Humans all need to be rescued. As I am writing this feature about a person who lives life defying hegemony in all forms, it brings me incredible shame that I have been so absorbed in commercialism and flunked in life by never challanging its possibilities. I’ve had the pleasure to study alongside this gentleman, who despite all other accomplishments, will be an inspiration to many for his courageous and extraordinary ventures into a world we may never be able to see for ourselves. He tells stories that will make us question. His camera bestows photographs of nature and culture, which are such works of art that will melt the hearts of the cynical. He will rescue us by rewinding us back into innocence. I will let his own words tell who he is:
“My name is Carl-David Granbäck and I am a 28 year old guy from Sweden.”
“In 2009, I embarked on a great journey and cycled across South America, from Tierra del Fuego in Argentina all the way up to the Caribbean Coast of Colombia.
Ever since I came back from that trip, I’ve felt a strong desire to get back in the saddle and head out into the unknown. So this time I have decided to cycle from Sweden to Africa!
With this blog, I want to share my experiences from the road with the rest of the world, and hopefully make you feel inspired!”
Granback’s South American triumph began with a question that needs not asking. In his words,
“I simply do it because I can, because I have the opportunity and because I think it’s a great challenge! But of course there’s more to it… Our planet is an amazing place! There is a lot of beautiful nature and interesting cultures to experience. In comparison to the size of Earth, and everything there is to see, a lifetime is actually quite short, and that’s why I want to travel and explore places and cultures when I have the opportunity to do it.”
He may not have anticipated the impact it had on him upon returning to civilization, where he was welcomed and cited by fellow adventurers as their inspiration to cycle. Some even followed his routes for their travels. The bravery to search for a life that won’t be bound by fear is what Granback has accomplished and he certainly has reached the sublime.
A year since his triumphant return from South America, I met up with him in Gothenburg and relived his memory of this significant venture. 4 years had passed since our youthful time in university, Granback seemed more responsible of his role in the world. There had been talks on farming techniques, cycling and fitness as well as reading. Playing back some of his photos on TV, it’s incredibly melancholy to see him indulging the beauty of nature as I have never imagined that imagery could exist outside television. One of books that he showed me was one about cultivating a farm that could be self-sufficent in a miniscule civilization. Of course he brushed off my suggestion of making plans to make it happen and credited such ideas of less reliance on industrialization and commercialization as “interesting”, showing immense devotion to a life driven by goodwill and environmental conservation.
The world was not shocked when Granback made the announcement of leaving tire marks from his birth place Sweden to Africa last year. Having aquired survial skills that put Bear Grylls to shame, the world welcomed Granback’s return to a life he knows best and we envy the most – a life of freedom, self-exploration and nature.
“Whether it might scare you to get hooked on the feeling of travelling this way and have difficulties returning to a normal life, then I’d question that big time. I mean, after all, life is all about doing what you like and what makes you happy! And I think that if you can motivate whatever activity by exactly that, then what you have in mind won’t pose a problem for you in future.”
Granback was in Senegal when we had our last conversation regarding my request to use his images. He said, “Of course – you’re welcome to use whatever you want!” Can you imagine a more perfect man? As of today, he is over 6000 kilometers in his journey and has covered Demark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Gibraltar, Morocco, and Senegal as well as everything else in between. Let’s follow his bike marks now, shall we?
Wouldn’t you like to be Carl-David Granbäck? Do you dare to be Carl-David Granbäck? I believe I speak for him when I say this, Yes you can!
See more of Granback on his original blog “Sweden to Africa by Bike”
Follow Granback on Sweden to Africa by Bike here!