Pawel (RR SAS) was nice enough to give an interview for this site. See what he had to say:
1.What was your favorite mission and why?
Ho Chi Minh's Millions-I have more direction in my life now. I've been inspired to use my work in a way that I hadn't prior to this mission. In a way, I can trace back the beginning of PhotoRelief.com to the moment that I snapped the picture of Mailan in the children's hospital.
2.What was your least favorite mission and why?
Photo safari--From the very beginning when we first found out about the mission I was pissed. I hated the idea of being in a "photo contest." It seemed like such a joke to me. I flipped out because we didn't have time to stalk the game. It was all about points, not images. That's not what I am about. Here I was, in Kenya, one of my dreams since I was a little kid, and I can't shoot the way that I want to. I wasn't prepared for that. Thank God for the Maasai village at the end. I finally had an opportunity to be alone. It was such an amazing relief. I wish I knew who's idea that was so that I can thank them.
3.Who was your favorite cast member on the trip and why?
Shawn- We became really close friends on the ship. We were both in the same psychology class, and had a blast analyzing each other's brains. We would also search for our own adventures whenever we had a day off. I remember our experiance in Shang Hai: we were alone, no cameras, as American looking as can be, walking down a not-so-busy street. There was a strange vibe in the air because of the embassy bombing and all. You could really tell that people hated us. At one point a really shady looking dude approached us very aggressively. "You American!!!" I thought to myself "oh s***" and peered around to see if he had back-up. (call it streetsmarts, scared, whatever) Everywhere I looked, someone was giving us the evil eye. Shawn replied in a French accent: "No, we from France." I felt a breath of relief, and then the guy started barking at Shawn in what sounded like perfect French at 100 words per second. I thought to myself that now we were really in trouble, Shawn just dug our hole. But to my surprise, he answered back. I had no idea that Shawn could speak French; they rapped for about ten minutes. I dropped in a "bonjour" and a "oui, oui" here and there just to help keep up the image. That is pretty much the extent of my French skillz. I really do believe that Shawn got us out of what could have been a very dangerous situation, very far from home. Thanks Shawn!
4.Who was your least favorite cast member on the trip and why?
I really, honestly, love everyone!
5.Did Road Rules change your life in any way?
I am a firm believer that no matter what you do, even if you sleep all day, you just changed your life. I guess what I mean is that sometimes I see life like dominoes. Only some of the chips make a little more noise than the others. I was on that boat for a hundred days. Absolutely my life was changed. I found huge amounts of inspiration. For example, the children's center. That experience was like getting hit by a bus. (or a really big domino, hee hee) Anyway, I now have a new mission. One that will take my whole life to complete.
6.Would you have tried out for the show if it wasn't going to be on Semester at Sea?
Absolutely not. The initial application for Road Rules was sent to me from Semester at Sea. I saw it as an oppurtunity to finally get myself on that boat. All I cared about was going around the world, meeting cool people, and taking pictures, that's all.
7.Are you glad you were on Road Rules, or would you have rather done The Real World?
Road Rules rules!
8.Do you have a girlfriend?
No, I am looking though, yet I'm not trying too hard because I've been very busy. It takes a lot of effort for me to find a girl that I really vibe with. I know she's out there.
9.What are you up to now?
I am learning exactly how difficult it is to setup a not-for-profit organization. PhotoRelief.com is my number one priority these days. I can't wait to have the site up and running.
10.Is the way you are portrayed on the show the way you are in real life?
Personally, I don't know. It's hard to watch the show; it's almost like an alternate reality. The memories in my head are what I am trying to keep pristine. I believe that we all edit our own memories. I believe that if two different people have identical experiences, chances are, they will remember them differently. There is absolutely no way that what the editors decide to put in an episode is going to match up perfectly with what I remember. They are that different person who in a way goes through the same experience, by viewing all the footage, and tries to structure and remember it on tape. I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. All of the footage is real, we didn't act, it's just a different person telling the story. I must admit though, that sometimes I do wish that I could have edited an episode or two by myself.
11.Would you do it again?
I've been given the opportunity to do some good in this world. Yes, yes, yes!
12.What did you learn from the trip?
I learned that a boat full of college kids in the middle of the ocean is the playground of the devil ;)
13.Do you have any tips for people who want to get into photography?
The only thing that matters is what you see. No one can take that, they haven't developed that kind of technology yet. At least I hope not ;)
14.Do you still keep in touch with your fellow cast members?
Yes, We are a family. I am the only one that lives in NYC, so whenever someone is in town I welcome them to stay with me. The other week Piggy, Yes, Teck, and Ruthie were all here. Everyone is always welcome at Pawel's.
15.Were you better friends with your cast members or other students on the ship?
Shawn was my best friend.
16.I know you are starting an organization, Photorelief, to help disadvantaged kids. Can you tell a little about it?
The idea behind the organization PhotoRelief.com is to use artwork, primarily photographic prints, as a tool for raising aid for humanitarian projects. This will be done in a number of ways. Prints will be available for sale on the site, for everyone to buy, as well as we will search for funding from corporations.
17.Out of the countries you visited, which was your favorite?
18.Which country was your least favorite?
Malaysia, I was sick, no, not with no delly belly or anything like that. It was more like malaria, or at least it felt like it.
19.Was it hard to live on a ship and share a room with five other people for 100 days? Did you get sick of the whole thing after awhile?
Yes, absolutely, the girls. They drove us three guys crazy! It's funny because we had a divider between our rooms. In the beginning it was always open, by the end of the trip we practically tried to barricade the damn thing. Not to mention, there was a strange funk that came from the girl's room.
20.Anything else you'd like to say?
Everyone should travel. The only way that you can ever know who you are is if you know who other people are. Even if it's just walking down the street. Its all in how you look at it, the angle that you choose for your exposure.
1.What was your favorite mission and why?
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