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            <<  Bratislava, 05-Dec-2012  >>

Leaving Ithaca

The last hours in Bratislava, emptying my flat, packing all my stuff into 80L backpack, last minute hurry and panic and (un)ready steady, GO!

These are the first lines of my Odyssey,
and the last lines written in Bratislava (well, at least for some time...).

I'm leaving Ithaca. May Zeus and Poseidon bless my voyage, may seas be serene and winds swift and steady and may Poseidon have mercy on me, if along the way I kill some of his sons – Cyclops – for man knows not where his destiny takes him until he is there.

[This part below was obviously written retrospectively in India]
OK, I admit it: Maybe I should not have been partying so much before my departure and maybe I should have focused on getting ready for the departure itself instead.

Although I had been really looking forward to enjoy my comfortable bed in my apartment for the very last time on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, I successfully managed to avoid this pleasure by being totally out of time, and having so many things left to do to be able to leave, I simply didn't sleep at all.

As special bonus, wrath of the titans was casted upon me just in time - in form of snow all over Slovakia and Czech Republic - and so the ride to Prague on the legendary D1 highway from Bratislava to Prague will be a real nightmare. And to add just little bit more panic into everything, Jirka - who is supposed to drive me to Prague - is probably more nervous than me and he can't fall asleep, even if has nothing to do (but to be nervous about my departure). And so all through the night we keep on messaging each other via Facebook how the hell are we going to get to Prague!?

It's 4:30, I'm finishing the last things to do in total hurry and panic . Guess what was the last thing that I still managed to do: shave my head. Jirka finally managed to sleep at least for 2 hours, and as it's really time to go, so I call him to pick me up.

5:35 a.m. I'm leaving my apartment with my new 2 best friends and companions: 80 liter backpack weighting 23kg and my camera/lens/other photo crap weighting ridiculous 8kg.
Everything goes into Jirka’s BMW and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

[End of part written retrospectively in India]

Beyond the horizon
there lies: Everything.
The Ocean,
ancient monsters, mermaids and sirens,
sacred temples, shrines and pagan sacrificial sites,
late night drinking holes and brothels,
most immaculate saintly virgins, women in bloom, fallen whores,
barrels of rum, opium dens,
forbidden pleasures donated to mankind by Roman empire,
blue skies and greenest green of misty pastures,
tequila sunrises hovering over the open ocean,
carnivals and gatherings of grief and lament,
heroes and villains,
‘angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to starry dynamo in the machinery of night’*.
Beyond the horizon there lies Life.
And the horizon starts right here, at my doorstep.

*from The Howl by Allen Ginsberg

If you’re wondering about what I packed for this journey of potentially unlimited time, well, I can tell you exactly – I made the list:

80 liter backpack
4x trekking (so called functional) T-shirts
2x trekking sweaters (my only sweaters)
2x trekking shorts (if you’re wondering why all this trekking crap, well, it’s lightweight, it’s easy to clean, never needs ironing and wears great)
Trekking long trousers
Ultra-light trekking jacket
Light windstopper jacket
2x trekking towel (1 small, 1 large)
Warm underwear trousers (I’m getting ready for Nepal)
Face mask (I not what you’re thinking, but NO, I’m not taking this for robbing banks, but for head/face protection in cold weather, especially during sleeping)
2x swimsuit
Lycra shirt for surfing (hell yeah!)
‘Sex wax’ surfing wax (no, this really cannot be used for adult games which are on your dirty mind!)
Rain poncho (which should survive even heaviest monsoon)
Winter gloves
Winter cap
Sarong (which can be used as sarong/skirt, cloth, beach towel, etc.)
Hawaiian shirt
Indian shirt (yes, I AM bringing Indian shirt to India, so what?)
Flip flops
Goratex trekking shoes (and my only shoes)
8x underwear
10x socks
2x shorts (one Thai, one normal)
7x T-shirts
Long-sleeve T-shirt
Lumberjack shirt (yeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaw!)
Baseball cap
5m of laundry rope (suitable for... ehm, something)
Pack of thin rope
Swiss army knife
Folding plastic bowl for eating
Waterproof plastic document case
Around 2 000kg of medicine (I packed medicine for every disease recorded in human species since 1500AD; seriously 1/4 of my backpack is some stupid chemistry)
Water purification drops and special water filtering straw
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Nivea J
Shower gel
2x cases of contact lenses, 1 case of daily contact lenses
Contact lenses solution
Lip balm
Around 200g of washing powder
Chemopren glue (which actually did not survive Turkish Airlines and I’m glad that I had packed it into 3 plastic bags, otherwise everything else would be neatly glued together)
Mosquito net
Knee support
Tent (super lightweight cool tent which I bought in USA)
Sleeping bag for 0‘C
Self inflating sleeping mat (yes „mat“, not „maid“)
Harmonica (I wish it was guitar) :-((((((
India Lonely Planet
Printouts of my airplane tickets
2x passports (yes I do have 2)
EU and international driving license
International vaccination document
Some EUR cash
Credit and debit cards
Half empty pack of beedees and a lighter
Notebook (I mean paper notebook for writing)
6 (damn it!) books which I will throw away as I read them
Electric all-to-all adapter
Chargers (iPhone, camera, computer)
iPod with earphones
USB drive
Lenovo E135 Thinkpad (donated for this trip by Jirka, Brano, Roman, Peter, Marian, Robo, Laco, Martin – BIG THANKS!)
2x external HDD (one of them donated for this trip by Jirka, Brano, Roman, Peter, Marian, Robo, Laco, Martin – BIG THANKS!)
Kindle e-book reader (donated for this trip by my parents, thanks!)
Water resistant matches (donated for this trip by Petr and Darina, thanks!)
Compass (donated for this trip by Petr and Darina, thanks!)
Thai long trousers (donated for this trip by Durci and Lucka, thanks!)
Whistle (donated for this trip by Kubo, thanks!)
Pack of condoms (donated for this trip by Igor/VUB, thanks!)
Vitamins (donated for this trip by Samo and Janka, thanks!)
Roll of toilet paper and 3 packs of handkerchiefs (donated for this trip by Samo and Janka, thanks!)
And probably few other things which I forgot to write down.

And now, the photo equipment:
Special camera backpack (which I’m using as front-pack)
Canon 5D camera
Canon 50mm f/1,8 lens, Canon 24-105mm f/4L lens, Canon 70-200mm f/4L lens, Canon 1,4L teleconvertor
Macro tubes
Canon Speedlight external flash
100 GB of CF cards combined
Gorilla tripod
Card reader

A long list isn’t it?
Well, try to pack yourself for a life and we’ll see. I hope I will start throwing some things away soon (especially the books!).

Click for photo gallery

     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak