How I discovered my Passion to write Songs by Fred Freitag Freedom was always of great importance in my life; and my longing for adventure soon developed into a passion that triggered my Imagination. What is behind the mountain, beyond the sea, inside great jungles or virgin forest? I wondered. My desire to explore nature and other countries became strong enough to fill my eyes with tears. Good music could speak to me and some lyrics or poems could make me "see" the whole picture; yes, they could certainly influence my feelings. At the age of sixteen my parents gave me a guitar as a birthday present and soon I practiced some sailor songs, love songs, and songs about the Mediterranean scene. Two years later and after I had graduated from hotel-business school, I rode my bicycle over the Alps to Italy. The small town Riva at Garda Lake was so idyllic that I wrote a song about it. My imagination ran wild and a day later I sang and played it on my guitar. The next song was 'Romance in Santa Margarita' and a few days later I wrote 'The Song of the Night' in d-minor. Being alone, and the first time in a foreign country, helped me to perceive the romantic impressions with greatest sensitivity. I could hardly believe that I had written these songs and it became one of my greatest passions. I learned to get up very early in the morning: When the sun "grilled" my tent, this was easy. Sometimes I just wrapped myself with blanket and tent and slept under a tree, farther away from houses. Once I ended up on a grave yard and chose a "nice" spot behind a grave. As I woke up in the morning, I heard someone raking the soil nearby. So I got up, yawned and stretched my arms out with blanket and tent hanging from my arms. Suddenly I saw the gardener throw the rake away and ran like a sprinter.- At first I had to laugh because it was really funny. Then I felt sorry for the guy and tried to clear up the "mystery". But he was nowhere to be found.- I could write a book about my trips and adventures but now I have to fly over most details to stay with the subject.- About one hundred km was my daily average. My new bicycle, loaded with a heavy packsack, covered with my guitar and an oversize sombrero I had made out of a deer hide, was quite a sight. Sometimes people waved their hands to wish me well or even invited me to a meal in a nearby restaurant. Over Bolzano and Trento I came to Florence where I spent my last money on spaghetti and meat sauce. I believed that real romantic adventure begins by finding sweetness in the hard times of life and I was about to get a good taste of it. But people were kind to me and always gave me something to eat. I often rode my bike around the big well in the center of most towns and stopped to have a big drink of water.- Many times people asked me to play a song for them and I felt delighted to please them. Even they couldn't understand the words, they loved the songs. It was fun for me to make people happy and it motivated me to write and entertain. It seemed that I had some "inner connection" helping me. I read that strong good desires always help us to reach our goals when we visualize and truly believe in them - and my desires were to write, to compose and to see the world. People invited me for a meal or brought me fruit to eat. I was very thankful. When I was twenty, I bought a foldable kayak and paddled the river Rhine from Switzerland through Germany to Rotterdam Harbor in Holland. A year later I crossed the Baltic Sea from Germany to Danmark and Sweden. My guitar was always with me and I was often invited by friendly people who wondered about my adventures and songs. During the winter season I used to work in Swiss and German Hotels and saved enough money for my next kayak trip. When the grass grew green again, my friend Manfred and I paddled the French rivers Saone and Rhone to the Gypsy Festival in San Marie de la Mer near Marseille. We were impressed by Gypsy music, their dances and life style, and wrote articles for a newspaper. A week later we pushed our kayaks through the three foot surf, swam after them, removed their spray covers, and entered them over the stern like riding a horse. Then we set sail, heading for the clear waters of the Costa Brava in Spain. For this trip we had equipped our kayaks with a large 30 square foot sail area (3 square meters) consisting of mainsail and jib. Sailing the Mediterranean coast was a new and beautiful experience. We greatly enjoyed a few days in Barcelona and tried a great number of delicious wines. Then we took the train home over the magnificent Swiss Alps. The memories of this adventure, mixed with imaginations and dreams, developed years later into some meaningful songs: 'Treasures in a Gypsy's Heart', 'Love is Music' and two songs in Spanish: 'Cuando me veas' and 'Te espero con ansiedad'. At the age of twenty six I immigrated to Canada on the ship 'Arcadia'. While I observed icebergs and a huge grey whale from the upper deck I noticed a very pretty young lady with an intriguing radiance of intelligence. I handed her my binoculars to watch the whale while my eyes were fixed on her face. Contrary to my plans to concentrate on working and saving, I fell in love with her. She was going to Calgary to meet friends and I was heading for Vancouver to find a job.- Was it my desire power or was it destiny?- Three years later we were married. I wrote a poem and three songs for Renate and we are very happy. The poem I called 'The Castle of Love' and the songs are ' I See Love', 'The Edelweiss Princess' and 'I Found the Answer in Barbados'. We worked the summer season, bought a second kayak and took the bus to Mexico. Kayaking and camping was not expensive; and when we met a group of nice people on the campground in Mazatlan, we enjoyed their company very much. Soon they invited us to join their convoy, traveling to Mexico City, Taxco, and Acapulco. We all became good friends. If there is still a paradise on earth, I think we've been there. We had been about five month in Mexico when one of the guys had to return to Canada to attend his business. Ted offered us a trip to Toronto; but first we got a free ride to Yucatan to see the historic ruins of Mayan temples and pyramids. We had a great time and took a lot of pictures. In Toronto we had worked hard for several years when we met Konrad, the second chef of the Sky Line Hotel. He also loved outdoor adventures and my idea to paddle 2400 km on Yukon, Blackstone, Peel, and Mackenzie-River to the Arctic Sea excited him enough to join us. I ordered the third kayak and we all worked on the details of our film expedition for a few more month. When the ice had melted, we arrived in Whitehorse by Greyhound bus and unloaded three foldable kayaks, camping equipment and cameras. We soon had built up our boats, set up camp and filmed all historic sites in Whitehorse. Two weeks later we paddled through Lake Laberge and the Five Finger Rapids to Dawson City. There we hired a four wheel drive to bring us to the Blackstone River. There we were facing the real adventure: From here on we were alone. For a thousand kilometers there was no road and no air-patrol and the only direction to go, was north.- We had 'close calls' in the rapids on Yukon and Peel River; and Renate once saved my life by cutting me free from the branches of a fir tree that obstructed the Blackstone River: My kayak was trapped in the branches upside down. She landed quickly, walked over the tree trunk and cut the branches below with her machete. She then grabbed the bow line and pulled the kayak out of the branches. Now I was free to swim ashore and help her landing the kayak. Then we chased after Konrad who had also been capsized by the tree. We met him half a mile downstream ashore, bailing the water from his kayak. We hugged each other and had a good laugh. Before we arrived in Inuvik, we met John Charly, the chief of the Looshoo Indians. He introduced us to his family and invited us for dinner in his log house. In Inuvik a friendly Native gave us a ride in his wooden river-boat to bring us safely through the Mackenzie Delta. We got stuck twice but he had the right intuition to find his way out of this labyrinth. He told us that several White Men's canoes had been found in the delta and that it takes a special sense to find the right way through. 'We met because the Great Spirit guided you,' he said when he helped us unloading our kayaks. He then shook our hands and turned toward Whitefish Bay while we paddled along the coast and crossed sixteen miles to Tuktoyaktuk. About fifty Eskimos welcomed us as we landed late at night. We stayed about a week and took the last flight of the year from the Arctic by sea plane to Norman Wells, where we boarded a DC-3 scheduled to Edmonton, Alberta. Yes, we had found the sweetness in the harshness of life by daring to challenge wild rivers of the North. We shot great rapids on Yukon and Peel River and lived to tell the story. We had seen cranes in their habitat, a great wolf and a grizzly bear and many moose.- But most of all, we found good friends among Native Indians and Inuits who helped us in every possible way. We were the first ones ever paddling the Blackstone River and Peel River above the canyon but we could have lost our lives on three occasions if it was not for remarkable incidences, arranged by guardian angels. My excuse for having dared the unknown is: I was blinded by my passion when I saw cranes fly north again and I had listened to the calls of loons. Some years later, when I remembered my adventures, I wrote many songs: About Mexico I wrote 'Mi Muchacha Mexicana' and 'In Puerto Vallerta'. About Brazil (where I've never been yet) I wrote 'Teresinha', 'Journey to Dreamland' and 'Make me a Rainbow'. I also wrote two songs in Spanish language: 'Cuando Me Veas' and 'Te Espero Con Ansiedad' Inspired by Northern Memories I wrote the songs: 'When Cranes Fly North Again', 'Alaska Rose', 'The Iditarod Race' and 'Lou and his Skidoo'. Fifteen of my Poems I have combined into a DVD which I'll publish very soon with the title: 'Yukon Memories and Dreamland Poetry'.- Another DVD presents fifteen poems of my Tropical Imaginations, titled: 'Romance by the Sea' (Poetry) My third poetry DVD is very romantic. The title is: 'Journey to Dreamland'. I have written more than one hundred and sixty songs and poems since my bicycle trip to Italy, when I was eighteen. Recently I had received several awards from the International Library of Poetry. Then the International Society of Poets certified me as Distinguished Member and also selected me to receive the official 2007 Commemorative U.S. Poetry Ambassador Medal, and this made me very happy. In 2009 I'll try to record some more albums but for now let "Island Breezes" give you the journey to the tropical dreamland I want to share with you. I wrote all songs to share my adventures and imagination with you and make you happy. Fred Freitag.