What were you doing 4 years ago? Cyprus

 Since October 10th 2013: 142 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country.

Good intentions won’t feed you 

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Do you think we will make it in regards to the crowdfunding campaign? The campaign has reached 24% of the targeted $50,000 and will only end towards the middle of December. However those 24% come from a very generous 203 people. The Saga is followed by more than 30,000 people. How come 203 are pulling the weight of 7,000? Oh well...I guess we will see...
I haven’t been looking at a lot of Saga related things lately. I have recently been staying away from the social media of Once Upon A Saga so I don’t know if anyone commented, asked questions, liked, shared, left, began following... I’m on a “time out” and trying to clear my mind: no Red Cross, no travel, no social media, no interviews, no Facebook... I can’t escape the planing though. So since last week MSC (https://www.msc.com/) accepted me onboard their ship to Lebanon which is leaving Cyprus on November 9th and arriving the following day. I cannot even begin to express how amazing that is! It will become the 11th containership to enter the Sagas hall of fame! Kidding aside it’s a huge load of my back since I will no longer need to worry about how I will leave Cyprus and for that sake reach Lebanon. That’s a two in one solution.
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Mila from BeFlexi has been instrumental in that particular relief. She made the introduction between MSC and me and chaperoned me to the meetings. Even if she didn’t help me I would still find her amazing. I met Mila on my second day in Cyprus when I visited BeFlexi’s office in Limassol. She took part in getting me to Cyprus from Greece onboard Salamis’ vessel. She is always smiling and having gotten me onboard 2 vessels now she’s clearly effective too! I’ve made a number of new friends here in Cyprus and feel quite privileged. I’ll probably get stress trying to find time to see them all before I leave :)
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"The greatest driving anthems...ever!" ;)
Do you remember Natalie from last weeks entry? Well, we got acquainted more than a year ago when her company wrote about me being onboard one of their ships. I finally got to meet her here in Cyprus where she lives and we’ve been hanging out. Last weekend we headed west along the coastline to see what it had to offer. I know I’m repeating myself but Cyprus really has an abundance of history and interesting sights. As such we managed to visit the archaeological site of Kourion, which dates its earliest settlement back to the Ceramic Neolithic period between  5500 - 4000 BC. Yeah, so...that’s a really long time ago! The sites history will run you through the early Cypriot period, Middle Cypriot period, the late Cypriot period and thus bring you all the way up to 1050 BC which is still: A REALLY LONG TIME AGO! It came under Assyrian rule, Persian rule, Alexander the Great, Ptolemaic governance, Egyptian rule, Roman Rule, Byzantine rule, Ottoman rule and Cypriot history continues into the hands of the British Empire before it’s finally established as an independent country in 1960. So, we made quite a leap there. Kourion was a settlements which grew into a city state which became a kingdom however many other things were going on within the landscape of this island simultaneously. Over time everything was conquered which leads to the road of independence as a country. The history of Cyprus is complex and intriguing. You’ll ever find a few years “belonging” to the Knights Templars but that really wasn’t their finest hour and quickly came to an end.
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Kourion is really well displayed and in extraordinary beautiful surroundings.
Natalie and I managed to visit Aphrodite’s Rock as we continued west on our way to Paphos. Aphrodite’s Rock is supposedly where the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation was born. I can easily imagine the logic behind a hugely pregnant woman deciding to climb a rock by the sea with her big round belly, so that she can give birth. It happens all the time I’m told ;)
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Aphrodite's Rock.
Anyway, we made it to Paphos which is a charming port city and apparently home base for Captain Nemo’s ‘Nautilus’. I’m not sure that Jules Verne had that in mind but my eyes do not lie!
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If this is not the 'Nautilus' then I don't know what?!? :)
Paphos is also the location of countless settlements which have developed since Neolithic times (long ago) and today it holds a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We came just to see the coast and enjoy a walk along the seaside. Paphos is perfect for that too.
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“People and fish smell after three days”. I once heard that as a rule for having guests over. I’ve had visitors for longer than that and I have also been a guest for longer periods than three nights. In 1857 the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen overstayed his welcome, while visiting his friend Charles Dickens in England. The overstay cost them their friendship. I find that little anecdote interesting as well as the three day rule of thumb. Sergey has shown me far more than three nights hospitality. Sergey is the owner of BeFlexi which Mila works for. BeFlexi has been very helpful since before I reached Cyprus and when I finally made it here I visited the office. That’s when I first met Sergey. Sergey was born in USSR and grew up in Russia but now lives in Canada and Cyprus. He has 3 children with his beautiful wife and he is made up out of a very passionate and kind personality. His business adventures and investments are a story on their own! Suffice to say that he has managed quite well in life but still has both feet firmly planted on the ground. I came to benefit from that when he arranged for me to stay 2 nights at a luxury beach hotel in Limassol. Afterwards I was given a room in his beach apartment and told that if I saw any food then it was mine! 
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Sergey has shown real genuine interest in the Saga and wants to see it grow rapidly. We have been debating about the difference between charity and sponsorship and I must admit that the Saga is based largely on charity. Sergey basically doesn’t understand how I can be waiting for a good opportunity to buy a cheap laptop instead of having companies lining up to give me one? He doesn’t understand why I went through so much trouble to get a new bag when companies should be lining up to give me one? He doesn’t understand why I haven’t contacted a PR agency to see what could become of the Saga. Sergey has really challenged me and given me much to think about. Through that process we have found that we are much the same with similar background stories on some areas and similar dreams for the future. Something which really resonates with Sergey is that I’m trying to show people that the world, although not perfect, is definitely a much better place than most believe. Sergey has been taking me out, introducing me to his friends, force fed me, helped me, inspired me and given me space to rest up. We never knew of each other before I came to Cyprus and that’s why: A stranger is a friend you’ve never met before!
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I don’t want to put my self in an “Andersen-Dickens” kind of situation and although Sergey offered that I could stay until November 9th, that is still really far into the future. Natalie offered that I could stay at her apartment and I took her up on that offer. So that’s where I have been procrastinating lately. I’ve seen more YouTube videos in the past few days than what I’ve seen throughout my entire life! I’ve been taking it slow, I have been eating well and I have been sleeping enough. I certainly need it. Some caring people have suggested that I might be heading towards an “exhaustion depression” and that I should take several months off to avoid it. I do feel slightly depressed sometimes which is to say; something which goes beyond sadness. However it’s not permanent nor constant and I manage to distract from it. “If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you”. I feel like I know what Nietzsche might have meant by that. I’m never disconnected to the Saga. I’m always thinking about the past, the present and the future. I’m constantly wrapped up in meetings, exploring, social media, planing, inspiring, learning, educating, entertaining, planing and currently also in fundraising! 
I’m thankful to both Sergey and Natalie for helping me rest and try to focus on something else...to some degree at least. I have still spent a lot of time researching the Middle East and preparing for what comes next in terms of safety, bureaucracy and logistics. It’s going to be a great adventure the way I have it planed out!!! I have been getting some expert advise so that’s just perfect. I have also been clearing things off my “to do list” and I think I might soon have it completely cleared. 
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Now it’s up to me to watch some movies, read, go for long walks, sleep well, eat well and get ready for November 9th. What were you doing 4 years ago? I was 2 weeks into becoming the first man in history to visit every country in the world without flying. Had I known then what I know now then I would never have left. Good thing I didn’t know - huh? ;)
Let’s keep on keeping on!

Best regards
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - a little more rested
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon a Saga
Made by Kameli