment we need. But life would be easy, if everything would be simple as puzzle for 3 year old kids. We had to rethink each and every aspect of our journey. We even changed the destination; instead of crossing the North Pole, we decided to do the South Pole. I realised that I couldn't handle the mental challenge of sleeping at the North Pole and being afraid of polar bear eating me. I know, South Pole is not an easy task either. I have to stay in freezing weather for one or two months, drag the sledges of 60 kg in the middle of nowhere. It is not only a physical challenge. It's mental as well. The cold will make the body tired and lazy. It hits your will, which can be crucial under these extreme conditions. Loneliness makes you think, analyse your self, face your demons inside and deal with the wicked thoughts caused by harsh conditions. I am lucky, that South Pole is the land of vegetarians, as I mentioned before, and there's no chance, to become a fresh snack for polar bears. All this is still in the future and we do have time to explore more and get ready for this.

Now we have to deal with other challenges: money and time.

Funds is the first step to make this expedition happen. While we are not „<..> famous professional athletes“ – as one famous company supporting extreme sports wrote me in an e-mail – our internal companies policy are not allowing us to fund you <...>“. Being unknown makes it harder to get sponsors and is taking longer than we had expected. Anyway, thanks for those, who supports us: Delhi Rock, BMW foundation and others.

Exercising in Lodi Park, New Delhi
The injured hand won't stop me from
running or high steps.
Photo by Agne Majauskaite
Time. The physical challenge is not the biggest.  I am hard-working,  used to an active life style and I have a healthy body. I can train hard.  The challenge is to find time for full-power training in our everyday  routine.  “I have to run 3 hours tomorrow”” - I was discussing my  training scheduled with my friend. “How much?” “Three hours”  “What nonsense – he snorted  – there are 24 hours in a day and 3 of them you dedicate to running. It is just a waste of time!” Well, what  can I do? And running is nothing. What about training for surviving  under extreme conditions? Building snow walls, so that strong wind won't grab your bag? It is not possible to train for this in the middle of  the parks in Delhi or any other city. It is hard to compromise between training and the casual routine. I had to give up some hobbies, work. I  have had to reduce my climbing training, which I love. But life doesn't stop, just because I want to cross the Antarctica.

We face different reactions. Some people are encouraging, others are  asking us to cancel it. They are doubting if we can do it. I know we  can, once we get a chance. Anyway, I am happy we decided to do it.  My answer „Why not?“ encouraged me to move further, to rethink,  what I want and what I am searching for. It made me to start new  things, this blog as well. Thank you, Eirliani, who gave an idea to  open the blog about our expeditions, its reasons and training. I decided to open this blog for more topics: for the stories, people and their works, which inspired me. This blog will always find the place for the stories, which needs to be inspired. Some place will be left for my fiction essays, which hopefully make you to rethink the values or our daily things, we see, but ignore.

Me on he way to Kanphri Tibba, Himchal
Pradesh, India
Photo by Karthikeyan Gopinathan

More about us and expedition:

Interview in Outdoors journal:

Eriliani on Trund trek
Photo by Akash Vora

Lin's blogs:

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