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A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.

- John James Audubon

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Adventure Travel

Jun 18, 2018

Meet Alex and Cindy: In Search of “Perfect Spots and Freedom”

Meet a kitesurfing nomadic couple who live and travel in their van, in search of happiness and ultimate freedom.

WRITTEN BY

Alex and Cindy

The Outdoor Journal had the chance to catch up with Alex and Cindy and ask them a few questions. But before then, if you haven’t met this awesome couple before, make sure you check out their own little video intro below:

How did this happen? How did a guy and girl from France end up living the lives that you do? What led you to this amazing adventure?

It was quite natural in fact, we had a van, and like many people we used to go away for weekends or our holidays. Alex participated in quite a few kitesurfing competitions and we also used the van for that. And then we had done a lot of seasons on the southwest coast of France to escape the winter. This often transformed into a trip of 3 to 6 months. Living this part of the year in our van, the return was sometimes difficult 🙂 So, why not try a full year? We let go of our apartment, and more or less overnight, we did it. 

It’s now been more than 4 years since we’ve been living in our Van and it’s rather nice…

Describe kitesurfing, what does it mean to you when you’re out on the water?

Kitesurfing is possibly, for us, the perfect equation between sport and adventure. Most athletes often train around the same spots, or along a sandbank to achieve their tricks, without ever considering that they have, between their hands, an incredible tool of exploration. We can travel at good speeds serious distances, and go where boats cannot. We can also fly, and that’s magic. So what does this mean? Freedom, maybe, a great tool to escape.

What has been the highlight of your adventure so far?

We try to tell ourselves that we still have time to arrive at the culmination of all this. However, perhaps in secret, the goal is to never reach it, but to always find new things to discover or imagine. However, to try and answer the question, when we find places like the Mauritanian desert, right next to a world class kite spot, there we told ourselves that we found a little piece of paradise. “Sure, there must be another place even better just a little further, so let’s go, to the next stage “, and off we go! 🙂

If you could let yourself dream, which places would you travel to over the next year?

We have a couple of projects in our minds, maybe many. We would like particularly to find virgin places, not necessarily that no-one is aware of, at the very least that no-one has really explored fully. That’s why nothing is ever 100% defined, but we would like to explore European coasts. Around Greece of course, but also Nordic countries which make us dream, their wild coasts full of history. That’s why, at the end of June, we’ll change the entire setup of our small home on wheels, to be best prepared for all conditions.

What plans do you have for the future? Is this a pursuit that you will follow forever?

Honestly, we only plan for the short term, because almost anything can happen. We work a little bit in the kite world, as riders for a brand called Zeeko-kites, but, budgets are small in this industry, so we continue little by little. Apart from this financial aspect, our plans made for always evolving, which we explore based on our ideas.

What advice would you give to people who live the rat race? Who work from 9 till 5 day in, day out, but dream of doing something different and following their dreams like you have done?

If I were to tell everyone to give up everything and just go for it, that would be far too radical and would certainly stop the vast majority of people. But at least try to detach oneself from all these “needs” and these “rules” from time to time would be a good thing. To live a little more simply reveals itself to be an easy and rewarding thing, we find in it many advantages, we see life in another way, people, and all that is around us.

We do not tell anyone to cut themselves off from the world, we would be poorly placed ourselves. One of our goals is to film, photograph, and share our journey on the internet and be followed. But in any case, the less we attach ourselves to things that seem in the beginning indispensable, the more we are better off.

So, we have chosen to live like this, we do not regret it at all, we see new things every day, do not believe in politicians who sell dreams on television, they will certainly not change our lives, the only ones who can, are you and us.

 

You can watch all of Alex and Cindy’s videos on The Outdoor Journal YouTube Page. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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Adventure Travel

Jul 31, 2018

Kayaking’s Elite Return to India at the Malabar River Festival

During the week of July 18th to 22nd, the Malabar River Festival returned to Kerala, India with one of the biggest cash prizes in whitewater kayaking in the world.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

A $20,000 purse attracted some of the world’s best kayakers to the region for an epic week battling it out on some of India’s best whitewater.

The kayaking events at Malabar River Festival were held on the Kuttiyadi River, Chalippuzha River, and the Iruvajippuzha River, in South India on the Malabar Coast. The festival was founded and organized by Manik Taneja and Jacopo Nordera of GoodWave Adventures, the first whitewater kayaking school in South India.

Photo: Akash Sharma

“Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there”

One of the goals of the festival is to promote whitewater kayaking in the state of Kerala and encourage locals to get into the sport. One of the event organizers, Vaijayanthi Bhat, feels that the festival plays a large part in promoting the sport within the community.  “The kayak community is building up through the Malabar Festival. Quite a few people are picking up kayaking… It starts with people watching the event and getting curious.  GoodWave Adventures are teaching the locals.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

Vaijayanthi is not lying when she says the kayak community is starting to build up.  In addition to the pro category, this year’s Malabar Festival hosted an intermediate competition specifically designed for local kayakers. The intermediate competition saw a huge turnout of 22 competitors in the men’s category and 9 competitors in the women’s category. Even the professional kayakers who traveled across the world to compete at the festival were impressed with the talent shown by the local kayakers. Mike Dawson of New Zealand, and the winner of the men’s pro competition had nothing but good things to say about the local kayakers. “I have so much respect for the local kayakers. I was stoked to see huge improvements from these guys since I met them in 2015. It was cool to see them ripping up the rivers and also just trying to hang out and ask as many questions about how to improve their paddling. It was awesome to watch them racing and making it through the rounds. Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

 

“It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake”

Vaijayanthi says the festival has future goals of being named a world championship.  In order to do this, they have to attract world class kayakers to the event.  With names like Dane Jackson, Nouria Newman, Nicole Mansfield, Mike Dawson, and Gerd Serrasolses coming out for the pro competition, it already seems like they are doing a good job of working toward that goal! The pro competition was composed of four different kayaking events- boatercross, freestyle, slalom, and a superfinal race down a technical rapid. “The Finals of the extreme racing held on the Malabar Express was the favourite event for me. It was an epic rapid to race down. 90 seconds of continuous whitewater with a decent flow. It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake.” says Dawson.

Photo: Akash Sharma

The impressive amount of prize money wasn’t the only thing that lured these big name kayakers to Kerala for the festival. Many of the kayakers have stayed in South India after the event ended to explore the rivers in the region. With numerous unexplored jungle rivers, the possibilities for exploratory kayaking are seemingly endless. Dawson knows the exploratory nature of the region well.  “I’ve been to the Malabar River Fest in 2015. I loved it then, and that’s why I’ve been so keen to come back. Kerala is an amazing region for kayaking. In the rainy season there is so much water, and because the state has tons of mountains close to the sea it means that there’s a lot of exploring and sections that are around. It’s a unique kind of paddling, with the rivers taking you through some really jungly inaccessible terrain. Looking forward to coming back to Kerala and also exploring the other regions of India in the future.”

 

For more information on the festival, visit: http://www.malabarfest.com/

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