Our minds work better when we are relaxed. Imagine how many ideas you can come up with after one whole year of just relaxing? Many people are afraid of doing a gap year and to “leave everything behind”, but in reality a gap year is nothing, only about 1.2% of an average person’s lifespan.
Iga and Andzej, Polish climbing champions, are a couple who decided to travel to all their dream climbing spots around Europe with just a van and the basics to get by. Their wedding was the starting point of their year long adventure.
For Polish readers who are interested in climbing, visit Iga and Andrzej’s blog for some inspiration: www.green-pace.com
What made you decide to start this one year climbing trip?
There was not any trigger moment that made us explode with the idea, it was rather a growing idea which stuck to us since the time we started going out. There were a couple of important moments that determined our decision the most: Andrzej’s serious injury that made him realize life is too short to delay your passions. Also moving out and living in Warsaw for two years; for climbers and mountain lovers it came out that living in a total flat area with no mountains around is just unbearable. We both also had some doubts about our career prospects (despite our jobs were really good) which helped us to move out from Warsaw with no regrets. And, what might be the most important thing – we did not have to persuade each other as we are a couple of nature and non-consuming life lovers who fulfilled their strongest dream about living free with no time pressure.
Weren’t you afraid to leave everything behind?
Of course we were, and during the time we had “the being afraid factor” we could not decide about the gap year. As soon as we stopped treating this “leaving all behind” as something to worry about, everything got surprisingly easy! We actually did not leave all behind, we just changed some things that opened many new opportunities for doing things we really enjoy.
What are some aspects of life that this trip has taught you?
About this we could write quite a long essay. This is the most personal question from all above. Each of us has their own lessons learned and some new thoughts about things. For sure, the most precious for us is experiencing “the less you have the more you have”. We had packed into boxes so many things before we left and now they are in our parents’ attic, forgotten and full of dust. We now know we do not really need many things for living and we can easily fit them in volkswagen T4. This trip has also taught us not to take things too seriously as it destroys your nerves rather than helping you to achieve your goals. We have also learned some languages, get to know more about other cultures and people, we are way better cooks and we know more climbing spots that we could ever imagine!
What was the oddest things that happened to you during the trip?
One very ODDS thing that comes into our mind is a hammam experience in Morocco. Just after parking in Meknes we asked the owner of the parking whether he knows where to take a shower. He assured us that he knows a perfect spot for a shower and he took us to that place. As soon as we arrived there we realized that it was not just a shower and that we would have to take a part of the arabic ritual hammam which was totally unexpected for us. Iga chickened out and with tears on her face she simply left the sauna where there were around 50 women massaging each other with maroccan cosmetics (which smelled very specific). Andrzej was the braver one and after having a cultural shock he took the bucket he was given before entering the hammam and he took “the shower” as the only european guy in the huge sauna full of moroccan man. In general, taking a shower was quite a challenge during our trip, especially during cold or windy days and nights. It was always an adventure taking a freezing cold bath using a public beach shower in a very turistic place or jumping into a mountain river which had no more than 8 degrees…unforgettable memories…