Moscow might be a bit unusual start of the expedition, I would normally try to get to the start of the trip as soon as possible but this time it's different. Frankly, everything is. First what I'm up to.
I'm on my way to give another try at crossing of the frozen lake Baikal in Siberia. Including the return journey. It means to walk a distance of approximately 1300 km. Alone. It is my second try to do it solo with a return journey. Third time if I count my very first expedition to the lake in 2010. Back then me and my friend Vasek successfully crossed the lake from south to north in 24 days. It was a great trip but I was already dreaming about making the same trip solo and with the return journey. It just seemed like a logical next step to do something harder. Or rather longer as the time spent there is what I think makes the difference. The time you have to survive on the ice. The cold, the never stoping winds, the stuff which is happening daily like broken down equipment, worn-out shoes, the pain in the waist from pulling of the sled... The distance is important too but again, the more time you spend in this environment, the tougher everything gets.
But what has changed most from the last time is me. Everything was extremely stressful in 2012. I felt a huge responsibility to succeed. I had sponsors, there where media following my progress, my whole lifehood depended on my success. And it obviously wasn't good. I wasn't feeling ok from the beginning. The preparations were done in a great hurry, even though she was a part of the support team a lot of responsibility fell on my girlfriend back then - more than I should have. To add up to the unlucky start, my sat. phone stopped working the night before departure... And also, I was way too much confident of myself. I remember that I had almost no respect for what was ahead of me. It felt like I was going to make it no matter what... And the lake, the nature or god - call it whatever you want - showed me that I'm not the one who rules the world. It was just like that. I certainly needed the lesson. I was able to walk about 480 km and even though I was doing almost 50 km a day I had to quit. The skin on my feet became so bad that I just couldn't walk any more. My socks where soaked up with blood and I very quickly lost all the skin on my feet and the pain was becoming more and more unbearable. By the time I decided to turn around I wasn't even able to walk. Another mistake I turned around way too late. It took me almost three days of crawling on my knees to get closer to the shore of the lake from where I could have been picked up by the rescue team. I was ashamed. It was the first time I wasn't able to get out of a situation I willingly put myself into.
So this time. I think of the trip as a vacation. I want to enjoy everything and the last thing I would allow is any stress. If I make it across and back, it will be great. If not, that's the way it is. I'm trying to be humble. I think I already know what is ahead of me and I tried to get everything during the preparation as perfect as possible. I have the best equipment I could get, I have everything thought out and ready - I feel calm and ready for the adventure. Sure I wish to succeed, there is nothing like achieving something you set out to do but I don't think of it as something special. It is just another part of my life or me. Wish me good luck.