Juraj Horniak, a 60 year old modern-day Don Quixote, decides to break free from the shackles of a comfortable existence and embark on a life-changing adventure. He will set forth on a solitary walk along the coast of the Mediterranean, all the way from Algeciras to Istanbul, in an epic journey of 8,000 kilometres. Slowly, step by step, 8 million steps.
An ardent admirer of the Mediterranean culture, Juraj is horrified by the thought that it might be disappearing, losing out to the insidious advance of globalised consumerism. He believes that the Mediterranean is the emotional and spiritual heart of Europe, and the key objective of his project is to explore the tension between traditional values and the pressures of modern life. Will the ancient civilisation adapt and evolve without losing its identity?
Juraj’s long meander will be refreshingly unhurried, extolling back-to-our-roots virtues of slow living. The 8 Million Steps crew, directed by Juraj’s daughter Maia Horniak, will document the journey, weaving a colourful tapestry of culture, food, art, history and traditions of the regions along the shores of the Mediterranean. Walking 25km per day on average, Juraj will commence in Spain and then traverse France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Turkey.
The 8 Million Steps project has a powerful ally in the Slow Food movement. Headed by Carlo Petrini, named one of the Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, the movement has over 150,000 members in 150 countries.
Slow Food has placed its extensive Mediterranean network at our disposal – artists and writers, food and wine producers, chefs, historians, community leaders… hundreds of kindred souls who will share their views and stories with us. Our weekly video posts will be featured on Slow Food’s website, reaching an audience of hundreds of thousands world-wide. We are going to involve our online followers during the journey for their local insights, secret tips and interviewee suggestions, so they can literally participate in the project.
The journey will be documented in a cross-platform body of work, including a feature film, a TV documentary series, website, blog and a compilation of original music recorded along the way. Juraj will also invite well-known local writers and photographers to join him for a few days and lend him their point of view, resulting in a book of stories and images by a selection of artists.
The 8 Million Steps walk starts on the 10th of March 2014 and, if all goes well, it'll take exactly a year to complete.