Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

A few years ago Erik Demchuk was an ordinary person who was busy with work from morning till night. However, at some point, he realized that such a life was not to his liking. Eric was able to do what everyone dreams of, but they do not dare to do it - he began to travel and study new countries, their culture and customs. The championship interviewed athlete and traveler Erik Demchuk and found out when he began to travel, how he sailed the entire Volga and what he thinks about the Russian people.

How it all began

- Eric, tell us when and why did you decide to start traveling?
- 10 years ago I began to understand that material values ​​are not so important. My professional career at that time was very boring, although I had a nice car and a house. However, I wanted to learn something new, to find something interesting. I wanted to see the world, different countries, their culture and customs. Only after a couple of years I finally decided to start traveling. Of course, I thought and worried for a long time, but I wanted to enjoy life and see what is in the world besides the daily routine.

- Why do you like to travel?
- Which one Sometime it helps to escape from everyday life. Now I feel free and happy while traveling.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- You spent three months in the jungle. What did you eat there?
- I was actually in the El Yunque rainforest in Puerto Rico. However, I was not separated from civilization, so there was no problem with this.

- What was the most difficult thing for you in the jungle?
- I think, to cope with your daily routine without fresh water was the hardest. It's hard when you shower in the rain or take a bath in a mountain river.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- Tell us about the funniest or most exciting moment while traveling.
- It was in Puerto Rico. At night I woke up and found a snake in my room. I had to urgently do something in order not to get into an even more difficult situation. Then I called my friend and explained everything. He just told me that soon she would crawl away and I had nothing to worry about, and sent me to bed. Then I found a bag nearby and wanted to catch a snake in it, but it quickly crawled away. It was also from there that I brought my three dogs. It was very difficult, as the relevant documents were needed. I spent many days getting all the necessary documents. However, then another problem arose - two dogs were allowed on board the plane, and the third was not. For her sake, I had to make several transplants to take her home. Now all three dogs live in my house.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

- When did you first go on a trip?
- I remember that I was still in high school then. At the age of 14, during the holidays, I wenthitchhiking from Poland to the GDR.

- Three things you can't travel without?
- It really depends on where I'm going. For example, there are several types of tents, and depending on the destination, I can already choose the appropriate one. I also take a bed and gas with me.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- Do you prefer to travel alone or with someone?
- It rather depends on the specific project.

- Tell us about the most unpleasant place in which were you?
- I feel the worst in big cities. It's all about advertising and consumer behavior.

- What do you like least about traveling?
- This is the end of the journey.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- Tell us if there was a place that turned out to be completely different from you Did you imagine him?
- Yes, it was my first Volga trip to Russia in 2016. I imagined that Russia would be like in the books of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but Russia turned out to be modern and hospitable.

From the source to the mouth of the Volga River

- Why did you decide to cross the Volga ? Did someone tell you about it or did you find the information you needed?
- The Volga is the longest river in Europe, which is why this trip became a challenge for me. Basically, I looked for all the information on the Internet.

- You sailed from the very source to the mouth of the river. Were there any funny stories while traveling along the Volga?
- I cannot define this trip as any one definite moment. During the trip along the Volga there were a lot of fun, funny moments and wonderful meetings. But if you need to highlight something, it was in Nizhny Novgorod. At that time, there was a swimming event in this city organized by X-Waters. It was there that I met Alexander Bazanov, the organizer of the event. I also took part in the competition, and the time I spent with him and his friends was interesting and fun.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo : from the personal archive of Erik Demchuk

- What was the most unexpected during the trip along the Volga?
- I absolutely underestimated the size and power of the river. The first time I came to the Volga was in 2016, but I was poorly prepared, so I returned in 2017. However, then there was a lot of rain, which interfered with the swim, there were also strong waves. It was cold then, the water was cold, so it was hard. At some point, I even started thinking about completing the swim. The first 10 kilometers in Nizhny Novgorod were very difficult. Also in Cheboksary there were strong waves and wind, our boat went under water several times.

Russians are wonderful, hospitable and sincere people!

- How many Russian words have you learned during travel timeia?
- ( Laughs .) Nowhere is this written, but I managed to learn Russian while traveling along the Volga!

- What are you surprised while traveling?
- I was very surprised, but in fact there are no significant differences between cultures.

- What do you think about Russia and Russian people after the trip?
- Russians are wonderful, hospitable and sincere people!

- Have you ever thought about making a trip down the Volga again?
- Yes , I'm going to go to the Volga again. But now I can say that it will be difficult to cross the Volga for the second time.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- Traveling into the wild takes a lot of energy. Do you train?
- I prepare for every trip I make. For example, I spent eight months preparing to swim across the Volga. Basically, of course, it was physical training. At first I swam for three to four hours every day, then for 5-6 hours. Also rode a bike for 27 kilometers.

- You have a personal blog (https://volga2017swimming.wordpress.com/), where you talk about your trips. How many years have you been running it?
- It's been seven years since I started writing my blog.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- How did you decide to start writing?
- While traveling, I was amazed by the surrounding nature. I wanted to share my impressions with everyone! So I started writing about travel in my own blog.

- Have you thought about writing a book about travel?
- No, haven't thought about it yet.

- You said that you are a vegetarian. When and why did you decide to give up animal food?
- That was 20 years ago! I decided to become a vegetarian because I felt sorry for the animals. I don't want to have anything to do with the inhuman conditions associated with eating meat.

- Today, can you imagine life without travel?
- No, I am not I can imagine my life without travel!

- The most beautiful place you have been?
- Home is the most beautiful place on earth!

- What is the most important thing for you while traveling?
- I love to travel, while traveling I feel like a free and happy person.

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

Photo: from the personal archive of Eric Demchuk

- Why do you think people should travel?
- Me I think it is very important to get to know different cultures. After all, only by studying the culture of another country, you can understand them. In addition, it is important to draw people's attention to the beauty of our nature. This will allow us to raise the profile of environmental protection.

- What are your future plans?
- Small swimming trips to wonderful places are planned in 2018. ThatThere are also plans for one major project for 2019: the large lake Baikal, the Loire, winter travel along the Volga. My friend Sergey Rybkin from X-Waters will accompany me. I would also like to visit Armenia, on Lake Sevan.

- Can you give any advice to novice travelers?
- Go where your heart leads and live your dream!

Eric Demchuk: how a marathon runner from Germany swam the Volga in length

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