We left the circus of India to have a rest at foothills of the Himalayas. We had lost a lot of energy, and as of that we were once again contemplating the purpose or even the sense of this idiotic project of ours. Thankfully of the three days we had in Kathmandu, we spent two with the youngsters of Circus Kathmandu and they showed us that we need to keep going.
As we arrived at the airport of Kathmandu, we made our way straight to the place where our friends had a flea market table for the day. It just so happened that at the same place that evening was the circus workshop and performance held by Circus Kathmandu. Of course we set off to find out more about this circus group and to get straight in there mingling with the family.
Circus Kathmandu is full of amazingly talented youngsters, all of whom have been brought back from India after human trafficking or Indian circuses where they were not treated well. Circus Kathmandu has been working for 3 years already helping empower the youth who have fallen victim to people with bad will.
It is a horrible idea even to think about what it actually means and what these kids have gone through, but how they have found a new reality through circus gives a warm hope into my heart. Circus is the perfect tool for these kids, giving them a physical way of building back trust.
It has been said that trust is easily broken, but extremely difficult to get back. Doesn’t seem to be so. With the right attitude, right kind of people, and a heart full of good will, trust can be built up further than most only dream of.
In the training hall they showed us what Nepalese circus is made of. In the warm up some did harder acrobatics than neither of us could do even on our best day. They were enthusiastic about learning, having teachers for their own disciplines only rarely, so they wanted to use every chance they could to suck in information.
Circus Kathmandu is the life for these youngsters. It brings them hope, it brings them a family, and it gives them something to live for. We are happy to have had the chance to spend time with them because they reminded us what life is all about.
Circus Kathmandu will be touring in Europe this summer and on thursday they fly to Oslo to accompany Circus Xanti for a month. From there they will continue to Glastonbury festival and if you have a chance go and see them, it’s a heartwarming experience.
Spending time with the circus family, Finnish friends, and eating rye bread with good cheese made us home sick. We spent most of the time eating, sleeping, and dreaming about getting home and seeing our own family. We miss everyone so much.
In the end, Sergios’ magnificent cooking and hours of sleep made even Juhos’ stomach cool down, and now we are ready for a new adventure.
It was a sweet dream before touching back down to India.
Everyday it seems that I fall in love with our Tuk Tuk more and more. It is simply the best motorised road vehicle that has ever been designed, and it’s also the first motorised vehicle that I own.
We wrote in one of the first blogs a quote that came from someplace that I cannot remember anymore, but it went more or less like this.
The Tuk Tuk is the worst vehicle ever made, because it has all the bad sides of everything. It gives no shelter or protection like a car, and it cannot weave through traffic like a motorbike. Oh yeah, and it tips over really easily.
They were wrong, and so wrong they were. Based on this paragraph, I think the author has never driven a Tuk Tuk before because they only dwell on theory, not practice.
After a few days of driving around Thailand, I can give you a more detailed, practical approach to what the tuk tuk is. So let me rephrase the earlier paragraph into what I think is more suitable for the King’s Wagon.
The Tuk Tuk is the best vehicle ever made, because it has the best sides of all other vehicles, and even more.
With the Tuk Tuk the legs do not need to be placed on the ground when stopping, unlike a motorbike, and it is way more agile than any car on the market today, because there is only one front wheel.
Then I would continue,
The tuk tuk is more like a boat with wheels, rather than a car or a motorcycle, because it allows passengers to move about, to stretch the legs, or if needed, even to climb about on the outside. Click here to see it in action.
The Tuk Tuk is designed so that things can be hung from the roof, and they are easily accessible when needed. This cannot be done in a car, and the motorbike doesn’t even have a roof.
The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that a Hammock can be tied to, on the inside as well as the outside.
Unlike any other road vehicle, the Tuk Tuk allows the driver to change position while driving, perhaps into a lotus position, or even into a squatting position, because the throttle is operated by the right hand (or sometimes the left if you like to change).
The Tuk Tuk gives you the same feeling of freedom as the motorcycle, because there are no barriers between onboard people and mother nature.
Unlike modern cars, the Tuk Tuk has no computer chips, so the driver has full control of the vehicle at all times. Because of this, if a problem arises, it can be fixed at any local moped shop, or even by the driver themselves. No authorised, specialised, monopolised, money-vacuum garages are needed. Only a mind that has the capability of thinking on its own, and has a little logic in it.
The Tuk Tuk also makes everyone that drives past raise their thumb and cheeks towards the sky, and this makes all the people within the Tuk Tuk smile and happy.
I understand that they couldn’t write all of this into the article, because it’s a little bit longer, but at least they could have been truthful about what the Tuk Tuk really is. I believe the tuk tuk is the most versatile of all vehicles because of all of the above, and last but not least,
The Tuk Tuk is the only vehicle that can easily be modified into a transportable gastro-machine, and drive halfway across the globe to fulfil a crazy dream of making the world a better place.
These days the term ‘Empower Yourself’ has risen into the consciousness of the masses. The ever growing need to get meaning into ones life has become a huge business especially in the western world. But why is this not so in the east?
Why does the east not need empowerment and the west does? Isn’t the west more civilised? Do they not have everything better? Are they not trying to tell the rest of the world that their way is the way everyone should live to have a better life? Are they not kings of the world? Let’s look at this empowerment from a few perspectives.
If you look at the amount of food and the quality of food people eat in Finland compared to here in Thailand you see that it’s double the food and less than half the quality. In the western world food is processed over and over again losing nutrients all the time. The natural milk is processed into margarines, cheeses, yogurts, creams etc. etc. etc. The one milk that used to have all the needed nutrients is now a lot of by-products with the nutrients spread out and mostly lost in the process. Then it’s advertised that low fat and processed food is good for you. The company gets more money, and the people get more waste products. People need to eat more biomass to feel content and even that is an illusion made by added chemicals.
In Thailand the street food portions are small, but always enough. Every time you eat you feel like you get what you need. There’s no processing, no advertising and no need for all the civilised mumbo-jumbo. Eating nutritious food makes you feel content from a small amount. Your body only needs what it needs and thats it. No extra is needed. This can be seen in every other part of life as well.
In the east the people who eat street food smile and help each other without the need to get anything extra. Some don’t even have houses and they’re happy. There doesn’t seem to be the mentality where ‘I need to be better than my neighbour’. This doesn’t seem to be the case in the west.
Which is more important, to be happy, or to be wealthy?
In the west everything must grow all the time. Houses need to get bigger, cars need to be faster, economy needs to grow, technology must go forward and plates need to filled with excessive shit. People don’t seem to get what they want even though they have more and more and more and still more. Nothing seems to be enough. Inflation keeps growing and people feel they have less and less and less. Less is more in the east, more is less in the west.
So let’s go back to this empowerment thing. To be empowered is to be content, so you can live life with freedom from the need to make yourself content. Hmmm. I need to write that again.
‘Freedom from the need to make yourself content’. Interesting.
Lets look at freedom. In the west when you can support yourself financially you have money and you are well off. Money gives you freedom to do what you want. Freedom to buy food, freedom to buy wellbeing, freedom to buy this and buy that and buy all the things that you think you need to live life happy. So in the western logic money is freedom. But whats the price of this money-freedom?
To get money (Freedom) you need to get it from someplace, usually someone. So following logic, you need to take someone else’s Freedom to get some Freedom for yourself, because Freedom doesn’t grow on trees you know. When you earn yourself some Freedom, the taxman wants some for himself so that he can share your Freedom with others who aren’t so well off as you. And as we all know, all of our Freedom is slowly climbing up the ladder to the 1% that controls everyones Freedom.
In the eastern philosophy content comes from all the things that money cannot buy. Content comes from health, peace of mind and most of all from Family. In the east Family is such a big thing that its not just your relatives, but the community around you, even the strangers that come across your way. They have no homes for the elderly where grandparents die of loneliness. There they take care of each other from beginning to end and the new beginning.
Now let’s look at empowerment from the medical point of view. In the west when you are not healthy you get a pill. This again gives you the illusion of being well. In the east when a medical man diagnoses a patient, they correct their diet. They know that there’s a reason why the term ‘you are what you eat’ has been around for thousands of years. Your body needs nutrients to be able to do what it does. And let’s just be clear that nutrients ARE NOT the same as calories!!
In the west they have found surgery and again, the pill. The body is not given the chance to fix itself because that would be bad for business. In the east medical people have found acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi, martial arts, yoga and all of these physical things help nutrients buzz around your body so that the body can do what it does best, fix itself.
Don’t get this wrong. Western medical science is fantastic when the shit hits the fan, but the money men have realised it into a business. And making money out of healing means you have to convince people that they can’t heal themselves. This is plain bullshit.
Empowerment. Taking control of your own life. Do what you can to be all that you can be. Support yourself.
Everyone, and I mean everyone has a built in support system called the skeletal structure. It is designed to support the weight of your body and actually the weight of your world as well (Your world, and the way you see it, is actually your mind). The better your skeletal structure supports you, the less muscle work is needed. The less muscle work, the less energy you use, and the less stress gets put on you mind and body. This is a huge part of empowerment.
Jorgos Supporting Family Photo: Lotta Pitkänen
Mind effects body and vice-versa. Tension in the body makes tension in your thoughts, and tension in your thoughts makes tension in your body. So the term of the day is ‘let go’. Let go of your tensions. Let go of your presumptions, let go of your fears, let go of your hopes and dreams, let go of everything. What you have left after letting go is true freedom.
Freedom from yourself, from your thoughts from your tensions. This freedom allows you to have everything. It allows you to do anything you want and to be everything you ever wanted to be and more. When you let go, nothing, and I mean nothing, changes, except your view of the world and the way you feel about things. Don’t limit yourself because you’re used to it. Learn to trust yourself. Learn to trust other and learn to trust life. Circus.
Circus is family. Circus is eating right. Circus is qi gong, tai chi, yoga and everything else all put together. Circus is getting to know who you are, mind and body. Circus is a way of life. Its a way to get to know what your mind and body needs. Its a way to live without boundaries.
Circus teaches you to be more than you ever thought you could be. It teaches you trust in your support system i.e. trust in yourself, your family and life. You learn to be content without needing anything extra, because you already have all that you need. Nature gives us everything we need to live life in content. We don’t need to make ourselves content. We are content if we want to be content.
Here’s Freddy summing it up:
Circus, street food and the will to live, is empowerment. Let yourself be empowered, don’t try and make yourself empowered. Let us all be winners.
In March 2013 we decided that the time was ripe to make this madcap adventure-dream come true. Five years the idea of driving a tuk tuk from Bangkok to Helsinki had been brewing. Pyry lived in Bangkok for his teenage years and Juho had just come back from there. Both of us found ourselves in circus school and began to understand the importance of well-being and a healthy diet.
We had began to wonder how it was possible that so many restaurants make such bad food for such an outrageous price. Good food is food made with love, not from the desire to make money from people’s necessity to eat. Then the lightbulb sparked.
What if we actually do go to Bangkok and buy the tuk tuk? We could tune it up into a lean mean street cooking machine and drive it to Finland. Then we can start our own street food stall and make food with love for a reasonable price! And to fund the whole thing we can film the adventure into a TV-series and sell it all around the world!!!
So now we are here. There might be easier dreams to follow, but this one is ours. Dreams are rarely realised because they are not taken seriously. Reality is a scary place and many think their dreams are not important enough, or worth the effort to fight for their existence. This dream is important to us. This is our way to share some goodness around.
After a little trepidation we decided to get up and do something about it. We went to the tavern, ordered a few beers and stuck our heads together. How can two broke circus artists get a tuk tuk all the way to Finland?
Of course this scared the hell out of us! People naturally avoid responsibility because of fear of failure. Both of us learned from circus that failure is actually the first step towards success. Fear of failure leads to evasion of responsibility, but when you carry responsibility for your own life, you need not carry anything else. Everything is in our own hands.
We are confident that every experience along our adventure can be handled, every setback will be taken as a new possibility, and everything unexpected will be enjoyed along the way. It’s up to us to make it what it is. A lot of responsibility, a lot of freedom.
This was the first big realisation moment. Understanding that if we have the will, we’ll find the way. No one else is going to make this happen for us. Our dreams and our lives are in our own hands.
Okay, so we drive the tuk tuk to Finland and make it into a TV-series, simple as that. Eight months to learn all that needs to be learned and do all that needs to be done. Except we didn’t know what we needed to learn or do.
So we wrote a couple of emails about the concept to production companies to see if they would be interested. Not one replied, and no wonder. We were standing on a solid dream that no one else could see.
We felt that if we wait too long, this will never happen. So we started our own production company and got our second realisation. We agreed never to wait for something to happen, but instead, we would always come up with ways to make the tuk tuk dream take shape. As a consequence, we have done almost everything possible by ourself but we have also learned an unimaginable amount of thing in the process.
The next step forward was finance. It was hopeless to apply for a bank loan or attract sponsors. With nothing to show we were going in circles. Then it happened. A whale shark snatched and told Juho about crowdfunding. Straight away it felt like our own thing. It would give us start-up capital, it would work as advertising, we’d get something to show the sponsors and distributors and it would give many people the opportunity to be involved. Above all, it will make us to do instead of wait.
The third awakening. We have received a tremendous amount of support and help from friends and strangers. We have learned to ask for help and we have learned to accept help. It feels like we are doing the right thing at the right time and it’s as if we are working together as a team. A team full of friends, relatives and strangers. This has already been an inspiration to many people, including ourselves, and it will be in the future as well.
Three weeks before departure. We have been working hard for 8 months. We have sponsors and partners and distribution to four countries (as soon as we learn to write a Distribution Agreement). We still have our heads in the clouds, but we have grown our legs to the ground. We have done all that we can, as well as we can and the tuk tuk is speeding forward. There’s a vast emptiness ahead. We have planned and prepared all that we can, but an adventure is always an adventure. Emptiness makes everything possible.