© 2019 by Kajsa Silow

The Secret Life of Silow and Sander:
on a longboard around Iceland
 
...as the first woman in the world, 1400km, Ringroad 1, 12 Jun 2017 -  12 Jul 2017

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Instagram: @thesecretlifeofsilowsander 
Sponsorer: Urskog , Primus Equipment , Hilleberg , Hjort Attire , Björn Borg , Röjk Superwear , MIPS Protection 

 

"Wanna go skateboarding around Iceland or something?"

"Skateboard? Iceland? Eeeh, what's not to like? YES!!!"

But to know if you'll manage an adventure together it might not be enough to only send a flirty message over Instagram.. When Erik wrote to me I was kinda convinced we were going no matter what. We lived in different parts of Sweden so it was a bit tricky to meet irl. A phone call later we were hooked, a first 5-day date and we fell, some visits and a 2-week test tour in Lyngen, Senja and Lofoten and we were in love. So, skateboarding around Iceland for 4 weeks with our home on our backs? The preconditions were magical.

A long journey starts with a single push. 12 juni - 12 juli, 2017

This is probably gonna be my most difficult adventure to explain how it became one of my toughest. An adventure and a challenge is always relative and just going through daily life at home with a bad headache is quite a different experience from doing it being well. Just to give you an idea of the challenges I was headed for here.

So us two, the idiots, me and Erik Sander, went skateboarding around Iceland with an engine made out of couscous, chupachups, mindfulness and personal development. Me as the first woman in the world, Erik as the third man. One of us (me) was limp and had a bad inflammation in the foot, shoulder and hip from start till the end, got dumped first thing and almost got hit by a truck. The other one broke his hand on the finish line. Both of us experienced stomach disease, heavy loads, vibrating asphalt (gravel?), long mountain and desert passages in cold, stormy, foggy and wet cold weather. The sun was rarely out, and only once it was warm.

 

Every meal, every rest, every downhill, every downwind, every inch of soft asphalt, was the best thing that ever happened. And every view - EVERY view. It was a heavy ride and we were exhausted, and I think you need to have at least bicycled the whole way around the island to understand why. Constant weightloss was unavoidable and we got our energy from incredible views, from likes and comments on our instagram and from our new fans that we met on the road. We mostly pitched our tent in ditches but when we had extra energy and were lucky we found a magical tent spot. 

For 1400km and 30 days we kicked constantly without rest days. We've put up with each other's unclean and less scenting bodies, feet, clothes and hair in a tiny 2p tent. And it's not without pride and happiness that we despite all given prerequisites still made it all the way around!

If this was a 4th date where you get to know each other for "real"? 😂 For one week one of us was living in confusion of not knowing who that person suddenly was who behaved differently, the rest of the time we were acting like friendly strangers. One of us felt better than the other. One of us has been at least doubled challenged compared to the other. And one of us did get her heart broken.

So maybe we didn't find love, but we found at least a thousand "wow!" Iceland really is an island full of wow. That's love too. How we celebrated? With a shower and a few runs to the hospital with Erik's broken hand. All in, so to speak 🎈

CHALLENGES (known)

1. 1400km, 30 days, 20kg each

2. Cold temps and lots of rain, fog, winds and maybe snow

3. Hard frequent upwinds (often 10-20 m/s)

4. "Asphalt" a.k.a. gravel

5. Many desolate mountain and desert passes

6. Limited food and water 

7. Finding tent spots

8. Traffic

CHALLENGES (potential)

 

1. Injuries

2. Hygien

3. Rest days

4. Near-death-experiences

5. Our relationship

6. Physical limitations

7. Sponsor work

8. Physical, mental and emotional challenges

9. The experience in general

OUR DIFFERENT CHALLENGES (as duo, me to the right)

 

1. Man vs woman (general strength, pros and cons for each)

2. Penis vs vagina (pee, period, cold/wet/stormy weather)
3. Goofy vs regular (tilting roads means deeper squats for regular, increased strain, more energy consuming)

4. Not injured vs injured foot, hip and shoulder from start (overstress from tilting roads and stressful pace)

5. More prep-time vs. less (he didn't work the last 2 months and he got the board early so he could train 4+ hrs every day)

6. Dumper vs dumped (emotional challenge in addition to the physical)

7. Feeling stronger vs feeling weaker (tear on self-confidence, a duo is never stronger than its less strong individual)

8. No trauma vs near-death-incident (I almost got hit by an insane truck-driver)

9. A sudden lack of motivation and concern for sponsor work vs having to be the one to take the initiatives

MODIFIED PURPOSE

You always have a number of challenges that you know about that might happen on an adventure, and you list them to get a better picture of what you need to work on to be physically and mentally prepared for anything. You don't think, or hope, that more than just a few things will happen, and rather not at the same time. The list is just there to help. Just like doing a SWOT-analysis (which I always do too). The ones listed above are just some of them, and all - all - turned to my disadvantage. So as having my initial purpose which was enjoying a long journey as usual, enjoy my dream destination Iceland, practice communication and communication in a relationship, and to keep a quick and skilled routine on the equipment, my new modified purpose became, as early as from day 2, to keep going when everything becomes a challenge, keep smiling even though you're experiencing hell, and win my self-confidence back that wasn't that easy to retain due to obvious reasons mentioned above. The rest just had to go, I was completely drained on energy from day 5. But I kept going since I was curious on how it would feel to stay in a "self-chosen" hell for a month and on all that happens during that period, if and how I manage to carry it through and which emotional states I might experience. 

 

Never try never know.

But just as probable it is for something to become a great challenge, it could just as well have turned out the opposite!. The reason for me not just packing up my stuff and taking the next flight home already from start when I felt "something was wrong", was partly because I wasn't sure and maybe it was just in my head (maybe he was having a bad day?), I wanted to be loyal to our sponsors according to our agreements, and I ended up having to do that alone. At the same time it was a really interesting thing to be in such an extreme position physically, mentally and emotionally, and to learn how you control and handle it for 30 days, how you react and act in different situations, and how it develops with time. 

As mentioned, it was interesting to try everything. But now I know that I won't head out on an adventure again that could be such a vast challenge of physical, mental and emotional simultaneous setbacks. It's not worth crying in silence every day and wish to go back home to your real friends and family just because you're out on a "communicative and emotional education". I wished to experience Iceland with a fun person. I didn't experience Iceland and we didn't have fun.

But, never try never know.

 

And gaddang am I proud! 

(The music in this lil video reflects the mood of this adventure, hehe)

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