Last Adventurer: Life of Michio Kanda

Michio Kanda was a record-holding balloonist, who went missing off the coast of Alaska on Feb 1, 2008. He was attempting a solo crossing of the Pacific by balloon.

This book was written by one of his “disciple”, who is also a famous adventurer himself, Naoki Ishikawa.

The resemblance of the life of Kanda to that of Naomi Uemura was almost painful to read. The “last word” by Kanda, “I will go as far as I can” did remind me of Uemura’s final word on his notebook (Surprisingly, the author saw the same connection).

Sad ending, indeed. But you have to admit, that there are beautiful sparkles in his life. He was so sincere to his ideal. Almost ruthless in protecting his ideas about adventure. That is hard to find.

I never wanted to be an adventurer in a traditional sense, but somehow I am addicted to hear their stories. I start understanding why. Probably it is because their stories and lives are so condensed and pure, that their lives become “artistic.” If I may quote from the previous book I have read, “It was as if I could actually see ‘life’ itself with my eyes.” It is complete opposite to our daily life, that is so diluted that we can’t even taste nor smell… Listening to the stories of adventurers are great relief and reminder that this is not all there is.

Quote from the last chapter;

So many people are forced to live their lives, holding back their true passion, as if they are dead men walking. Adventurers, on the other hand, choose the path leading death, in order to live. Sticking to one’s belief is often viewed awkward, but Kanda was living his life in the purest form. He bet everything to live an authentic life, to follow his passion.