About this Intrepid Duck
“From the forgotten corners of Tasmania to the hidden gems of Prague – From Cuba’s Sierra Maestra, heart of the Revolution, to the espresso bars of Melbourne, this Intrepid Duck has seen it all. Accompanying Sean D. photographer / writer and traveller it migrates to the next Shangri-La with a quack!”
My intrepidity began humbly as a child where a wander around the block could materialize into a great adventure. My first real adventure began in 1978 when I was sent off, aged 10 year old, on a 5 day rail journey across the state of Victoria aboard a c1920s sleeper train. The cosy twin berth cabins consisted of a comfortable bunk bed, complete with bevelled glass Art Deco head lamp and conch shell stainless steel hand basin folding from the wall. Fine panoramic views were obtained from the dinning car windows every morning, bacon and eggs were served on fresh toast by Victorian Railways waiters in bow ties as the rural landscape sped by. This was a glimpse of the golden days of rail travel fast dissapearing in the modern world. Then to our delights there was a new place of call each day and then seemingly exotic destinations to the likes as Castlemaine, Bendigo and Swan Hill. We were far away from the confines of the Melbourne suburbia. I was not so privilaged again for the long-haul rail experience of this kind until a journey in 2004 took me from Beijing to Moscow on the Trains Siberian Railway.
In 1993 I set off on my first round-the-world trip in an attempt to Overland it to Europe, starting from Melbourne! Months followed and after a traverse of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand I had at last discovered India and Nepal for 5 months of intrepidity, which almost changed my life.
From New Delhi I flew Aeroflot to Prague, via Moscow. 18 hours in the no-man’s land of the Sheremetyevo II transit lounge was interesting enough spent with it’s multitude of African refugees trying to get into “fortress Europe”. The privilage of the Kangaroo and Emu coat of arms on my passport worked wonders, unlike the poor souls from countries to the likes of Burkina Faso. Some of them had been there for weeks. I gave out Indian oranges to a man from Nigeria who thought it was Christmas receiving such a gift of fresh fruit.
At last in Europe, a kind of “mecca” for those from the far fringes of the globe. Sooner or later I arrived on that dumping ground of many a weary traveller – Amsterdam. This city became my home for five “interesting” months, where I lived with some 45 people in a “kraaked” (squatted) school, we were all world wanderers in search of a temporary home. However I had no “real” job, was largely in a foreign land and after 15 months all up, I came back home with empty pockets. However full with worldly dreams I soon discovered that I was fully infected by the travel bug.
Since I have travelled abroad twice, where I attained an artist residency in Budapest in 1998. While in 2003 / 04 I lived and worked in South Korea as an ESL teacher, this largely to finance my further travels. This journey by ferries, rail and eventually foot took me from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 2004. The final leg walking 720KM across Spain – on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Now I have travelled to some 40 countries in total. But the number of countries one goes to isn’t important, as it is how one goes about their travels. My most recent travels have once again been self propelled on the bicycle. With this mode of transport I have learnd to appreciate what could be called the slow travel movement!
Bicycle Touring with the Intrepid Duck
So who is this Intrepid Duck? In 1998 I found a rubber bicycle duck horn in Copenhagen which I dubed the Intrepid Duck. In 2002 it became my mascot for my 5000KM Melbourne to Darwin Tour. Since it has continues to guide me intrepidly to other places far and wide!
As you would know by now that the Intrepid Duck is not anonymous, and is certainly not car bound. Although I must addmit that “it’s” androgynous! It, that’s the Duck, came from Denmark and joined me in Europe and travelled along inside my backpack. It went onto the first bicycle I got my hands on and got “its” official title in 2001 when I launched my Intrepid Duck Publications – primarily Intrepid Duck Photographic Cards, with the duck as my “mascot”. In 2002 I dubbed my bicycle the “Intrepid Duck” in honour of the “great” bird thus completing my 4915Km Melbourne – Darwin Bicycling Tour.
It is on my proposed Cape to Cape Trek due to commence in either 2007 / 08 where I expect that the Intrepid Duck will continue to accompany me.
Travel Literature and Writers
As a fond traveller and budding travel writer, in 2004 I had the great pleasure into meeting one of my favourite travel authors – Patrick Leigh Fermor at his studio home in Greece, then at a healthy 90 years of age. He has a prolific writing career – beginning with his first publication “The Travellers Tree” in 1950. But it has been with his two publications “A Time of Gifts” and “Between the Woods and the Water” where he gained a following of insightful armchair travellers – these works part of a planned trillogy of his walk across Europe in 1932 / 33. However it has also been through the recommended works of many other 20th century travel authors who’ve fueled my thirst to go boldly where few men or women have gone before. Or at least to gain insight into what the many men and women, whom have travelled ahead of me, had not done before!
You may wish to read my own travel tips and writings, along with hundreds of photos by going to my Virtual Tourist pages at www.virtualtourist.com/intrepidduck On this public domain site I have details on my Australia page when concerning my bicycle touring the Outback.