Start » Profile of Palkiewicz - part 1
At first glance there is nothing to distinguish him from the crowd except perhaps a confident posture, the spring in his step and well-honed powers of observation. Not everyone who meets Jacek Palkiewicz is willing to offer him friendship. Some claim that modesty is not one of his sins and that he is too confident in his own abilities. Others are offended by the arrogance, egoism, impertinence and conceit contained in the following words: "I will win any game you choose to play, not because I am more intelligent or stronger, but because I never tire and you do." Still others remember a sentence broadcast in a commercial for an Italian bicycle: "Wherever you go, we've already been there."
Some accuse him of cultivating an exaggerated image of a tough guy: ruthless determination, emotional camouflage, Spartan self-control, brevity, stony distance and a demanding level of personal fitness by means of training, shooting practice using a Glock, etc. There are also those, primarily individuals who have failed to realize their own ambitions, who are annoyed by the cult of Palkiewicz and out of envy attempt to destroy his reputation – sitting in their comfortable chairs, they make rash judgments.
Those who have been able to get to know this frenetic traveler and born leader admit that this first impression is misleading. Under a seemingly cold demeanor, there is a "normal" man. A strong personality, loyalty, directness, professionalism and charisma with time provoke curiosity and later attract and engender affection. A handful of committed fans are more than sufficient. Each, amazed by his thrilling life, is prepared to forgive him for a lack of sensitivity, an uncompromising nature and raw and brutal honesty, frequently interpreted as an unpleasant way of being.
As a rule people do not hide their jealousy of what he has done and experienced or the richness of impressions and thrills of emotion he has accumulated at every latitude of our planet. The American weekly Newsweek, with appreciation for his obsessive curiosity about the world, included him among the last generation of explorers. His successors will no longer be able to enjoy the fascinating colors of a camel caravan, meadows on the plateaus of Bhutan or elephants in the jungles of Indochina.
Italian writer Vittorio G. Rossi, highly impressed by his passion for life, wrote: "He has a sense of adventure in the same way that he has ears and a nose. On land and sea he has achieved unforgettable deeds. He is tough and able to fight every difficulty, but can also admit that fear and pain are inseparable companions in his life."
"Life gives every person as much as he has the courage to take and I have no intention of giving up anything that is my due," he once wrote. Another time he said: "Life is too short not to search for instant gratification." Palkiewicz is certainly addicted to adrenaline. It would seem that these full and rich emotional experiences are the main value that gives sense to his life.
He speaks several languages fluently and moves with ease in New York, Saigon, Paris and Caracas. As a master of survival he is not afraid of getting lost in the desert or Amazon jungle. Duel citizenship allowed him to be one of the first Poles to enjoy the benefits of European Union citizenship many years ago. He enjoys even greater popularity abroad than in his own country, earning universal admiration in Russia and Italy, where he is called "secondo Polacco", the second Pole (after the Pope).
This daring explorer caught the irresistible virus of curiosity in the world in a provincial town in Mazuria, where he memorized the entire atlas. In 1970 he traveled to Italy, where – in his own words – "he fell into Linda's arms." The elegant Latino brunette of ideal beauty who became his wife tells a somewhat different story: "Initially, I didn't want to see him, but later he gained my affection thanks to a strong personality, engendering a feeling of safety and trust."
Soon after the wedding, he visited Genoa, where he passed an exam to become a 2nd Mate, administered by a commission at the Liberian consulate. Without a seaman's school or experience at sea, he achieved a level which is normally gained after many years of work.
After two years of tortuous, as he describes it, existence, he found a position briefly at a gold mine in Ghana, a job he quit after a good friend died in a mining accident. At those times his greatest fascination was the Black Continent. He traveled to Sierra Leone, where he was employed as a security officer at Selection Trust, an opencast diamond mine in Yèngeme, owned by the British. "Living conditions", Jacek recalls, "were satisfactory: a spacious lodge with servants, silverware, French wine, a terrace with a view of a golf course…"
Read short biography of Jacek Palkiewicz as an introduction to his profile.
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