Previously on “Man on the River”: Giacomo De Stefano, documentarist and traveller, undertakes a new endeavour: Rowing and sailing through the waterways connecting London to Istanbul, to get attention on the poor conditions of rivers, that could become a valuable resource by developing local economies and sustainable tourism. Many friends help him, from boatbuilding to the official departure on April 2010. After a month of navigation along the Thames and the Northern Sea, Giacomo is forced to stop on the wake of crossing the English Channel, due to a sudden illness.
After receiving first aid in England, he’s recovered to Venice’s Hospital where he fights a pneumonia virus that could have been deathly. Won this battle, Giacomo spends the last months in an effort to regain his physical strength, in order to set sails from where he left last year.
Beloved travellers of the rivers, of the seas
and of life, I am back!
My body has forced me to stop for months, except for a few occasional escapades aboard a traditional “Mascareta” up and down to Venice, to deliver zero impact veggies grown by my dear friend Federico and his dad Marco. I’m still not at my best: The doctors are not happy about my decision to set sails once more, but I feel fine.
This journey is different from my previous ones: It’s an experience that I’ve shared with many others and that maybe someone else could get done. I can’t say I wouldn’t be over the moon to row all the way to Istanbul: I’ll spend all my energy, love and passion to make it. However, as I’ve learned last year, things could have changed.
We are moving to a world where the absolute ego does not dominate anymore: The new driving force is the word “Us”, that brought me such a long way both in my life and in this Man on the River adventure. So, I now have to consider the opportunity to share the journey, should I have to stop again.
I’ve spent a lot of thinking about that. I’m not interested, not anymore, to be remembered as “the Man on the River”, the single individual that has rowed so many rivers and miles, meeting lots of people along the way.
I wish that many Men on the River could share the commitment about this journey and future ones: to dream and make dreams real. To care about others, about life and lives.
I’m not a performer. My goal is not arriving, but walking and sailing well in this life, bearing in mind the planet that I share. And to do that, I’m ready to take my risks, as many people do in these very hard times for the entire world.
I travel for me and for all those who “travel”, forced to run away from other men. I know that they don’t feel the same pleasure as I do: If they could, they wouldn’t move.
I see the damages caused by men that cared just for themselves, building empires and monuments. Sooner or later people open their eyes and make them fall, badly, causing further ruins and despair.
I can see a meaning only in sharing actions, with commitment and attention.
If the guys from Eden Exit didn’t help me, if Lago didn’t give me the opportunity to build Clodia, I wouldn’t be here. If John, Lena, Bob, Vitaliano, Sandro, Marco, Giuseppe, Marisa, Stefania, Silvio, Nicola, Paolo, Daniele, Lory, Roland, Claudio, Luca, Massimo, Pati, Malcolm, Paolo, Phyllis, Padri, Michael, Nicolò, Diana, Jacopo, Harry, Earl, Guy and many others didn’t support me I wouldn’t be here and the journey would never had begun.
I wish to set sails by the end of April, from the Albert Bridge in London, because I feel it’s important: A friend invited me to restart from there and I know he would be glad.
Along the way, in Faversham, I would be happy to help my friends from Historic Quay in defending from speculators, then return to Ramsgate and thank once more Pat and Ian who saved my life, and drink a good tea made by Corby. And then crossing the cannel, slowly.
This year my travel companion will be Bruno Porto, a great friend and skipper from Brazil. A great gift as Jacopo was last year.
What about Jacopo? This year he won’t be able follow me all along the way, but he’ll surely be aboard at some stage. He’s a great man.
This year we’ll also get ground support from Josephine Schaumburg that will take care of blogging and videoblogging from a different point of view. A great novelty that enriches our project.
What else can I say… Let me work over Clodia that is still sleeping in a stable with her fellow horses, in Essex.
Then I’ll take water and set to Istanbul, we’ll set to Istanbul together enjoying every single moment along the way.
Just a little plea. Last year we had problem with an issue that got more complicated than expected: feeding. Giacomo and friends just have basic needs and we’d be grateful to everyone than could provide even just a meal or a place to stay overnight in case of bad weather conditions. This would be a great way to contribute to our project.
Let’s call it Gift Economy. Fair winds.
A note from the team: Shortly you’ll find on the right colum of this website a “call for entries” banner. It will take you to an application form for requests about coming aboard with Giacomo for a few days. Due to the large amount of appliers and too little available room, this year we decided to make a selection, picking at first those people who can contribute in various ways to the project. If you feel that your presence would be important for a reason (culture, science, ethic, politic, sport, journalism or anything else) please write it in the application form and we’ll carefully consider it. Also, it will be quite important to know if you have a story to tell: Man on the River is all about stories. The team members will review every position, however the final decision will be taken by Giacomo.