Imagine yourself going to Antarctica.
“Why would I go there?” you ask.
A good question. To even think of venturing to such a distant, frigid place, blanketed in snow and inhabited by penguins, might seem challenging to justify. But not for Tony. Spending 10 days of Raja Ampat trip with Tony on our vessel, MSV Katharina, he has so many stories to tell, things that are so far from imagination.
Tony Ledvina or Tony, loves to not only travel but also activities like football, biking, hiking, etc. With a smile on his face, he told us how they took a toll on his knees and feet leading to recent foot surgery. Shortly after recovering, he resumed his journey, ultimately finding his way to SeaTrek and Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
The World Under His Feet
Retired for almost two years now, Tony dedicates his newfound free time to what he cherishes the most: travel. Living in Las Vegas, United States, he visited Raja Ampat after a series of trips and journeys.
He has visited Antarctica, Chile, Jordan, Egypt, Hawaii, and so many more places all in the 2 years of his retirement, and always comes back with just the most amazing stories. Even on the first night we met, he showed us a video of penguins in Antarctica, walking as if they were in a city going about their busy day on penguin highways made of snow. It was an adorable, delightful sight.
The Solitude Inside
The thing I noticed about Tony is that he doesn’t mind being alone on his journey. A few times I caught Tony just sitting outside on the main deck, nothing in his hands, looking out to the sea for quite a long time. For some people, looking at the same waters, the islands, it might get boring after a while, but he seemed to be enjoying the solitude.
I came up to him asking if he often travels alone and he said yes. Being alone simply doesn’t stop him from seeing the world. He hasn’t found anyone to accompany him yet, most of the people he knows are working, with not much time at hand. However, again, with a smile of positivity on his face. He said that one time he went for a solo trip driving alone for days, and in the end, he needed someone to accompany him. We are all humans after all.
Treasuring Every Moment, Every Being
When you snorkel with Tony, one thing you’d see is the way he always has his GoPro in his hands. He captured the big fish, the small fish, something’s that’s a little blue, a little red, they all go into the lens of his camera. One day he got back from snorkeling and the first thing he asked was “Did you see the school of blue fish earlier?”, I was happy that I could say yes. It was a school of Blue Fusiliers, so big and so many of them going about their day.
It’s no secret that Raja Ampat has a rich underwater life, but Tony paid special attention to its soil. Whenever we were visiting a village, while the rest of the group walked by, he seemed to be very fascinated by the plants growing by the sidewalk. One time as I walked beside him, I saw him taking pictures of a group of trees, talking to himself, “There are so many plants that I’ve never seen”. Later on, when we talked, he said his background is Geography, and something just clicked in my head. It’s just admirable how he loves the field he was in, even after his retirement.
As the days went by, one wholesome thing I saw about Tony was the way he treasures little moments very dearly. We were having a barbecue night on a beach, and the crew got their guitars to perform Indonesian songs for us. He asked around to me, to the crew, “What’s the name of that song?” as he opened the memo on his phone. He took notes of the songs so that he could find them later, so that he could listen to them again. We helped him find some of those songs and I secretly hoped that he would listen to them and remember all the good things of Indonesia.
Dream Come True
Tony mentioned the way he had so many maps of the world in his room, and Indonesia took quite the space on his wall. He had seen so many things, but this time Raja Ampat, Indonesia, known for its beauty and underwater richness, had gained a check on his list. By the time we had to part ways to our own destinations, Tony mentioned the way he would definitely come back for another trip with us, to see more of Indonesia. It’s safe to say how he had fallen in love with the country, like we all did.
May his journey never end.