There was once an Idea. For a long time, she lingered, unaware of her existence and convinced that it could not be realized, because two heads, blinded by the general “atmosphere”, thought that it could not be done. And then, one spring evening, when darkness fell in the neighborhood (because electricity often goes out in this part of the Belgrade suburbs), an idea flashed, lit their home and decided to settle in the everyday life of a family as a necessity, on the Planet where hope dies.
Two people, from that evening onwards, ran after the idea, and with the help of paper and pencil, the internet, and will, launched an initiative they called Walking by the Earth.
In that race, they realized that their path was littered with garbage, flooded with polluted water, blocked by cut trunks in the woods, aggravated by toxic air, and trampled by immense lethargy, but they were also convinced that if their three daughters grew up with parents sitting with arms crossed as the world around them collapses, the future of children and the future of the Planet will neither exist as optimism, nor something else.
The idea germinated, day after day, squirming, and finally, in early summer, got its cotyledons – a custom bed in a family car that leaves the smallest carbon footprint, camping supplies, ecological hygiene products, enough garbage bags, and a month of wild camping on the beach without electricity and running water. At the same time organizing a cleaning action on the bank of the Sava River in one caffe, which is being seriously prepared at the beginning of autumn, on the occasion of the first World Cleaning Day held in Serbia, in 2018.
Although they had previously experienced camping in rented accommodation on the shores of the Aegean and were ready for a symbiosis with nature, they did not even guess what could await them on the upcoming adventure with three little girls. But they did not let themselves be disturbed. They knew that they wanted it more than anything and that such an experience would encourage them and open their minds to what comes next.
August 2018. The road is in front of them, the car is full with an all-roof suitcase and a stretched-out bed so that the children can sleep through the night drive. At the border crossing in Bulgaria, after a kilometer step by step in a column, frustrated, because dad got stiffed in the back and can’t move, they are considering returning to Belgrade.
“No!”, says Dad. “Let’s move on!”
The rear tire tore down in front of Sofia, it was Sunday before dawn.
“No!”, said Mom. “Let’s move on!”
From the roof of the car, they removed the heavy reserve with a steel wheel with their joint forces, replaced it, and continued towards Sofia in search of an auto mechanic. Anxiety, but calmness reigns. Fatigue is already on the eyelids and in the body, there is a long way behind and a long one waiting in front. They arrivedin the suburbs of Sofia. They are lucky, they buy a used tire from a Bulgarian auto mechanic and move on. When the series of unfortunates begins, no one knows how far it can roll on. They believe they are stronger. They reach Kavala when the sun is at its zenith, although the arrival was supposed to be at dawn. Ferry tickets are available for purchase only for 2 days. Now what? They have time to fix Dad’s back and camp on the beach near town. Resolved. The unfortunate string was broken!
From that moment on, everything goes smoothly. 27 days of the Sun (because Mom is on her third maternity leave, and Dad had a wonderful adventurer boss) in complete peace and tranquility. Cleaning the beaches, circling the island with unreal landscapes, the scents of the Mediterranean and Greek authenticity, a mixture of mythology, history, gastronomic delights, and the delicious Alexandria Muscat wine.
An idea in flight. The goal lives. The flower family.
And it’s not the end, because Walking by the Earth is a project that has no end. It’s a way of life.
Sand in my hair and ears, around the tent and the car. Watermelon juice glued to small breasts and stomachs. Sand is all over us. Caterpillars instead of dolls. Rattle shells. Eyes that glow at night in the dark from the surrounding bush. Wind. Coal from a campfire for drawing on stones. Collecting dry seagrass and fire twigs. Micro-plastic collection for science. Saving the sea from something that swims, and it has no place there. Charging a camper shower while we wash, wake up, and float on the water in the morning. Lunch in one pot with five spoons, and the waves splash the feet. Climbing the rocks of the cape with small feet and fists, a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a two-year-old at the time. Wrestling in the sand. A ritual dance with a view of the West as we send off the Sun and rejoice in the Stars and the Moon. Reading a book, by the fire, for a good night. Mom, dad, and three girls. Laughter. Hugs. Kisses. Love!
This year we repeated. Our activities are daily. We live low waste, initiate cleaning, afforestation actions, and share what we know with everyone. We want as many Moms and Dads as possible to hear, see, ask us, to see them, to share experiences and knowledge, to help ourselves and our kids for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. And this is not just a text to read, for a symbol to be clicked or a comment that is just a comment.
This is an invitation for all those who want to change something for the better.
This is an appeal to change our bad habits.
This is a text that says it’s time for action!