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Pushing the boundaries of human potential – an interview with Jakub Muda

8000km in 8 months, from the Pacific Coast to the shores of the Atlantic across all Canada. This is the intention of 21 years old Jakub Muda. The journey begins on January 7th, 2015.

The 8000km Across Canada expedition will be held under Link to Poland’s media patronage.

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Where did you get this idea?

Unofficially everything began in 2012, when an idea came to light to travel across Canada. In that time a close friend of mine recommended a movie “Into the Wild” and this was the incentive which pushed me to go on a crazy adventure. Since then I have been wondering if it is worth to do so. My initial plan was actually to go to Spain and not Canada. I was planning to cover the St. James’s Trail to Santiago de Compostela, however, after few weeks I recognized that this route is too short, barely covering a 1000km. The current proposal of my route actually arose on February 18th 2014, now proving quite a significant date with many interesting things happening on this day!

I also discovered Terry Fox’s story. This is a story of a boy who covered 5373km despite having cancer and a prosthetic leg. Throughout Canada he is a national hero! His struggle and adventure is a really exciting read, which pushed me closer to my idea. I knew that, considering my personal goals it will be a challenging marathon for me too – an extremely severe route, cold winter, rains, summer heats and droughts. It´s a great way to address your problems and conquer your fears.

In 8 months time you are planning to cover 8000km – 42km each day. There is going to be different climate conditions, sometimes very extreme temperatures, how do you prepare for this journey? Do you train every day?

At the very beginning, in February, I was mainly focused on organization – determining the route, searching for equipment, creating the website. At this time I´d like to say a big thanks to new3Wdesign for a huge help and trust in realization of this project. Moreover, I was beginning to familiarize myself with other adventurers experiences and gather firsthand information about their trips to Antarctica, Mount Everest, Amazonia. This enabled me to gain knowledge of what solutions the others using when faced with problems on route and about what equipment and techniques they found useful.  I discovered plenty of useful information that would benefit me during my journey. Previously I would not have thought twice about certain items such as matches. Each item should be carefully thought about and analysed and its uses well known, so if the time comes it can be used as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Later, I began to train regularly – running, long distance walking, gym, trainings without/or with a little amount of water. I also trained at various times of day to prepare myself for the conditions that I could face during the trip.  At noon in full sun or during nighttime when you are very tired are also possible scenarios that I will have to become familiar with prior to my departure.

Alongside this I have established a contact with professionals who have helped me in preparations – dietician, instructors from Universal Survival, graphics, sponsors, media and many more.

When I gathered the majority of my equipment, I began to train whilst testing the equipment at the same time. I will not take anything which has not been inspected prior to departure and inform myself exactly how to use every element of the equipment and learn what I can do with it, outside of its original purpose. For example, I regularly organize longer trainings during which I practice erecting my tent in less than 3 minutes in every possible condition. No matter if it is windy, if I am tired or if my hands are cold, training and preparation is essential.  I also test if I have chosen the right flint to set the fire, a proper outfit for extreme weather conditions.  I could not be too precautious.

Since September I have returned to studies so my time has been limited. Considering this, I have managed to devise a plan that enables me to still train 3.5 days a week!

Current information about preparations for the journey are available at 8000km Across Canada, on Facebook and Google+

What are your plans in terms of food, resting, sleeping during the journey?

These are essential aspects to perfect during the trip to ensure I remain in my best condition throughout.  These things can be planned to some extent but will have to be analysed on a daily basis and is affected by things such as weather and terrain. There is always an unpredictable element. When I arrive in Victoria, British Columbia, I will spend 2 nights in a hotel, where I will carry out final preparations before beginning the journey. On the tour I will sleep in my tent but it is obvious that sometimes I will be tired or “be feeling down” so I will happily enjoy the hospitality of people I will meet on the road.  At times I may also use hostels, motels or guesthouses according to my needs and what is available. But mainly I will sleep in the tent. The trip crosses, in my opinion, the most beautiful country in the world so the sceneries are going to be magnificent – on the lake, plains, snowcapped mountains, through cornfields, through forests or even beside an ordinary road. My food plan is a very difficult aspect to design in great detail without the help of a dietician. I have to provide my body with as many calories as possible and choose carbohydrates, fats, sugars, meat, fruits and vitamins correctly, to prevent falling ill from exhaustion or deprivation. While travelling through the cities, I will begin with a sterling meal and of course stock up on necessities. I will buy mainly lyophilized food which is able to last for a long period of time, additionally meat for a shorter period, some fruits and whatever else I will be able to take. I am planning to have food supplies lasting for not more than 10 days, which is connected with a large distances between inhabited areas. As we know, Canada is second largest country in the world. The amount of indispensable food will be determined along route, based on the map. It is essential for me to calculate how much time it will take to cover a particular part of a route and what kinds of amenities I can find along the way.

Because the journey begins in the winter and ends in the autumn, preparing and organizing for every situation gives me a real headache! In winter there are different needs than in summer alike in terms of feeding, sleeping and other needs!

Will you have the supporting/technical crew who will accompany you on route and will help you if you are in need or will record the course of an expedition?

The idea of the Marathon assumes to cover a huge distance; Terry Fox decided to have a supporting crew and doctors watching him over. My mindset is to complete this venture alone so I will have to rely on my survival skills and awareness whilst exploring the Canadian wilderness. You have to prepare well to not end as a beers supper.

When it comes to documenting the trip, I will also have to rely on myself, my camera and my tripod. I hope that many interesting movies will be shot on route, so I invite you to follow the news on the internet.

On the project’s website we can read that you want to promote the idea of technological development and popularization of sciences by this journey, what does it mean? In what way will your journey be linked with this notion?

I link my future to chemistry and work within the Canadian Space Agency, which means that my life’s target is a flight into space. The promotion of sciences would be simultaneously linked to the promotion of my passion. Apart from it this, a little knowledge wouldn’t harm anyone! (laughter).

I wouldn’t like to reveal all the details of the trip but I hope that I will succeed in realizing it, so I invite you to follow the journey!

In accordance with the idea of Marathon of Hope, during these events there is an organized charity occasions and other happenings. Will that kind of events take place also during yours trip?

At first I am planning a World Heart Day and World Cancer Day as a reference to Terry Fox’s marathon, I hope that the surprise will happen; the organization of such an expedition and all events is quite difficult.

And what do you do every day except organizing the journey?

I study chemistry and mathematics in Montreal; I am a budding entrepreneur and avid adventurer. A person for whom nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible. Since childhood my greatest passions were astronomy and travelling and I know add chemistry to that list. My biggest goal in life is to work within the Canadian Space Agency, receive a Nobel Prize and fly into a space.

Have you been wondering what will you do after the trip so far? When you will achieve what you have planned, what will be the next goal?

I will have to finish my studies with a proper academic title. Thereafter I´d like to take part an astronaut training program, work within Canadian Space Agency, and when it comes to travelling, I would like my next journeys to be greater and more interesting than previous ones. I thought about cycling 25 000km (or maybe on foot???) through Panamerican Highway. This stretches from Alaska to Horn Cape. In the future I´d also like to visit both poles and Mount Everest. Assuming that each subsequent journey will be greater than the previous one, at one point there would be nothing to do on Earth so I have to fly into space (laughter).

 

You can follow the expedition on: 8000km Across Canada | FB |YouTube | Google+ | Pinterest | Flickr

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