International Pilgrimage, Part 1……………….

March 25, 2011

This story starts with a series of random coincidences, a kind of bizarre journey and the making of many new friends. It was 6 in the afternoon and I was sitting at Heathrow airport waiting to depart for Vancouver. I was a ball of nervous energy, my first real adventurous travel in some time all framed in by an uncertainty of what my next few years would hold. Then I saw what I thought was a familiar face, a guy called Nic Mattia, waiting for the same plane. Turns out it wasn’t him, and I was once again occupied by my thoughts and music, for some reason though I knew I would see fake Nic again soon. Boarding was called and as always I wait till everyone is  boarded, then casually walk over and ask if there is a seat on first class for me. There wasn’t as usual but one day there will be. Anyway as I made my way towards my seat I realised my assumption was correct and as I sat in my allocated seat, I introduced myself to fake Nic, who was actually named Michal Osinin and was allocated in the seat next to mine. As always the normal questions of where are you going and what are you doing, followed the introductions and after very little talking we realised we were not only off to the same place, but the exact same course, The Alaska Heli-Skiing Guide School. Now it doesn’t seem all that special in print but when you consider that only 18 people are in the course, they make there pilgrimages from Germany, Austria, England, Australia, Czech Republic, Norway and so on and so forth, and they all arrive at different times in Alaska, there is approximately 10-20 flights leaving three of London’s airports and also roughly 450 seats on the particular aircraft I was travelling on, there must be a one in a million chance of meeting this person, before I arrived at the course.

This was the start of our pilgrimage, 2 fish in a big pond of ski bums making their annual migration to Haines, AK. Some may have already left and some may be leaving later, for some it would be the first time (ie. Michal and Myself) for some it would be the 20th, we will travel by train, car, plane, boat and helicopter and we will cover between us over a 1/2 million travelling kilometers. We are ski bums, but we are also mechanics, chefs, cricket bat makers, doctors, lawyers, bankers, digger operators, hunting guides and artists. We are here to learn not only about the snow but about ourselves. I am going to continue this exploration in a series of stories, interviews and photos of the characters involved,  in the hope of collecting enough information to apply for some independent funding to make a documentary about this strange cultural migration we make. I’ll keep you all posted and this story will become far more interesting, I guarantee it!

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2 Responses to “International Pilgrimage, Part 1……………….”

  1. Jamie said

    Need a cameraman?

    • Potentially……. how’s everything going for you down there anyways?? Looks like I am gonna leave South America for this year buying an old Chevy and fixing it up as a camper so yeah I#ll keep you posted…..

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