There is always something to be grateful about - Hong Kong continued
Day 2,514 since October 10th 2013: 194 countries out of 203. No flight, no return home and min 24 hrs in each country
(The opinions expressed on this site are my own, and do not reflect the position or policies of the Danish Red Cross which I represent as a Goodwill Ambassador).
No matter what: remember to say thank you
Yeah...I think this will be a short one. It’s been another week of not leaving Hong Kong and letting my mind wonder.
Last weeks entry: Wayward is a pretty good word (another day in Hong Kong)
On the night I was born my father wrote a poem and had it framed the next day. I still have it and know every word. I was my parents first born and it was a long time ago. The poem ends in these words: “men uanset dit resultat så husk en tak til alle”. That loosely translates to: “no matter your results in life always remember to say thank you”. And I am grateful. I’m grateful to all the people all over the world who have helped bring the Saga this far. And to all the people who have made my unintentional long stay in Hong Kong so special and meaningful. I am also grateful to everyone who is trying to help me “escape this prison” during the management of Mr Covid-19. What a prison guard that fellow is!
Victoria Peak just before sunset.
I’m grateful to my friends who put up with me being away and being absent throughout their lives. And I’m grateful to the project group (Ann-Christina, Parth and Søren) for helping me build and manage Once Upon A Saga behind the scenes. The annual report for Once Upon A Saga Ivs, created by Tal & Tanker, was also recently approved by all board members. Everyone on that board has had an important impact on my life and helped create the man I am today (for better or worse). There is much that goes on behind the scenes of the Saga. I kept my apartment in Copenhagen and rented it out before I left. Over almost seven years it has had several tenants. They have all been kind and helpful. Can you imagine trying to rent out an apartment on the other side of the planet while trying to fight impossible red tape getting visas, board ships, crossing borders and battling with weak internet connections? Thankfully I’ve had lots of help from Home Connector which has saved my neck every time. The Saga is a low budget adventure and having the apartment empty for just a month is highly damaging to my economy. But so far it has worked out. There’s a really nice couple in the apartment now and they make life easy for me. For whatever reason the shower was suddenly only producing hot water while temperatures were soaring outside. Yes - Scandinavia can also produce high temperatures but nothing compared to the recent record they set at Furnace Creek, USA, 56.7 °C (134 °F). I don’t think many people are doubting climate change anymore. Personally I have observed or been told about extreme weather conditions almost everywhere I’ve been. But that’s a different subject for another time. My kind tenants took care of the broken regulator and all I need to do is cover the costs. I’m grateful for the help.
Here in Hong Kong I’m being treated really well. Companies, organizations, people...well what are companies and organizations if not people? And people are just people. I’ve had an ongoing collaboration with Discover Hong Kong which is operated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. More people. Some really kind ones too. The Sagas motto has always been ‘A stranger is a friend you’ve never met before’. How true is that! Very if you ask this man who is nine countries from reaching every country completely without flying. For that collaboration and all the others here in the Kong I am grateful too. Lately I have been contemplating creating a list of all the things we have accomplished while here and that list would be very long! Nobody would ever win a debate against me claiming the time here has not been spent well! And while I’ve been hiking, dealing with speaking engagements, discovering hidden gems, managing social media, meeting new people, hanging out with friend, promoting brands and much more...I have naturally also been working very hard at leaving wonderful Hong Kong. Because a top priority is to get home.
Hong Kong is 75% nature and 25% urban landscape.
“To travel is to live” is a well-known quote from a very famous Dane. Hans Christian Andersen was a very special man who is best known for his fairy tales which each uncover an aspect of life. His story called “The Ugly Duckling” was about himself. “To travel is to live” is certainly true! However so is waking up next to your loved one, raising your children, spending time with friends, dating, taking an education, doing your work well, helping a stranger, reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk, shopping for groceries, cooking, taking a nap, accomplishing goals or simply trying your best. “To travel is to live” is simply far catchier. If traveling is so great then why do more people not do it full time? Well most people are locked into a life they cannot escape...although that is a choice, albeit often a tough one. For those who can travel but state that it’s not possible to do so long-term due to money I say: you’re wrong. It does not need to be expensive and many places you can work along the way at hostels, farms or online to mention a few common ways. So why don’t we see people traveling beyond a year or two? There are many answers to that. One would be that people make plans and develop new priorities. And naturally there are stories of people who travel uninterrupted for years without end. However such people are rare. My take on it is that people don’t find pleasure in doing it long term. And my answer to why that is, may surprise many: it’s hard work. Applying for your first visa is an experience...applying for a visa again and again is trivial. And so is everything else. What stays true to me is meeting people and hearing their stories. That never gets old.
I hiked for three hours across a few mountains to see the Andersen Clan. I beat the rain and stayed dry until I got into the pool. Good to see Thomas, Natali, Lous and Josie. And thanks for the good food and enlightening conversations.
I am going out of my mind being stuck for this long with no clear idea how long it might continue. Just imagine yourself wanting to cross the road but the light stays red. Just a few minutes of that can drive you crazy. Now try dealing with more than 200 days while waiting for COVID-19 regulations you ease up. But not at home surrounded by familiar faces, your own language and everything you know. No, in a foreign land. And if I had all the time in the world then it perhaps wouldn’t matter. There is of course the looming threat that my visa would at some point not get extended and I would be deported. If I was deported then it would surely not be on a ship but on a plane. The project would be over. Almost seven years of work would be terminated. That is a real treat which is out of my control. However I deem it somewhat unlikely given the nature of the kind immigration here in Hong Kong. They have shown us a lot of support. A mental problem of mine is far harder to deal with. I want to make my fiancée my wife. I want to start a family with her. The Saga was calculated to take less than four years but has proven far more complicated and time consuming. Starting a family together is not something we can do twenty years from now. Perhaps it was too late for us last year? We cannot know...it’s biology and out of our control. Hopefully it will all work out but who can say? The remaining nine countries will take no less than ten months without flying and that only counts from the moment the Saga leaves Hong Kong. I love Hong Kong but I’m keen to escape. The mental torture lies within that I have a choice. If I wanted to, I could pack my bags and head to the airport. It’s only a decision away. So is continuing. Decisions. We all make them all the time. Which ones are the right ones? Time will show us. Another famous Dane was Søren Kierkegaard. He was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author. And this quote was by him: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”.
Lion Rock did not get it's name for no reason.
The other night I dreamt I was Jewish? More specifically I was a Maccabee, which was a group of Jewish rebel warriors who took control of Judea more than 2,000 years ago. Strange thing to dream about? I have a lot of Jewish friends though. The beard I had in my dream was much larger than the one I carry now. But in my dream, it was inspired by the beards of ancient Persia which you may see depicted as stone carvings in modern Iraq or present-day Iran. The mind works in mysterious ways. I have far less work these days and plenty of time to procrastinate. There isn’t much to do in Hong Kong right now due to COVID-19 restrictions although they may be easing up a bit starting today. I have three online speaking engagements lined up in the future: Lego, Cathay Pacific and Kilroy Travel. You’re all welcome to join the live session which is set to take place on September 14th during the 2020 KILROY Travel Festival.
I love nature!! Who could ever have guessed that my Salomon gear would be THIS MUCH in use? It was "just" a care package for the Lantau Trail back in May.
In last week’s entry I wrote it was the final chapter of the Ultimate Step Challenge HK. Yet it wasn’t. My feet are still not in an ideal condition but I’m fit and can go hiking. Long before we began the challenge, I announced that I would destroy my feet trying to reach half a million steps within a week. I hope I wasn’t right about that and that they will heal. Most things heal with time. However the new chapter is not about my feet. It’s about challenging three professional athletes to take a million steps within a week and hopefully raise some much-needed funds for the Red Cross. I picked three of my favourite Salomon athletes: Courtney Dauwalter (USA), Mira Rai (Nepal) and Kilian Jornet (Spain). They are super hardcore ultrarunners (among other disciplines) and I have come to learn a lot about them through Salomon TV on YouTube. It’s a great channel and I’ve been inspired in many ways by watching it (a lot of it). The videos also feature some great music which is now a part of my playlist. The Saga has been in a collaboration with Salomon ever since they learned that I have been wearing nothing but Salomon shoes since the Saga began. And now we are in the process of making a film about the Saga for the Salomon TV episodes. Really cool but that’s, like many things, on hold now. Anyway, Salomon is also in support of the Red Cross. They launched a limited-edition Golden Trail Series product range in support of COVID-19 relief donations for the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). And which should be well known by now: 24 wonderful people along with myself managed to raise over USD 10,000 for the Danish Red Cross a few weeks back by taking 6.3 million steps. So I came up with the idea to challenge those accomplished athletes. It may be well beyond my reach however if we don’t try then we will never know. So I’ve been tagging them on social media hoping that they will rise to the challenge. I honestly don’t know if they could possibly cover such a distance within a week? Intuitively you may think they could but it’s quite a challenge. And it could interfere with their training and what not. By my calculations it would be about 110 km (70 mi) per day for a week. A pretty tall order. However, just imagine if they did it?!? The American Red Cross, Nepali Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross could certainly use the money during these troublesome times. Yeah - so that was my idea. Salomon is in support of the Red Cross, I’m a goodwill ambassador of the Danish Red Cross, I’m affiliated with Salomon and so are those spectacular athletes. It’s a home run - isn’t it?
And so it becomes time to round up this entry. They always end up getting kind of long. I hope you enjoyed reading this one. And thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all!
If you enjoyed this blog or think I am doing a good job then you can support here below. The Saga needs funding. Thank you :)
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - Thank you.
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga