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The Warsaw Voice » Travel » April 26, 2012
TRAVEL: Around the World in a Land Rover or how to go traveling while running a firm effectively (5)
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The Point of Traveling
April 26, 2012   
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Fascinated by the Middle East, we moved farther south. We kept meeting new people on our way and the encounters set the pace of our journey.

In Palmyra, we met two people from England and right from the beginning, we were overwhelmed by their friendship. Gary and Kym were emigrating to start a new life in Australia. They were traveling by car, planning to cover the distance in a year. We spent a month on the road together, visiting Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. It is amazing how easy it is to confide in strangers. We openly shared our private lives with our new friends, more than we did with our best friends ... A deep friendship was born out of that mutual understanding we had.

You find out who your friends are when trouble strikes. Gary and Kym helped us a great deal when our son Charles had to be taken to a hospital in Jordan after he fell more than two meters into a dungeon. Thankfully, it was more frightening than painful. Something like 20 doctors attended to him. We were also surprised to see a small hospital in the countryside that had modern medical equipment. While Charles was in hospital, we had the support of the tourist police who wanted to make sure he was in good care.

Several days earlier, during violence in Latakia, we met a Russian hitchhiker named Sergei. To be on the safe side, Sergei pitched his tent next to our car and so we camped on a beach side by side. Around 4 in the morning, a group of eight young people woke us up and tried to provoke me into a fight. We took our tents down in a flash; the tension was high. As we were getting away, we decided to take Sergei along and put him in our car. He weighed around 120 kilograms, about as much as his luggage ...

A chance meeting we had in Israel became another special story. Paul and Einat, who we had just met, offered us the use of their house—with pool and car—while they were on vacation. It was all very nice, but we really had only met three hours earlier... What an amazing lesson in generosity and trust, and some food for thought as well. Even now I’m not entirely sure I would be able to do what they did.

As we roamed the streets of Old Jerusalem, we met Samir and Dide. Samir is an Arab and a Christian. He runs a small store in which he sells beads and also makes jewelry. Dide is a German who has been living in Israel for 30 years. She came into a large inheritance from her parents, which she now uses to fund charities to atone for the atrocities her compatriots inflicted on Jews. Samir said something wonderful that has stuck in my head ever since: “We don’t like the places we visit for their quintessence, but for the people we meet.”

In the Abu-Gosh abbey, we met Benedictine monks. We will never forget the sisters and brothers, that’s for sure. Our son Charles received his First Communion in a church built by the Crusaders. The monks were passionate about Gregorian chants and lemon liqueur. We spent several days in the abbey, helping our hosts with various chores. We also stayed in a kibbutz for 10 days. The bio-organic Kibbutz Lotan is one of the world’s best organizations involved in recycling and renewable energy. College students and scientists from around the world come to the kibbutz to build up their knowledge of the subject.

Hungry for adventure
All the encounters we had were short but intense. We always left with broken hearts and a sense of frustration, as if the journey didn’t make sense any more. But then, we would soon get excited by the meetings ahead of us, the people we would get to know in the evening, those who would surprise us in a minute and all the encounters that were just around the corner. The realization was what mattered the most.

Our craving for adventure took us to the West Bank. We drove in our car, which we had been advised not to do. When we got there, many Palestinians wanted to talk to us, offered to show us around and so on. The problems began when we headed back to Israel. There were only Palestinian cars in the line and for two hours, nobody could decide what to do with us. In the meantime, we were forced to run to a shelter following a car bomb alert. In the end, they let us drive on without even doing a search of the car. Back in Jerusalem, we rented an apartment in the very heart of a district inhabited exclusively by ultra-orthodox Jews. They were very surprised to see us there and gave us a rather cold welcome...

In Israel, we understood how difficult it was to “live together.” At the end of the day, it is easier to be a Jew or a Muslim there. To be a Christian and practice the Christian faith in the Holy Land is frowned upon by some locals as unjustified, if not unlawful.

Office on wheels
Be it for geopolitical or just financial reasons, many people are unable to move around freely. Realizing that, I started picturing a mobile head-hunting office for my company, and the Akcja-Job Bus was born. It is an ordinary bus converted into an office on wheels. We put a table in it, complete with suitable office chairs. We hooked up the heating and air-conditioning systems to batteries charged from solar panels on the roof. The computer is connected to our company server and the printer provides job contracts on the go. We even have a coffee machine ...

The idea has enabled us to travel across Poland to hire employees willing to take jobs in France. We just drive to wherever our potential customers are. The mobile office is completely independent and self-sufficient, but always connected with the head office. There are two buses on the road in Poland at present. The Akcja-Job team shows up where job applicants live instead of waiting, like the competition does, for the applicants to visit the head-hunting agency themselves.

Where would our journey take us now? The car was in a cargo container onboard a ship on its way to the port in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We were on the next stage of voyage together. Igor Jeliński

Igor JeliŃski, 41, businessman and traveler. After 15 years of working in senior posts for large multinational corporations, he swapped his career for a journey around the world with his family. Before departing, he set up two firms with two partners, Akcja Job and NelsonLamartine, which proved highly successful during the two years he was away traveling. While pursuing his dream and visiting the most distant and most beautiful corners of the world, he was able to manage his business effectively.

You can find out how he did it from his monthly accounts of his journey, entitled “Around the World in a Land Rover,” in the Voice.

Barbara Deręgowska

Meet me at: www.5dm.fr
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