By: Jiyi Zheng, Program Intern Spring, a time of renewal and growth. The cycle of…
Marc Oddo is heading to Europe this Summer for an incredible kayak adventure
By Elena Shahen, 2019 Summer Intern
Marc Oddo, a Pittsburgh Native, will be embarking overseas on June 5th to the Danube River. This is where he and a friend plan to kayak almost 2,000 miles. This is his second big Kayaking adventure.
Marc’s first big trip happened a few years ago. He saved up enough money working at Kayak Pittsburgh to paddle from the North Shore Kayak Pittsburgh location, all the way to New Orleans.
He first fell in love with kayaking when a friend gave him a kayak and he used it as a mode of transportation to get back and forth from work every day.
Marc is inspired to take long paddling trips with two simple things in mind; the first being that he is going to die one day, and the second is clarity. Marc explained how kayaking allows him the space to think without worries of the past, present, or future. The river can pull his worries away on its current.
“I’m chasing clarity and a calm mind, and I feel like I should at least learn to appreciate life before I die,” said Marc. More specifically, Marc has an appreciation for being able to wash his clothes and hair in the river every morning.
So Marc takes to the water again, but this time he’ll be passing through 11 or 12 different Eastern European Countries. His journey will begin in the Black Hills of Germany and end down at the Black Sea of Romania. This trip will take 2 to 3 months, with Marc averaging about 25 to 35 miles of paddling per day.
This is not new to him, being that he had paddled between 45 to 70 miles a day on the Ohio and Mississippi. Marc says he plans on steadily moving down the river, but looks forward to stopping in the bigger cities to check out any National Forests, Monastery Breweries, or other beautiful attractions along the way.
One of Marc’s favorite kayaking memories was when he pulled an overnight paddle during a full moon. He was coming from Louisville and was passing Fort Knox when Marc and his friend thought they both saw a UFO.
The rest of the night was eery, foggy, and quiet. By the time the sun rose and he could see the mile markers, Marc realized they had paddled over 70 miles. After that he found an amazing camp spot on the side of a cliff, and had the best sleep of his life.
“I’m still wary of taking on more exotic rivers of the world, so this is kind of a kiddie hill for me. I’ll get to understand logistics of travel better and hopefully it will lead me to other amazing river adventures across the world,” said Marc.
For his Europe trip, Marc is preparing for anything that could happen, from bad weather to gypsy robberies, or maybe even some aggressive wildlife. He has only packed the essentials, tarp, hammock, bug net, cooking supplies, and rain gear. As for clothing he is taking a more unconventional approach and plans on having one pair of zippable pants, water shoes, and one or two shirts. One shirt reppin Venture Outdoors :)
Marc feels that his first steps at Kayak Pittsburgh is what lead him to go out and take big adventures like this one. Not only does he credit Kayak Pittsburgh for helping him learn how to judge if a river is save to paddle, river navigation, kayaking techniques, and general safety, but how Kayak Pittsburgh taught him about being okay with being an amateur.
“Seeing people kayak for the 1st time and coming back with huge smiles on their faces made me feel like if they can do it for an hour out there, I can do or a few hours anywhere,” said Marc.
So what is next for Marc Oddo? He definitely wants to plan for another big river trip next spring or even travel to the Southern Hemisphere for a paddle in the winter. Marc tells us he has something exciting brewing up in Sicily in September and will update us more when he can talk about it.
I know everyone here at Venture Outdoors and Kayak Pittsburgh look forward to seeing Marcs updates on this journey, and if you want to learn more about his last big trip you can check out his blog
“When we look back at how we are today and our successes, we tend to think of our hardships first. So I say bring it on, and hopefully there will at least be a cold beer waiting for me somewhere.”