Other adventures

Out of some reason I have the need to explore my limits, maybe fueled by an urge to "know myself". No method is as good as travelling when it comes to get the opportunity to "meet yourself".

As a kid, to live two years in Sierra Leone in west africa was a great adventure. City life in Freetown seemed like a small confused kingdom looking for its identity among tribal traditions and a heritgae of colonialism. Mangos, bananas and poison snakes in the garden. Fires and singing just a stonethrow away in the huts of steelsheets and wood. One year in an international school with 11 nationalities where I got bullied for wearing slightly longer shorts than the others.

When 14, I went by train all through Europe with a two year older friend. Down towards Germany we were offered pink pills from a shady figure, but thougt of our worrying mothers and declined the offer. That was probably the most adventurous we experienced, after that it was a combination of trains, youth hostels and macdonald restaurants. In the picture we are raising our tent at Holyhead (Wales), which we found beeing a very gloomy place.

When 17 years old me and a friend decided to see if we could live as outcasts in nature. We equiped ourselves with old military clothing and set of into the swedish wilderness with an axe, a knife and five matches. We cheewed on roots, boiled netles, built windprotections and tried to keep the fire going during the freezing nights. We dreamt of food every night. In the end we had to steal a hen from a farmer in order to survive. We returned home after 3 days and nights - having lost 3 kilos of bodyweight.

When 20, I hitchhiked onboard yachts to the West indies. The boat I joined for the atlantic crossing was due to take part in the ARC atlantic rally - but was disqualified for beeing unseaworthy. I trusted the hull and the captain and stayed on since it was my "last chance" to reach the caribbean. I had to endure my most miserable christmas ever and on top of that I fell over board in the middle of the night and nearly lost my life.

Some years later I bought a 28 foot double ended sailingboat and sailed it with a girlfriend from Sweden to Venezuela and back. I thought I knew everything about bluewater sailing (my partner had only sailed 5 days at sea when we set of). We got very suprised while anchored in a river outside the Kielcanal when we noticed that the water was disappearing out at sea and our escape was blocked by a bridge. Biscay a few months later delivered us blood, capsize and panpan messages. After that we wer fine. I fantastic year alltogether.

River rafting fits my personality perfectly I realized when been placed in a two man raft down a level 4 rapid in the Domican republic. It demands of you so many quick decisions to not risk a capsize or end up in the wrong part of the rapid. Even better was the weeklong expedition to a remote Canadian river only rafted once before us. We were dropped of by a small amphibian plane and were outcasts for a week. Cautiosly exploring our way down the river. camps, fire, fishing and midgets. Adrenalin kicks followed by peaceful paddling along forests only inhabited by bears.

Once I backpacked through Asia with a small DV camera working for Swedish television. I started of down in the kakadua national park in the north of Australia. Visited east Timor right after the war hitchhiking with UN cars and helicopters.

In Indonesia I was accompanied by a young muslem girl being my guide - we hoped to find a tribe that actually lived in houses up in trees. We ended up with a tribe living on barges in a river instead, drinking tea and listening to koran reading. In Malaysia I was volontarily abandoned on an uninhabited island for three days. Birds took my food and I spent hours retreaving and opening coconuts.

During another journey I visited Thailand right after the tsunami. A good experience to see the forces of nature we seldom experience in Sweden.

I have spent lots of time in the Red sea, by the sinai shores of Egypt. Arabic culture I found much more agreeable than expected. Lying down slacker kind of restaurants, rockclimbing in the desert, doing yoga on a rooftop or more likley: under the surface on one breath. Freediving is my passion. I have set national records, held my breath for seven minutes, been down to 80 meters on one breath.
I have spent a month with a filmteam on the Azores islands in the midle of the Atlantic, trying to film spermwhales under water. These islands are filled with marine life, fueled by the upwelling currents creating an explosion of life. And on top of the food chain we find the spermwhale (now that humans are not killing them any more). At one point I found myself two meters away from a spermwhale eyeing me.
I seem to always return to Scotland. I have visited ininhabited islands in the hebredies, sailed along green hills with sheep, visited pubs while world cup soccer was playing, and now, during my last visit, climbing Ben Nevis (UK´s highest mountain) from the hard north side. A slippery crumbling experience filmed with headcam for swedish television.

One of my best jobs ever was following a filmteam round the world filming under water as a freediver was preparing for a world record. We filmed him freediving with Pelizzari in the Meditteranean, with sharks in Thailand, turtles in the Red sea, looking for mantas outside Hawaii, and in the end trying to reach 67 meters depth on one breath - breast stroking down and up. Stig Severinsen failed (close call) but it became a wonderful programme. I had to do repetative dives with camera down to 30 meters - risky and tiresome.

Probably the clearest lake in Sweden situated beneath a glacier close to the arctic circle. Our ambition was to reach the bottom on 40 meters depth on just one breath. Fingers fell numb, limbs frooze and the freezing consumed all our energy (and oxygen) and again and again we failed. Hugging the open fire every night trying to gain some boldness to try again the next day.

We were ten people who travelled to neighbouring Norway to search for a dolphin that over the years had been seen in a small coastal fishing harbour. We looked both above and below the surface for four days and on our last day we found him sleeping behind a fishing boat.

We went in and swam beside him. A peculiar meeting with a wild yet tame dolphin. We went home and few months later he died after spending nearly 30 years close to humans.

Sometimes adventure lands right on your doorstep in the form of stone throwing protesters. Having an EU summit and a visist from President Bush was not seen with happy eyes by some left wing people in my hometown. Actually most citizens in Gothenburg was not happy to have a "warmonger clan chief" being bowed to by our representatives. Some younger people got militant about it and seized control of streets and started fires and kept police at bay with rockhurling. Streetfights like these was unheard of in our country. As a filmer right inbetween police and militants, these days were some of the most intresting filmjobs I have ever done.

To spend 14 days in a house in the middle of a swedish wood might not sound so adventurous. But if it is an ashram built on strict traditional yoga principles it is quite a challenge. Silence, meditation, vegetarian food, few hours of sleep. Working in garden or kitchen and sometimes old tribal dnaces from all over the world. No written texts, no TV or internet and no mobil phones. I also spent some time here.
One of the most interesting journeys has been to the small eastafrican country Eritrea. My purpose was to find freediving talents and help with forming a first african team in freediving. It is of course mixed feelings to visit a country seen as a dictatorship by the outside world, but on the other hand a pleasure to see their determination in not repeating other african countries post-colonial mistakes. Their nationality is so strong that it keeps tribal and religious conflicts at bay. It will be interesting to see how this youngest nation of Africa will develop.
Follow the herring, I shout above the waves to Stig, the former world champion in freediving. I take a deep breath and leave the screaming gulls above the surface and venture down into the silence. It is in Norway, above the arctic circle. Down there, Killer whales are chasing herring into feeding balls. We are here to film it. If we stay with the panicing herring we will meet the orcas. I hang oround the edge of the herringball. The silvery fish part and an orca appear ready to strike with its fluke. It sees mee, opens its mouth and display a neat row of teeth. Glides by and disappear in the icy green waters- more
Himalaya was breathtaking in more than one sense. Not just those minutes at 6000 meter but the whole effort of getting there, through negotiationg officials and locals in Kathmandu, the provisioning, the no guide or guide book approach, the walk, every step, the aching body - all soothed out by the view around every corner, all these famous mountains, looming over, calling, luring - climb me. Low oxygen, climbing, next.

Project - the junk