Georgi Lozev a former legionnaire and writer presented in Sofia his second book “Along the Maya’s Way: In Search of Lost Civilization” (Ciela Books)
Georgi Lozev at the premier of his first book „I, the Legionnaire“, in Sofia. Photo: Georgi Lozev
Imagine, it is 1996 and you are a recent graduate from the University of Mining and Geology in Sofia. You are 24 years old. Bulgaria is undergoing another crisis. You can not find a job in your field of studies. So, you go on the market and start selling tomatoes or you grab the weapon and become part of the French foreign legion. Few people will go for the second option. For such a decision you have to be brave and adventurous. Georgi Lozev is exactly such person.
After graduating the French Language High School and the University of Mining and Geology in Sofia, Georgi decides to become legionnaire. All of his experience during his stay of more than three years in the French legion, are described in his first book “I, the Legionnaire” (2009). “I have published it for fun”, he says. “By that time, everybody was saying “The legionnaire has written a book” and this was calming for me”. However, now, when he publishes his second book “Along the Maya’s Way: In Search of Lost Civilization”, everybody starts to call him “a writer”. “This worries me a little, because it means that more responsibility is needed. I should take off of the motorbike more often in order to edit more cautiously what I write”. Thanks to his sister – the journalist Bella Cholakova, his book became reality. She is the editor of the book.
Except ex-legionnaire, current writer and hitchhike traveler, Georgi is also a rocker. Since his school years, he is really passionate about motorbikes. In order to leave for France and take part in the Legion, together with the old family car “Moskvich”, he sold his lovely motorbike. While he is there, his biggest dream, which gave him stimulus, was to buy Harley Davidson. Recently this dream came true. Motorbike is the vehicle with which Georgi travels 2600 kilometers from Nicaragua to Guatemala, in order to rediscover the secrets of the Maya’s ancient nation. “The idea appeared, when a colleague of mine, also rocker, told me about the Maya’s city – Kopan. It is situated between Honduras and Guatemala. Then with my friend – Dr. Georgi Raikov – dental technician, we left for those lands, with a motorbike”.
The starting point is Nicaragua, because this is the place where Georgi Lozev lives, since 11 years. His wife is native. He has two daughters at the age of 9 and 11. His family rarely joins him in his rocker trips. In Nicaragua, he works as a technical director – engineer of maintenance of slot and gaming machines.
“We traveled 1200 kilometers by motorbike and reached the city of Kopan. That’s the city where the rediscovering of Maya’s secrets begins. There are 2000 hieroglyphics, which tells about Maya’s history, their dynasties and rulers”, explains Georgi. “Last year a lot of speculations started in relation to the Maya’s calendar and the end of the world. The messages of this nation are strongly coded and we try to interpret them in the way that we would like to. The idea about the end of the world is just part of our imagination, because the Maya themselves had never mentioned about such thing. They are talking about the end of the calendar. They have several calendars, but the most interesting one is the so called Calendar of the long system of chronology, which ends in 22 December, 2012. On this date, the counters will be reset and one cycle of 5125 years will finish. It is one part of the circumference of the sun around the center of the Universe”. For the end of this calendar, on 22 of December, Georgi plans to go to the North Guatemala, together with four other friends.
Georgi Lozev with his motorbike in Honduras. Photo: Georgi Lozev
The writer/rocker explains that in these lands, the jungle is the most important thing which protected the cities, from the invasion of the Spanish people in the past. For the first time museums which started to keep the Maya’s inheritance, had been build 20 years ago. Since 1980s, cities like Kopan became visited more often by UNESCO and were registered as a human kind inheritance.
For Georgi, the most interesting part of the voyage was the meetings with the natives. “At first glance, they live very poorly, but spiritually they are richer than us. It’s true that their huts are made of straw roofs, but when they go out, they immediately can take fresh pineapple, mango or papaya, directly from the tree”.
“The most impressive thing is their calmness, when they explain you that nothing depends on them. Everything is in God’s hands. “Si Dios Quiere – If God says so”. Our guide told us that, before several years, French specialists came to check if their nuclear plants have all the required security measures. So, they asked the natives: “What’s your strategy for security of your nuclear plants?” and the director of the plants said: “It’s simple. In every room we have a portrait of Virgin Mary”. That’s their way of thinking.”
“We – the Bulgarians, do not have their calmness – “Mañana, Mañana” – “Tomorrow, tomorrow”. If we are late for a meeting or if we do not finish our work, we start to feel guilty, while these people would not. They do not have such instinct. We also, try to look calm, but at some point our conscious starts to bother us.”
Talking about Bulgaria, Georgi says that with each year, when he is coming back to his home country, he notices changes. “Today, things are more different than by the time, when I left for France, in 1996. Now Bulgaria looks toward Europe, Sofia is a European capital. It seems like people work harder”. However, through friends and acquaintances, he has observed that there is a strong contrast between people who had succeeded in their profession and are satisfied with life, while some people work really hard for little amount of money and are desperate. This could be seen most likely between the city of Sofia and the other cities. In Sofia, for example, the people are more optimistic toward the future of the country, in contrast with those living in Plovdiv. That’s because there are more job opportunities in the capital”, says he.
Photo: Georgi Lozev
An important part of Georgi Lozev’s biography is his experience in one of the most famous military armies – the French foreign legion. About his life there, he says: “The Legion was the period when I opened myself toward the world. There, we were people from different nationalities, from all over the world. We had something that united us and this was that everyone had a dream. For many of us the Legion was a way to achieve this dream. There, I realize that the most important thing for a person is to follow his dreams and to stay true to oneself”.
To the question how did he mange to cope with the hard conditions, the sever discipline and the stress there, Georgi replies: “I had a great wish to be there. I wanted to help my family, because of the crisis in Bulgaria, back then. Also, I wanted to buy a motorbike. These were the two things which motivated me the most, in order to endure and overcome the hard moments”.
“On the other hand, at some point, I realize that actually it is a very easy way of life. Somebody tells you what to do, everything is planned and under strict schedule. That was a good rest for the brain. Only the muscles were strained. That’s why during the off days I started to study Spanish and to read books.”
“To become part of the Legion was a big dream for me, which came true”, concludes Georgi. “Of course, when every wish comes true, you lose something. You lose your dream. But one always needs something that could keep him alive. That’s why my next dream, which I have left as a life’s desert, is a travelling, with other rocker friends, with Harley Davidson on Rout 66” – from Chicago to Los Angeles.
*The article is published in “Pressa Daily” newspaper, 209 edition, 4 August, 2012
The article is available in Bulgarian language HERE