A Passion For Adventure Can’t Be Explained, It Is A Calling: Adventures Of Ivan Kutasov

At first glance, Ivan Kutasov appears as a rather ordinary fellow. He is 31 years old, he works as a programmer at an IT company in Prague, and in the evenings he goes for a beer with friends. However, this is just one side of his life. Literally every weekend, including wintertime, he grabs a tent and runs away from civilization as far as he can, and every year he embarks on a long-term expedition, which lasts for several months, through the northern latitudes of our planet. The only products of civilization that he takes along are a camera, a tent, and some cereal and crackers. This article marks the first of a series of stories about Ivan's adventures. Henceforth the story will be narrated from the author's perspective

photo by Ivan Kutasov

People often ask me, why am I so attracted to the wilderness? What can be so fascinating about the Arctic? For the sake of what are you forsaking warmth and comfort for a tent, rain, and mosquitoes? What are you running away from..? And the weirdest thing is that I don’t have a valid answer to these questions, certainly not that would satisfy someone who spends every holiday lying on the beach…It is somewhere deep inside, it is a calling.

photo by Ivan Kutasov

I was born in Moscow, and from an early age my parents instilled in me a love of the wilderness. When I was 6 years old, I went on my first expedition. Far back in the year 1990, my big family and I traveled across the Caucasus for two weeks, and covered a distance of 130 kilometers. It was my first escape from the civilized world, and during all of my subsequent summer holidays I’ve spent at least a month away from civilization. We went across the Khibiny Mountains, the Altai region, Sayan, and Kamchatka…where we hiked with backpacks for 250 kilometers.            

At the age of 12, I took part in my first grand expedition to the Arctic. I was a cabin boy on a 7-meter long yacht which sailed to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. The crew consisted of 6 people, and we spent a month in the Arctic. It was a month of struggling against hunger, frost, the elements, and with myself. That was when I fell in love with the Arctic once and for all.        

When I was 13 years old, my father and I went to the tundra. We were taken into the wild by a helicopter, and at the end of 5 weeks they picked us up at a different location. We had no means of communicating with the outside world – only a compass and a map. Every day we covered approximately 25 kilometers without any pathways or landmarks. Our daily ration consisted of 80 grams of cereal and crackers. We took nourishment mainly from the food that was under our feet: fish, berries, mushrooms, wild birds, and their eggs. We didn’t take rifles, and though we came across bears, most of the time they stayed away from us. We caught wild fowl with our bare hands by cornering the molting geese under a rock. The next year we also went to the tundra, and the year after that…again and again…going farther and deeper. Frankly speaking, I’ve lost count of the number of times we went there. Nevertheless, time after time it turned into a real adventure, a challenge, and a struggle.              

And in 2014 I was privileged to take part in an expedition organized under the patronage of the Russian Geographical Society, in the course of which I traveled to the Novaya Zemlya for the second time. One of our goals was to install memorial markers on these islands. We installed a memorial cross in the northern part of the Dolgyi Island to honor the pilgrims who traveled from Solovki to Siberia and were murdered in 1736. And we installed a cross on Matveev Island in honor of the northerners who fell in battles during the Second World War. The expedition comprised 18 people, and I was the youngest member of that crew.  

photo by Jon Grantangen

In the summer of 2015, I participated in an international expedition to Spitsbergen, where we spent a total of three month beyond the Arctic Circle. During that time, we traveled through Norway and successfully went round the Svalbard archipelago. We also reached the north latitude of 81° 03′, and in so doing so I broke my own record. It is my dream to make it another 9° to the north and reach the North Pole.           

Let me tell you something about myself. In 2003 I moved to the Czech Republic to acquire an education. Currently I work as a programmer. I’m also fond of traveling on a motorcycle across Europe, and photography. 

photo by Ivan Kutasov

This is the first installment in an exclusive series of articles written specifically for the Youth Time Magazine. In these articles I would like to tell the tale of my adventures and travels in greater detail.  

Join Ivan Kutasov on social networks: FBVK and Instagram.


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