Extraordinary Ordinaries: Trio on kayaking quest for knowledge

Walter Allen reports

- An early January day starts with Kesh Prashad entertaining houseguests. Three men who are from out of town, just passing through.

"[It’s a] privilege that they came to spend time with me and my dogs and my family," says Kesh.

A week before, these men had never met. They crossed paths at a marina in Sarasota, and it's their story of how they got there, and where they’re going, that made them quick friends.

"When we do tell the story, people have a time of reflection: ‘ok kayaks…so you have a car too?’,” explains Luc LaBelle of the reactions he and his friends receive.

It takes a minute before people fully understand that LaBelle and his two friends have been traveling, solely by kayak, for the past seven months.

“After that they say ‘7 months!’, and it is impressive, but to us, it’s our normal business.”

"We spent 10 days in Canada, and then we'll spend a whole year in the U.S., then about five months in Mexico,” explains one of LaBelle’s fellow travelers, Nuka DeJocas. “So we'll be a year-and-a-half of paddling."

Prashad let the three men stay at his place until they were ready to get back to their journey, which will last 18 months in its entirety.

It's part of a project to document the trip and use then use it for educational purposes when they get back to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The three spent two years getting sponsors and raising money. They also accept challenges from their donors, and put the videos online on their website: www.DeFigoFetch.com

Though the education is meant for others, they say they, too, have turned into students themselves.

"It's like anything else. You go to school to be confronted with problems and to find solutions makes…,” says DeJocas. “…That’s what we're doing . We're going on the water and we're being confronted with all these obstacles, and that’s what makes us grow in the end.”

Even the people they talk to, or even stay with, end up soaking in more than they planned.

"At 43, I thought I gave up the ghost, but then I see these guys and they inspire me, and they say I inspired them," says Prashad.

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