Barefoot in the Sky
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” This is a Confucius’s quote that Jan, Faith and Jordan put in their website, somewhereelseland.com. To them it is also a lifestyle. These are two boys and girl that practice a new sport, slacklining, which differs from acrobats because they use flat webbing, a “slackline” and not a rope.
Jan Gałek, Polish born in Warsaw, 22 years: He is a student of Physical Education in Wroclaw. Before he studied percussion, keyboard and classic guitar, but has left the music for mountaineering and climbing; his father took him to the mountains for the first time when Jan was 5 years old. “In 2007 I met Jordan in Morocco, then in Spain, Germany and Poland 2 years later. So we were friends and we started the team.” Now he lives in Berlin with Faith Dickey, whom he met in July 2009 in Germany.
Jordan Tybon, 27 years, from Tacoma, Washington, North of USA, photo reporter, says to us: “I started in the wonderful natural area near my home. I Graduated in philosophy at Berkeley, and I am a former worker in a motor-shop; I am an adventure lover, former skier and climber since 2000. But I was also football referee, pitcher in baseball and state champion under 17 in taekwondo”.
Faith Dickey, 21 years, from Austin, Texas, Jan’s girlfriend, 190 meters length of personal best in longline says: “Slacklining is a sport, an art and exercise. I started slackline in an American park and after a year I came to Europe and I travelled a lot. This opened my mind”.
Slackline is a lifestyle, and that’s why they choose Confucius’s quote. “Yes, we say slacklife,” says Jordan, “we are a particular community. We live with not a lot of money, with help of some sponsor like Gibbon, Deuter, Ortlieb, Hilti, that give us gear and/or support us with a bit of money. We organized some slackline festivals or events, but still we are trying to give hospitality to our friends, share our food and money and to use our old gear and clothes until they wear.”
Says Jan, the Pole; “We try to live in a natural way. I have no car or credit cards, we are not ecologist in a political way, but I believe that we and other climbers and slackliners are usually more respectful to mother nature. We do not need to change a lot to make the world better place”.
Faith agreed on that: “We choose to abandon luxury and learn to live with nature. We are hoping to inspire others to love the natural world as we do.”
Slackline develops every aspect of your person , says Jan; “Slacklining involves balance, endurance, flexibility, movement control, space orientation, strength. It improves my mental abilities like: mind control, fear management , inside dialogue, and self-confidence.”
This year Jan took a part in the first slackline World Cup, three events, the last of which was in Italy Brixen (Bressanone) in November (overall winner was Andy Lewis).
It is not his main goal; “I want to be a climbing guide and sport climbing trainer in the future. Then I would like to continue promoting the sport of slacklining.”
He has some new projects and ideas in places such as Switzerland in Lauterbrunnen Valley, India, Patagonia (Chile) and Venezuela”.
Jordan adds: “I would like to stay in France or Northern Italy, where we would like to do some camp for kids and then focus on starting the first totally slackline focused magazine”. The website, somewhereelseland.com, was Jordan’s idea. “I chose this name because of some reason or another. I just cannot stay in one place, after a couple of years (at the longest). It is not even that I get particularly antsy or uncomfortable, it just feels like it is time to move on, to see something new, find new people to connect with”.
As it happened recently in Greece, at Meteora, where the pictures in this report have been taken; “All by hitch-hiking” says Faith; “the adventure took a week, battling Gypsies for rides in Serbia, a party with Ouzo and a trucker in Greece, highlining in Meteora with large gray towers standing with Mount Olympus in the distance., a paid night in a hotel in Hungary with Goulash, sleeping on the beach undisturbed in Montenegro. That was fantastic”.
Jordan says that after the trip to Greece the team’s plan is to; “realize more urban projects, as we did in October in Wroclaw, where me and Jan put a highline across the historical building shaped like U letter without any authorization. We were asked by police officers what we were doing and we answered; “just practising for some alpinist stuff…”
Jordan also stated, “So I would like again to make someone to stop on the street and stare in dumbfounded amazement. I think in this sense, this appreciation for the feeling of wonder and excitement is something that world needs today.“