Explorer Mikael Strandberg

The death of an Expedition, part two

“It is written in the stars, your journey is meant to be!”

A decision has been made!

I have decided to go back to Sweden right now. I feel empty. I won´t get any further at this moment and it seems like I have put all eggs in one basket. Maybe a serious mistake. I just can´t afford to stay in the Gulf anymore and I am forced to relocate to Sweden and kind of start life from scratch again. Build up an economic strong base again. And continue my wait there. And hope that the saga is written in a positive way in the stars. I have heard that phrase so much since I first arrived in Oman.

“It is written in the stars, your journey is meant to be!”

This time I have been a week in Oman, met most of my great friends, and I have had one lecture for the ESO at Crowne Plaza, too early to say how it all went, met a potential backer and finally been able to get a message sent through to the power, which I have worked for since I first came here.

When I arrived to Oman first time in January 2009, I felt like a president. I stayed in luxury hotels, was shipped around in limos, met with the wealthy and powerful and most important, it seemed like everyone I met loved my vision of building a bridge from the Arab World into the West (and the other way around) through an Expedition by camel. The positive atmosphere was electrifying! And I just loved everything which had to do with the country. The people, the Bedu culture underlying everything, the heat, the desert, the food and the dignity that people behaved with. I often get emails from people that think I am naive and say:

“You always love a new country you come to and say it is the best on earth!”

After the lecture at ESO at Crowne Plaza. From left, Marcus Rydbo, Lamees Daar, president of ESO and married to His Higness Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib Al-Said next to me.A great couple who makes a mjor difference on many levels for Oman!
After the lecture at ESO at Crowne Plaza. From left, Marcus Rydbo, Gejrangers GK, Lamees Daar, president of ESO and married to His Higness Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib Al-Said who is next to me. A great couple who makes a major difference on many levels for Oman!

I still feel very strongly for Oman, but I have been here, I think, at least 7 times during a year and the issue have been setting up an expedition, get the needed funds and start working on finding camels and two Bedus too join me. And, to tell you the truth, even though I feel I have done everything in my power, I have invested everything I have, I have had many people like great friends like Talib Omar and Wael Lawati to back the Expedition and promote it, when I think about it, when it comes to the Expedition and getting it on its feet, I am basically at the same stage as a year ago.

What mistakes have I done?

Most likely that I bought all the enthusiasm I received initially as a sign that things would happen fast and easy and fully didn´t realize that things take time in this part of the world. They, the Omanis, really want to know you before they believe in you. I can understand and appreciate that. But it takes time, money and stamina of world class strength. Maybe I didn´t sell my vision good enough. Well, we still don´t know this. But right now, I just feel empty. Like I have walked into a wall. I am totally free of any energy right now. It has been a hard expedition in itself. Coming to Oman with hopes to do my little bit to make life more understandable and peaceful through education and information.

Do I regret anything?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. This time of trying to get an Expedition on its feet has been with the best in my life and I have really already found what I was looking for on a personal level. And most of all, I have learned a lot about this part of the world and fallen in love with it. And I have met some extremely good new friends and I am sure Oman will be a part of my future in one way or the other. But right now, there´s nothing more I can do than wait and see and that is best to do in Sweden.

So this is the death of the expedition?

Not at all. Just run out of steam, funds and ideas. I am just at loss of words right now. And I am off to Turkey for a few lectures and a conference on tourism. As my very good friend, whom I will visit, Dogan Tilic says:

“In the East you don´t have to work for anything, it will come to you if you just have the patience to wait.”

Initially it was all like a dream with possibilities in every corner, now it is just a mental void.....the question is, what will happen next?...
Initially it was all like a dream with possibilities in every corner, now it is just a mental void…..the question is, what will happen next?…


8 comments

  1. Oh man, this is so sad to hear.
    But you have managed to do so many exciting trips in your life and in’shallah this will happen in the future.

    Badain in’shalla….later, if allah will.

    Best of luck with your future.

  2. I’m sure you’ll bounce back dude – I gotta leave a word of thanx out here too since I’ve definitely learned a lot from your insight – as my line of work have left me spending several months in total of 2009 in both Oman and Yemen! The varieted intel is much obliged.

  3. Mikael – strength to you. One of the hardest and bravest things to do is to know when to walk away, and I admire you as much for recognising when it is time to do that, as I would if the expedition had come together.

    Also…Africa is a disastrous mess right now. I don’t think I would be walking through Sahara there for any amount of money, all my friends in Mali, Niger and Mauritania are full of stories of mayhem and madness – and their comments are far more than the customary Arabic penchant for exaggeration! It is ugly and getting rapidly worse everywhere your route could go. So accept that this is not the time..and hope that another will come, Inshallah.

    Paula

  4. Sorry to hear that it has come to the point that you have to take a step back and retrench to Sweden. As we discussed before, maybe not so surprising given the cautious approach to “strangers” and their proposals, along with the current economic climate. However, you did not give up your bike journeys after the first flat tyre. I am sure the day for Expedition Arabia will come one day. You will be all the better prepared for it by having taken distance from the project for a while. In the meantime, who knows what other events will shape your future and allow you to look at this expedition from completely different perspectives. Good luck

  5. Very couragous of you to share your experiences with us! Time to sit back and revise the plan or come up with a new strategy. Maybe the following helps: your experience reminds me of the time when I tried to help The Friendship Caravan (expedition on camel) going right after 9/11, with the same purpose, but a different route (Hollywood-New York-Europe). I worked like crazy as did the founder of the initiative. We came a long way but the expedition as envisioned didn’t happen. It was impossible to win the trust of enough funders (although they liked the idea) and. In my opinion, it is better to start small and as you go along raise interest. That way people can see your plan in action, and join or not join on the basis of hard facts.
    In my case, I learned from the experience that I am an explorer and I don’t like to be a manager of a big event. Because then you will always have to compromise in order to keep funders happy. Am sure you’ll come up with the best solution – if only you take time to find out what it really is that you want to do. All the best and happy birthday!

  6. I think the most difficult thing is the decision to act. However the easy thing is that you can act to control your life. Your page is like a world guide. I am decisive to visit yours as much as I can.

  7. Hi Mikael

    Belated Happy birthday

    Just read your blog of 10 February.

    Arabian expedition will come to fruition Mikael. As most of your admirers have pointed out, stay calm and let it come to you.

    I believe that the best things in life come to those who wait. Dont loose hope.

    Your friend
    Malik Al Hinai

  8. Dear Mikael,

    I just wanted to share this phrase ( not exact), that I saw the other day when I walked into one of the offices at the college I graduated from: ” Winners are the people who might fail , but never quit” . Coming from me, I failed several times in pursue of completing my education and faced many obstacles , but because of my presistance and paitence, I finally graduated after 8 years of trying to do so. There is a phrase from the Qura’an that says( i.e. means):”you might hate something , but it might be good for you” So it might be good for you in the long run that you did not go on this expedition this year, and fate has something more great and special hidden for!

    Good Luck Mikael, and never give up your enthusiam, rejuvinate and come back to Oman!

    Yours,
    Short Tempered Buddy

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