“Absolutely inaccessible by fair means!”  Albert F. Mummery

A boat and a man go across Europe

On the rivers of the Old Continent to take man back to nature, nature back to man, man back to man. For a New man.

The questions. Can we continue to “use” the Earth without limits, without sense? Can we continue to destroy, consume, throw away? Is a “sustainable” life possible? Are conferences, campaigns, grapevines on the internet enough?
Is there not perhaps a need for a simple yet epic gesture? A new and ancient gesture?

The facts and figures.
5,200 kilometres, 6 months on a rowing boat, day and night, 1 million oar strokes on the Rhine and Danube from the English Channel to the Black Sea. And to help him across 15 countries from London to Istanbul, and passing through Italy (boat launch), England, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania,  Bulgaria, Moldavia, Ukraine and Turkey, there will only be the wind and a sail. All of this not for a sporting achievement but to build a new relationship with nature, water and rivers.

It is the feat of 44 year old Giacomo De Stefano, born in Asti but Venetian by adoption. He is more than just an environmentalist. He defines himself as a “new world traveller”. The miracle of the feat is written in the budget: 0 euro. It is centred on a “gift economy”, cost-free. Private businesses, friends, partners: they are working with him, providing him with tools and ideas; they are creating conditions to make possible something exceptional.

Man on the river. In April, “Man on the River” will begin in London. Six months in a rowing boat, using only his arms, the arms of a man who describes a new humanism, beyond the technology of engines with a thousand horse-power.

European riversWhy “Man on the River”?

For centuries, rivers have been the principal thoroughfares for linking civilisations, and of supplying water to human communities. It is no coincidence that almost all major cities have grown on the banks of a river. Today, most waterways are left to themselves, favouring other forms of polluting and costly transport and, worse, dumping both urban and industrial waste and sewage into the rivers, bringing a slow death upon river life.

With “Man on the River” Giacomo wants to give centrality back to the rivers that flow through Europe: beginning in the Thames, he will cross the English Channel, follow the French canals to Strasbourg, then enter the Rhine up to Nürnberg; he will then enter the Danube, crossing Vienna, Bratislava and Belgrade until he reaches the Black Sea. From there on to Istanbul for an expected total duration of five months.

In the wake of his boat he will also try to trace life in a new world, the way to new economic opportunities, a form of tourism which is more respectful and sustainable. Demonstrating that not only can one travel with little and respect nature but that this form of tourism is immensely more emotionally-rich and satisfying.

Change if you can. “Man on the River”: a journey across the heart of Europe, a green heart that is searching to destroy a black and polluted heart, with the cry “Change if you can”.

Could it be the original and alluring European version of the American “Change”?

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32 Responses to “The Project”

  1. stephan says:

    My hat is taken off to you, I have been planing a similar adventure, but decided to take a longer trip and make a larger boat, please keep in touch, would like to help, have you any stages not yet covered with helpers, Regards Steph

  2. [...] eruptions, giant landslides and tsunamis may become more frequent as global warming changes…The ProjectCan we continue to use the Earth without limits, without sense? Can we continue to … launch), [...]

  3. Giacomo says:

    Thank you Stephan I am very glad to share every project. All my best CUL

  4. Duncan Disorderly says:

    You’ve read The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow I pressume?!

  5. Giacomo says:

    Yes, of course. He inspired me so much! By Duncan

  6. Gabriella says:

    Bravo Giacomo, ti ammiro oggi più che mai, per il coraggio di voler dimostrare che anche in questo mondo fatto di consumi, ‘vivere con meno si può’. Perchè il ‘meno ‘ materiale corrisponde a un ‘più’ spirituale, interiore, che solo le anime belle come la tua possono apprezzare.
    Ti auguro un viaggio pieno di cose belle, sul fiume e nella vita..

  7. Giacomo says:

    Grazie Gabriella. Trooppo. Un abbraccio e a presto

  8. Apprezzo molto l’iniziativa, pro-ambientale, siete veramente grandi !

    Il sistema culturale basato sul consumismo effettivamente ha bisogno di una sterzata, ma comunque non potremo tornare in dietro, siamo viziati !

    Comunque se l’aspettativa di vita si è allungata significa che il progressismo ha anche i suoi lati positivi.

    Anche io ho fatto un k2k americano in bici per incontrare Steven Spielberg e proporgli un film per la tutela dell’ambiente: THE GREEN WAR. Il tentativo falli… ma non è ancora finita !

    Comunque avete del fegato a fare ciò che avete intenzione di fare…
    Se potete, mettete una mappa sul’itinerario, voglio incontrarvi !

    In bocca al lupo… ops in becco all’aquila !

  9. Giacomo–

    You are a poet, and your poetry is your journey. Thank you for sharing your journey, your words, your film—showing us what it means to live a life of dreams
    and reminding us that there is so much beauty in our lives!

    Cheers to you and your companions!


  10. Giacomo says:

    thank you Michi, your words are too beautiful.
    A big big hug. How are you??

  11. The Bomber says:

    I love the fact, the gesture, the journey. Brilliant.

    But: 0 Euros? Come off it! You’re surrounded by/supported by DONORS.

    A real donor kebab…..

  12. Giacomo says:

    Real donor Kebab yes, that’s nice! Anyway, gift economy is called. It works if you are ready to give before asking.
    Come with us and you will see.
    Grande Bomber

  13. The Bomber says:

    Thanks Giacomo: I do, heartily, approve of your trip and its raison d’etre. Strength to you all and may you travel safely!

    Bon voyage!

  14. Giacomo says:

    Grazie ragazzi!!

  15. I hope you find the freedom you seek, I for one wish you luck, fair winds, and smooth waters, you are venturing on a quest that few are brave enough to even contemplate, myself included, Sail free Giacomo

  16. Giacomo says:

    Thank you Graeme Beautiful and inspiring words. Be water my friend

  17. Otes Boye says:

    Bravo Giacomo, ti ammiro oggi più che mai, per il coraggio di voler dimostrare che anche in questo mondo fatto di consumi, ‘vivere con meno si può’. Perchè il ‘meno ‘ materiale corrisponde a un ‘più’ spirituale, interiore, che solo le anime belle come la tua possono apprezzare.Ti auguro un viaggio pieno di cose belle, sul fiume e nella vita..

  18. edwin kolkman says:

    Giacomo and Jacopo

    wonderful ! Your project is more than just a trip. It’s something with a mission. Through the website wich i’m visiting since a while I have to smile. A very very nice spirit. I’ sure this spirit wil keep you going. With this spirit you’ve met nice people , saw some sailing spots, met a virus, So lots of oppurtunitys to deal and to work with the spirit wich is calling ” life”. So I wish you strenght to recover and go on with the trip. To forfill a dream everybody has to do that, but your journey is so close to reality. You are already very succesful, so no doubt the spirit will lead you to the next day.


    ps. your Eun Mara looks very nice as well.

  19. Man on the River says:

    Thank you Edwin, and Otes.
    Hope to meet you one day and sail together.

    All my best and a big hug

  20. Jeff Carlton says:

    Dear Giacomo, my search for the best rowing and sailing boat has lead me to the Ness Yawl and now to you. I sailed/rowed/camped some years ago and that has been a highlight of my life. I am so excited about your journey!

    I am at a point where I need a lifestyle change. In my Pacific Seacraft, I sit around, and drink beer. I want to get healthy again. I want a boat that takes effort. I will search your earlier blog for commments on the NY. That you are using it again speaks volumes of its worthiness. I look forward to following your journey. Jeff

  21. Giacomo says:

    Thank you Jeff, take care

  22. Thank you for visiting us today to learn about our work – we hope you will enjoy your travel along our protected area! Break a leg for your further journey! The Nationalpark Donau-Auen Team

  23. Tim Bell says:

    Watching with interest you journey, your films, logs, and links,
    how many would love to do what you are doing, but don’t have the courage!

    May the tide be with you, my passing friend, good luck!

  24. toni says:

    great and inspiring.
    have you read about Satish Kumar? he walked delhi-moscow-paris at zero budget. relying in humans. consider reading his books.”you are therefore i am” is one of them.

  25. Marco says:

    Hello Giacomo, it was really nice to meet you today. Good luck with your trip and I will see you soon, maybe on board. Marco (Verona)

  26. Radomir Trajkovic says:

    Giacomo, nice to meet you and ihope i help you with informations of The Nationalpark Donau-Auen . I wish you ” Fair winds and following sea’s” with our song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL26By2TXkE

  27. Marino says:

    sarei interessato alle caratteristiche ideali di una piccola imbarcazione (esempio leggerezza, deriva mobile, prestazione veliche minime, posibilita’ di voga ), che dalla tua esperienza sarebbero importanti per ripetere / anche in forma ridotta la tua performance rendendola il meno possibile impegnativa tecnicamente e fisicamente.
    Ne esiste gia’ qualcuna in commercio o pensi sia da far realizzare
    artigianalmente ?
    Cordialmente marino

  28. Giacomo says:

    Caro Marino,

    Scusa se ti rispondo solo ora. Leggo solo ora tuo messaggio.
    A parte il Ness Yawl, e simili, che rimane barca perfetta, ne ho vista una che sicuramente è più leggera. E ci puoi dormire dentro. Si chiama Canotka, la costruisce Paul Vassiliu a Tulcea in Romania. È 4,90 per 87 cm di larghezza. Pesa 40 o 50 kg. A seconda del legno. E in strip planking rivestita in fibra indistruttibile e senza manutenzione, e bellissima.
    Puoi vogarla, pagaiarla etc. Mettere una piccola vela e derive mobili laterale è facilissimo. Costa poco. Il modello base 1700 euro circa esclusa Iva.
    Se dovessi rifare il viaggio userei quella. Sta anche sul tetto di qualsiasi auto. Il Ness yawl ti da più sicurezza in mare. Chiaro.
    Ma aspettando il tempo giusto la Canotka è anche più sicura perché stando vicino a riva è facilissima da spiaggiare. Il Ness carico pesa più di 200 kg.

    Sul post Ciò be’ amo e ciò che odio trovi il suo sito. Se no ti do suo numero . Suo figlio parla inglese bene. Fagli il mio nome che mi ha aiutato tanto e sara felice.

    Un abbraccio e buon vento

  29. [...] But the way 44-year-old de Stefano decided to raise awareness about this precious resource — traversing Europe in a wooden sailboat, with no budget and  no deadline — has earned him international acclaim over the course of his seventeen-month trip. Green [...]

  30. [...] But the way 44-year-old de Stefano decided to raise awareness about this precious resource —traversing Europe in a wooden sailboat, with no budget and  no deadline — has earned him international acclaim over the course of his seventeen-month trip. Green [...]

  31. laura says:

    You are committed in a Great endeavour . Good to learn that You finally met the ideas of Renzo Franzin , One of the contemporary fathers of the Culture of Water in Our Country. Keep on going. We’ll sustain You.

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