We had visions of blue islands and miniature orange fishes being carried away in the clouds by seagulls. We have seen in our dreams the sounds of tropical flowers and dry spices in the hands of transparent people. Could it be that we are insane, that we are some sort of lunatic shamans at the centre of the universe disguised as a woman, a man, a boy, and a girl?
We are so different from one another, like a trowel from a fiddle from a mushroom from a moth.
Ivo is full of energy, always hyper, always busy with something to do; talks fast and loud and constantly; full of crazy ideas and projects. He is one of those rare lateral thinkers and when faced with a strange unexpected situation comes up with the weirdest solution. As a child he used to spend the summer vacations at his grandparents’ rural Bulgarian village populated by old people and farm animals. And not a single friend to play with. Being a social creature, he had no choice but to become friends with the old people and play with the farm animals. Thus, at age eight, he had acquired the wisdom of an elder, convinced that Family and not the atom, is the most important inseparable particle in the universe, no matter what. He also realized, back then, that animals, unlike most humans, can be trusted, respected, and loved unconditionally.
Maya resembles Ivo a bit. Like him, she is always at the centre of every situation and hates to be alone. She has a “hug-meter” and when the meter is down, she announces: I need a hug, anyone? And we are always happy to help. She is full of energy and, at age nine, she knows exactly what she wants from life: short haircut, ethnic cotton pants (like the ones that people in India have), and to learn martial arts from master Ip in China. Many of her friends are adults and when you ask her, What do you want to be when you grow up, she will answer you, I think I want to be an artist. Truth is, she is one already. She has proudly accepted the fact that she is different in many ways from most kids her age. Music is as important to her as air and water. Her drawings and paintings often have a strange subjects and a very particular style. Her favourite painters are Botero and Archimbaldo. She is also a great performer. One day, she did a performance for me I still remember: laying on the living room floor on her back, very still, her arms close to her body, looking strait up, she slowly started to move her feet and hands without detaching them from the floor waiving them from side to side ever so gently. She did this for a few minutes with periods of absolute stillness, before explaining, she was a meadow.
Viktor is the opposite of Maya. He prefers to be alone and unnoticed, lost in his own world of a fifteen-year-old, which is mainly concerned with video games. The sad reality is that he is addicted to gaming and it is a serious problem I don’t really know how to deal with. It also entails difficulty of communicating with people. I hope that the complete change of lifestyle we are now undergoing will be a solution to this problem and am open to help in the form of advice and suggestions. I wish he had more interests related to “the real world”… He told me, he doesn’t want me to write much about him, as he prefers to remain “an enigma” for the readers of this blog and the rest of the world in general. So, all I will say about him now is that he is very tall smart guy with great sense of humour; loves all kinds of exotic foods with sushi at the top of his list, as he is obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture; and he even learned Japanese all by himself with the help of some i-pod application (and Japanese video games), which makes him four-lengual.
Me, I enjoy each rare moment of silence and solitude, a bit like Viktor. I am not very practical, I am more interested in the surreal, abstract, ephemeral, and magical, than the present or logical. I tend not to remember important things like dates or phone numbers, but would memorise a line from a book or a film or a poem. I am also a bit naive, easily impressed, and curious. I am most interested in interesting people and their stories as well as interesting places and their histories. I am not interested in the luxurious but rather in the authentic. Unfortunately, I am also very disorganised and tend to lose my time with all kinds of unimportant things, which drives Ivo crazy and could be explained with my fascination with anarchy. For example, I would play the piano, which was for a long time stationed in the kitchen, with a pile of dirty dishes behind me… And I don’t mind washing dishes, I enjoy doing it, I just felt like playing the piano instead. I probably need to take a class on Time Management and Accurate Prioritizing. In 2012 I have graduated from Concordia University, Montreal in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, major Photography, minor Spanish taking various classes in Art History and Painting as well. I wanted to learn Spanish in order to be able to read my favourite author Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Spanish. Thanks to my Spanish classes I also learned about Latin American history, geography, culture, politics, and literature, and I can’t wait to explore the region with my photo camera. I am passionate about various photographic practices and techniques, but most interested in social documentary photography and portraiture. In my work, I am looking at the world around me seeing it through my imagination.
The one thing the four of us have in common is a disorder. Many years ago, when Ivo and I were both eighteen, we would hitch-hike, bike, hike, take a bus or a train or even a plane (depending on our budget) in order to go to a place we have never been yet, or to escape from a place we didn’t want to be in any more. While hitch-hiking, we’ve been picked up by many strange transportations besides cars, among which: a donkey wagon, motorcycles, a garbage truck, and a convoy of mules led by gipsies in the Bulgarian mountains. In 1995, in a hostel somewhere in Slovakia, an ex-psychiatrist finally diagnosed us with Dromomania: a maniacal impulse for travelling, and we’ve been chronically and proudly sick ever since. The kids got this condition too or were probably born with it, and I think it might be contagious, as many of our friends, after spending time with us, got it as well.
All this could be the explanation for our team-driving carrier after immigrating in Canada from Bulgaria twelve years ago. We have been paid to travel in one of those big trucks everywhere in Canada and the United States, visiting canyons, volcanoes, beaches, deserts, mountains, and national parks along the way, most of the time accompanied by our two children. I could probably write a book about our travels by truck, the four of us in the small cabin with a bunk bed. But in this blog, I will write mostly about our travels by boat and our new way of life at sea.
This is our story as-we-go.