Marta Kołodziejczak, the leader of the Planet Passionate project at Balex Metal talks to Mateusz Syrek, a traveler who carries out a series of documentaries Houses of the World.

What do we miss when we go out into the world?

M.S.: Before embarking on my journey, I worked for five years for the world's largest travel agency, Thomas Cook. Cook invented the tourism business 180 years ago by organizing the first group train journey from one city to another in England. At that time, I was responsible for creating static ads for magazines, the Internet, and multimedia. They were displayed in the Thomas Cook chain of stores in Great Britain. I was soaking up the commercials I was preparing and asking myself why am I not there? Apparently, I had everything: work in London City, in a truly international team, and a good salary. But I felt that routine sterilized a person, that it could be otherwise. I haven't been able to sacrifice my life for stabilization, early retirement that is a lifetime's waiting. And then, as I say from the observation of the older generation, you are too exhausted to think about anything more than a TV remote control. Carpe diem ... I felt so.

Traveling alone may be boring or sad?

M.S.: This would be the case if I wandered through the wilderness, while in Asia the problem is an excess of friends, i.e. dozens of invitations a day for coffee, for dinner, for a while, for a selfie. It happens that someone asks: you are going alone, you are definitely a bit sad. They don't know what they're talking about. Working in a giant corporation, I have not met as many people face to face as on this trip. Now I even run away from people and dream of spending the night on the sidelines, which can be difficult because the safest places are temples or police stations. New friends surround the strange stranger in a second and push him into the crossfire of questions.

Is the bike that you travel so many kilometers special? Serviced in a special way?

M.S.: It is special to me because it gives me a sense of stability in a spinning world. It is a support for me, a shelter, an extension of my limbs. The bike is part of me. It's true, however, that before I bought it, I thought about a lot of things, if only because in Africa, bicycle parts stores are every 2000 km and it's unofficial hidden in garages so as not to pay taxes. Therefore, it had to be a safe bike and I chose one, with 36 spokes, and anti-puncture tires. Probably everyone is wondering how much did it cost? It's not a secret! 5000 PLN. But the frame, although very good, is used with Allegro. Without it, the price would be PLN 8,000. At first glance, the bike looks modest because it is made of universal parts, which I had to provide in every small town in the world. The experience of using it in various zones confirms that it does not have to be an expensive bike. Kazimierz Nowak (a pioneer of Polish reportage) traveled around Africa in the years 1931-1936 on a bicycle without gears, which can be found in Poland next to old country cottages, and on the Allegro it does not cost more than PLN 200.

Do you even think about life after? What will it be like without constantly moving around, meeting new people ... without this bike?

M.S.: Everyone keeps saying that the hardest thing is to stop traveling. I am writing these words from Indonesia where I was invited to Bali to the millionaire's estate. I had a separate house, several pools, a private beach, and everything we will see in paradise after death. However, I escaped from there, even though it was an absolute top. Over time, I felt the same pain, sadness, and unfulfillment that I know from my routine life as determined by the 9-17 rhythm. “Being on the road”, that is, keeping your eyes on the horizon, experiencing the unexpected, worrying about the night's sleep every day, feeling the adrenaline and uncertainty of tomorrow - it tastes different. In the last 3 years, I haven't had a single second of hesitation, I can't imagine going back now. I'm just too good.

Does latitude change our attitude to nature and animals or does it affect the awareness of the surrounding environment?

M.S.: In Poland, there are shrines with crosses, and in India, monuments to sacred animals. Cows in herds traverse not only villages but also metropolises, and there is no greater compliment than comparing someone to this mystical animal. There is no clear answer here because where, for example, it is built with ecological materials, which results from tradition, but also serves the environment, the rubbish is taken out in front of the house at the same time and it is burned. Where waste is segregated and handled responsibly, it is built from non-ecological materials and abuses as much of the natural resources as possible. Each of the latitudes must seek this balance in its own way.

The Video series Houses of the world that you relate to is almost magical. Which house of those in which you were welcomed did you most remember?

M.S.: Once, in India, I met a man who had a house in the open air, and however it may sound, heaven was also in his eyes. He invited me. He lit a fire by the road, which was a substitute for stabilization. Road users sometimes stopped to buy coffee cooked over the fire. This man gave me money to say goodbye.

If I ask you to finish the sentence: the most important part of the house for its inhabitants in Asia is?

M.S.: In Asia, people do not have several rooms, because the house is a large open space, the function of which changes depending on the time of day and the needs of the residents. During a meal, you must sit on the floor cross-legged and put mats in the central house. I have repeatedly pointed out that lying down and leaning on the elbow is unacceptable. After the meal, there is time for a long siesta, smoking, and family gatherings, which are the meaning of life in Asia. I used to point out to an American friend who had lived in Asia for 20 years that he felt guilty driving down the road and watching people sitting motionless in front of the house. He replied: - No need. They love it. The meaning of their lives is that they have a sister, brother, and parents. In the evening, the largest space in the house turns into bedrooms with a series of mats for a usually large family.

The most addictive in traveling according to Marek Syrek is?

M.S.: Wake up in the morning feeling happy, absolutely free, and unpredictable. Awareness of the skillful use of life in the face of inexorably escaping time. Drinking coffee with random people. Reading e-books in the evening on a reader with a backlit screen.