In 2017, I saw my best friend two times: Once was on a Greek Island vacation with friends riding scooters and snorkel diving and once for a packrafting weekend in Sweden. The reason: I spent the first half of 2017 on the other side of the globe studying environmental problems in China and the last half of 2017 Jesper was in Boston learning about among other things artificial intelligence. So, most of our friendship this year has been through the black mirror of the web. It has been a weird year. Though, I never felt a change in our friendship.
Last year was also the year we started this blog. Trying to describe, record and visualize our many experiences felt and learned on our adventures around the world. For me this has not been easy. Many places and emotions stand out, but the precise words needed to set the stage – to tell the story how I felt it – are constantly lost. Writing field notes are not an easy task. And so, I was close to giving up.
Luckily, I stumbled on some wise words, a quote by Yvon Chouinard that now won’t let go of me:
I’ve always chosen my climbing partners carefully, but in that two months wait at Fitzeroy, I learned that someone’s value to an expedition could largely be determined by their storytelling skills. Lingering on the details of distant events, describing and interpreting the natural setting, waiting as long as possible before saying the obvious – these skills are not frivolous. They delay the onset of insanity. They help stave off boredom. And boredom is what causes climbers to move on, to start climbing when it simply doesn’t make sense to do so. Imagine that: storytelling to save lives.
Yvon Chouinard, in his introduction to the book: Patagonia: Notes from the field
I can only agree with Yvon, though I have never done any climbing campaigns. But I have spend hours in the dark waiting for a bus on an Ugandian highway or paddling for days never to arrive at our destination. And in these moments the stories we could tell each other, made the hours endurable. But this is not only what storytelling can do as I found out this year. Flipping through my collection of pictures, trying to write about our adventures and remembering small details I thought I had forgotten, was creating a mini adventure on my own. With Jesper and I half a globe apart this felt good. So I feel like adding to Yvons words: Storytelling to save lives. And for a friendship long lived.