If you were to ask me what I did on the Danube River during my 21-day solo paddle from Ingolstadt, Germany to Belgrade, Serbia, my answer is simple. I fought crime, outran bad guys in speedboats with machine guns, almost died a few times from river monsters and 20-foot waves… oh yeah, it was just like the movies, I tell ya.
But when all the crazy action subsides, it’s actually simple times on the river. You eat, you sleep, you take epic poos and you paddle.
I was never in danger from man-eating snakes or fish. I did get scared a couple times by beavers.
When I first began the Danube I had that excited nervous energy. Everything is so fascinating and new that you’re constantly taking pictures and video. Oh look, water, lets film it. You are too excited, too clean and the gear too new, a little river poser you are.
I remember it feeling very slow at the beginning. Like wow, this is damn slow, this is going to take a while. Through all kinds of weather, I moved slowly. Rain, hot sun, cloudy days, headwind, tailwind: I could feel my emotions changing with each turn of the weather. I really enjoyed the rainy and cloudy days; the cool air gave me energy. Though after too many cloudy days in a row, I could feel myself missing the happiness of the sun and its ability to uplift my mood.
I had my doubts on day five. The question, “Why am I doing this?” crept in. This is a normal phase of distance traveling, the doubt phase.Soon I became dirtier, worn in and tired, submerging myself in the trip. Every day I figured out how to organize my gear more efficiently, how to best attach it to the board, how to improve my paddling technique, what items to bring in my tent and how to construct the activities of each day.
Adam Colton is happily riding the wave of life and hopefully inspiring people along the way. A skater, skateboard filmmaker and photographer, and human-powered traveler — see his other adventures here.