San Lin Tun writes of how, in Yangon, he spends the lockdown watching a travel blog by Eva Zu Beck
Neither do I know Eva Zu Beck nor did I know Marco Polo, personally. But both of them are travellers who have impacted many. There is a difference between them because one is the traveller of 14th Century while the other is a contemporary 21st Century traveller. Marco Polo had travelled through the kingdom of Myanmar but Eva zu Beck has not yet been to Yangon.
One records his travel in a book or a diary while the other documents her travel by posting it on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media. I wonder who has got more followers, Marco Polo or Eva zu Beck? Or will it be a faux pas to compare like this?
Marco Polo, explorer and writer was a denizen of Venice as well as a Venetian merchant who travelled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295. His travels are recorded in The Travels of Marco Polo that is also known as Book of the Marvels of the World and Il Milione, c. 1300.
It is a book that revealed to Europeans the mysterious culture and inner workings of the Eastern world, including the wealth and great size of the Mongol Empire and China in the Yuan Dynasty, while giving their first comprehensive look into China, Persia, India, Japan and other Asian cities and countries.
He, in fact, dictated his stories to a cellmate named Rustichello da Pisa while in a Genoan prisoner of war. Notably and truly, his travel book inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers, ensuing after him.
You might not know Eva Zu Beck or you might have already known her. But, I think her name can precipitate some interest in you. As for me, I like to watch her vlog on YouTube and so, I plan to subscribe her channel later.
In fact, she is a young girl from Poland and she has travelled a lot for her vlogs. She says that she is a professional traveller and that means that she lives on travelling. I wonder if someone lives on traveling or not.
Recently, I happened to buy a smart television, especially for my two children — for their education and entertainment. When the TV is available for me to watch, I switch channels one after another.
These days, I like to watch new movies for getting rid of my boredom caused by stay-at-home measures of the pandemic. It is the only way to overcome that dilemma. If you lose your interest in life, imagine what living will be like.
During this time, my taste in movies has noticeably changed. Now, I like to watch Russian, Iranian, Tamil movies among others. These films seem to be more artistic and better-developed than yesteryear’s movies to me. I feel that way because I had been a staunch fan of Hollywood, Bollywood and Kung Fu movies. I find new flavours in them and watch them again and again. Then, I like to watch documentaries and other interesting channels relating to travel, vacation, nature etc.
During my surfs through the internet, I unintentionally found Eva Zu Beck’s vlog while I was on a lookout for engrossing channels to ward off my fatigue and weariness of the mind. Then, I found her vlog. I do not know what exactly attracted me to her vlog.
I watch one vlog and I have become hooked to her other vlogs one after another. She took me to new places I have not been before. Her charm and simplicity are part of her charism. She is not pompous, less of a show-off. The down-to-earth style nurtured by her is very well suited to travel blogs.
I like to follow her wherever she leads me to. She leads me on her cycling experiences across Poland to Germany for some days. It is a daunting task for her. Here in Myanmar, two years ago, the founder of Uncharted Horizon, a real lanky and strongly built man named Jochen Meissner went on a cycling venture from Yangon to Singapore in hope of raising funds for good causes.
When I met him for an interview, he eagerly told me that it took them nearly a month to reach the destination. He briefed me that he would do the cycling to Nepal in the next year. He postponed it because of the outbreak of the pandemic.
In terms of cycling, I find that Eva is a daring cyclist. She stops at camp sites for resting and carried on her cycling tour until she reached her destination. Even, she cried bitterly when she faced real difficulties, I felt sorry for her.
She explained that she was inspired by her grandfather, also a great traveller. She read out some texts from her grandfather’s notebook in a tent. It was truly inspirational. When I watch her explanation of how she got a million subscribers, I felt she really deserved it.
In one of her interviews, she answered that she gave up everything including her previous job to travel fully and to become a full-time traveller. I learnt quite a lot from watching her vlogs. Her vlogs gave me new experiences and new dimension to life.
Nowadays, if I want to travel, I just need to switch on the YouTube channel and watch Eva’s vlog I don’t need to have passport or visa for travelling. It is one of the best things in life. I just watch her vlog and she will be my travelling guide and companion who will take me to places which I have never been or experienced before.
I feel wonderful because I feel belonged to those places and feel like I have become a global nomad while I am just sitting in my small living room without spending anything thanks to Eva Zu Beck.
San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short story and novel in Myanmar and English. His publications have appeared in several magazines such as Asia Literary Review, Kitaab, NAW, PIX, Mad in Asia Pacific, Mekong Review, Ponder Savant and others. He is the author of a novel “An English Writer.”
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