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Skier and the winter landscape

Marek Kamiński’s book Warto podążać za marzeniami starts with a question: how does anybody becomes a globetrotter? I would rephrase it: what does it take for a person to become successful in spite of obstacles? I have already written about several well-known personalities. Today I’d like to pen a few words about Kamiński. Whatever life threw at him, he would never give up. He was the first person in history to have reached both the North and the South Pole without the outside assistance, all in the same year. A member of many expeditions, he is also a Guinness record holder and a multiple awards’ winner. How did it all begin?

Before we go into his achievements, let us take a step back in time. As a young boy, Marek has an accident. A fracture will not heal and the kid spends long spells in hospitals. He has his arm re-broken and set many times. He finds solace in books and soon becomes an avid reader. His newfound passion takes him to other worlds populated with characters from the novels, and will later turn him into an explorer. When he gets a bit older, he begins to correspond with people from all over the world. He would first call embassies of various countries to ask for the names of local newspapers and then write to their editors-in-chief asking them to get him in touch with a native with whom he could become pen friends. This is how he begins to exchange letters with people from Columbia, Canada, USSR, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina and many others.

SkiersHis first trip abroad is to Denmark. He pays for it with the money that he earned washing car windows and picking raspberries and strawberries. He raised the funds single-handedly and got himself a passport, all with his parents’ consent of course.  At 15, Marek departs for a cruise to Morocco. He is gone for three months. Finally he gets the opportunity to see with his own eyes what he has so far known only from the books. As a university student, he continues to travel, visiting Tallinn, Helsinki and hitchhiking across Scandinavia with just roughly 100 dollars in his pocket. His travels do not end there. He goes to Hamburg via Denmark and then to East Berlin; next, he he takes a flight to Moscow, then to Bucharest where he gets on a train to Sofia, and hitchhikes to Greece. I could go on reciting multiple destinations, but I’d rather make my point. If we want something really badly, there is nothing to stop us from achieving it. Dreams do not come true within a snap of a finger. To make things happen, you must show determination and make some extra effort. This is what makes it magical. Otherwise, you may as well wait for a genie in a bottle.  The journey that we take to accomplish our dream is as fascinating as the dream itself. Marek’s dream, which he had when still a student, was to reach the Pole.

Let me quote a fragment of an entry from Marek’s diary dated on 24 January 1988:

The confidence that comes with the belief that what you are doing is perfectly natural. Prior to expedition, develop a special fitness and mental training. The method:  imagine every obstacle that you may encounter  There and think of at least three solutions. I should know details of previous expeditions by heart. Each experience, every situation, a thorough analysis. Discipline above everything else. One has to remodel oneself step by step, detail after detail. To reach the North Pole like Nansen.                    

This is how it all began. The rest is history.

When mentioning Kamiński, one naturally has to think of Jasiek Mela. Jasiek sustained severe burns of left crus and right forearm due to an electric shock. After three months of treatment, doctors decided to amputate both limbs. Two years after the accident, Jasiek set off on an expedition to the North Pole, followed by exploration of the South Pole, with Kamiński who was by then a well-known explorer of the polar regions.

How to pursue your dreams

In the following years, Jasiek was a member of expeditions to the Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus, he climbed El Capitan and ran the New York City Marathon. He is currently head of the foundation ,,Poza Horyzonty”.

Since his early years, Marek Kamiński has set himself targets and accomplished them.

Soon we will have the opportunity to watch Marek’s exploits during his new undertaking.  No trace expedition will take him on a road trip in an electric vehicle (EV) across Asia. The objective of this innovative project is to promote such values as respect for natural environment, sustainable development of new techs, as well as a minimalist approach to travelling and consumption. No Trace Expedition propagates “zero waste, zero trace” concept of conscious travel. Scheduled for May – July 2018, the 20,000-kilometre road trip itinerary includes Kaliningrad, Belarus, Russia and Siberia, South Korea and Japan. The expedition is meant to show that EV can be a good choice for long-distance and challenging excursions, minimizing our impact on the environment.

Each of  us has  a unique life  experience, yet we have something in common. Our destiny depends largely on how aware we are of our potential. By tapping into it, we can live our lives for real. At the end of the day, this is what we all strive for. Kamiński and Mela are both a living proof that there is no hurdle too big that we cannot overcome with the right attitude.

Mirella Piwiszkis
Business Psychologist, Mentor, Founder of INSPIRE

Jeśli chcesz wesprzeć nowy projekt Marka Kamińskiego, zachęcam do kontaktu z Karoliną Kucman, koordynatorką No trace expedition. : karolina.kucman@kaminski.pl