hero image Freedom Expedition

Freedom Expedition


What happens if 20 almost-strangers decide to find an obscure destination – “Freedom” – in the Dutch seas? On Sunday 6th of August, 150 eggs and 40kg of other produce from a local farmer were delivered on board of our ship. The sound system and DJ set were loaded, too. Together with Piratas Do Amor – in months leading up to this moment, we prepared a week-long co-creative expedition & experiment in community living. All was ready to set sail from port Enkhuizen the following morning... in search of Freedom.

Nobody, including the crew, has ever done anything quite like that before. From the participants who bought a ticket to the Unknown, to the crew who signed up to co-create a journey there – everyone was facing their own unknown. 
Our maroon sails and wooden hull were pommeled by the high seas in the first two days across IJsselmeer. Unfazed by the weather conditions: some of us grey from seasickness and others joyfully pulling the ropes and operating the whinges, we made it to the open Wadden Sea on Wednesday morning – when, at last, the weather gods have shown their mercy. 
When you leave things undefined, you make yourself vulnerable – but also: open to growth and lessons it may bring.
This shaped the entire experiment: people gradually opening up and feeling at ease: to show and share their own definition of Freedom. In a peculiar way, all 20 of us turned out to be “growth junkies” – people addicted – in one way or another – to expanding and exploring the outside of their comfort zones and social narratives. When you leave things undefined, you make yourself vulnerable – but also: open to growth and lessons such an experience may bring.
DJI 0509
On Thursday 10 August – the 4th day of the journey – De Chateauroux has dryfallen. That morning each of us has woken up to being on a different planet. The world turned upside down: our ship anchored firmly to the bottom of the sea, wet sand reflecting the sky above: what’s up and what’s down wasn’t no longer clear - or relevant… …but there was sunrise, there was music, there were people dancing to the beat of their hearts - and in that moment – it was all that mattered.
Shooting stars faithfully accompanied us every night: the ship quietly being lulled into slumber and people having their last conversations on deck before heading to bed – watching one of Nature’s most beautiful spectacles.Sometimes the wind wasn’t in our favour, neither was the tide and sometimes we ran out of drinking water before reaching the next harbour – but the shared camaraderie on board made it part of the adventure. Under the knowing hand of our skipper and mate, all 5 of our sails were filled with wind: nothing but the force of nature pushing the ship, cutting through the waters – towards the next destination. And the one after that.
Nobody could predict how would it be to let go of the identities and beliefs. Nobody could imagine how challenging it would be to confront and swim in our own depths without a chance to escape – where the only way was to jump and to take a leap.
It’s going to take some time to comprehend exactly what the Freedom Expedition was - individually and as a community. It brought lessons to everyone and helped us forge beautiful connections. But above all, it's comforting to know that words would always fail to fully describe the feeling which connected all 20 almost-strangers — that one week of summer 2023.
Text: Laura Sagen
Photos: Natassja Ebert
Cons-pirates: Piratas Do Amor