First day at film festival, first bang. Kon-tiki, story of Thor Heyerdahl and his crew passing the ocean managed to stop me on my tracks. Heyerdahl had a belief and he set out to prove people from south america came to populate the west indies fifteen hundred years ago. And he does that on a raft made with wood and ropes in a journey that takes him across the Pacific from Peru to Tahiti for more than hundred days.
There are two parts to the story I cherished deeply. First part is the journey itself; this sect of people like myself who cant stop their insatiable need to explore and see and ask questions in the oddest parts of the world until there is no mountain left to be hiked; no city to be explored; no land or geography to be experienced; no climate to battle with. Those of us who have the desire to persevere the why and the when and the who got to create the cultural spatial mixes tucked between pieces of earth; a soup of archaeology, anthropology, history, geology, immigration, genetics, earth sciences and simply the rocks or the sand dunes. Thor the Norwegian gets on the raft and sails away to the mountain height waves and the whales and sharks of the Pacific.
It is truly rare any explorer would pick up a specific aim to fullfill; on the contrary, usual lingo is ‘we go because it is there’. And this brings me to the second part why I loved the film and the story so much. It is how you take a group of people to a journey as the captain and you take them along because they believe you; nothing else but pure belief. The captain who has a goal and who has absolute belief in the journey’s outcome; and keeps making the calls sometimes deadly sometimes so risky to bet the entire ship. And truly big outcomes will only come the bigger bets you make. Watching the film was a microcasm of leadership in action where you pick up most skilled yet diverse group of individuals with different backgrounds; gathering them behind a leader who has an ultra-aggressive but simple aim to fullfill. We create these sects of believers throughout own journey in life. There are those followers who are convinced your belief is the right thing; there are those who follow because they don’t have a belief and they need one; there are those who follow because of the journey itself, not the belief. And sometimes the result gets to be amazing. Any of you who has been through a journey with a group of people and they managed to fall in love with the idea and eventually with each other know what I am talking about.
It is as good as making it to the top of Machu Picchu; standing on the Pamir highway; crossing from atlas mountains to the Sahara’s sand dunes; waking up in one piece at a snowcamp for the first time; and yes—crossing the Pacific. Life’s journeys are good when they give us the beliefs and achievements that teach us who we are and how we lead and treat others.
In celebration of Thor and his crew.