|2004-07-29 - Last day in Magadan
Executing long and grueling expeditions is extremely stressful. Understandable if one considers the fact that one little mistake could mean that one will loose everything one has strived for or even loosing life as such. I dare say that an explorer ages 5 years per Expedition year accomplished. With a little quick calculation, that means I would be 58 years of age today. As a matter of fact, I feel like 58 at the present.
It was my turn to be tested by Dr Arkady Maximov today. My blood pressure was far too high. On top of that, my other results were pretty weak. (I had 26% too much fat, but I knew this….)
“If you had been a Russian explorer”, declared Dr Maximov, “I wouldn’t give you a clearance to go. I would have put you up for a week of rest in Magadan.”
Same story every time before leaving civilization. I’ve always been physically out of shape due to far too much work the last months before leaving, I suffer a constant heartburn and I have a high blood pressure. I know this. Still, hearing this once again during this examination, I have to say it is a nightmare for a hypochondriac. After having suffered quite a few of the deadly diseases to be found in Africa during 3½ years of exploring the continent, I’ve turned into a true hypochondriac. This is a person who’s totally committed to experiencing all deadly diseases to be found on earth at least a couple of times every day on an Expedition, well, in daily life at home in Sweden as well. At the present I am envisaging either a quick heart attack or a brain hemorrhage coming up! I do know though, that what is lacking is the daily routine of hard work, at a slow speed and a life not dominated by the evil watch.
We have no doubts about hard work coming up. But, I am still slightly surprised by the fact that how little people here in Magadan know about the Kolyma Region, even though they live a stones throw away. And they same surprise applies to the fact that absolutely nobody believes we will make it all the way to Cherskii/Ambarchik Bay by canoe and skies and survive that extreme winter which is waiting. Than again, I’ve always experienced this before an Expedition, people seem to have problems looking further than the length of their noses. And they consider everything further than that distance to be either scary or impossible.
I personally know that the only thing which can stop us making it all the way, won’t be neither the wild waters of Kolyma nor the extreme winter, it will no doubt be a health complication based on malaria, stomach cancer, high body levels of gluten and heartburn. Unfortunately, it turns out Johan is a hypochondriac as well. He’s got a sore throat today. Gee, what is that to brag about?