Halina i Stanisław Bujakowscy /// Young couple of polish explorers, who travelled on their motorcycle (!) from northern Poland to Shanghai in the 1930s.
Two descendants of wealthy Polish families, who decided to live differently. Halina and Stanisław - young married couple - left their home in June 1934 to travel far as possible without crossing any sea. They chose China as the destination. It took them 2 years: they travelled on their beloved motorcycle, often struggled with hunger and technical problems, lived in a provisional hut while waiting for replacement parts when the motorcycle broke, learned about plenty of Asia’s fascinating cultures - still very exotic to Europeans at that time - and finally reached Shanghai in March 1936. Both kept a travel journal and took plenty of photographs - they wanted their story to be published after returning to Poland. But the notes were waiting 75 years for the publication, life wasn’t easy to the extraordinary couple.
They stayed in Shanghai for a few months to recover, but in 1937 the city was bombarded by Japan. Halina came back home, while Stanisław stayed in China to report on the Sino-Japanese War for the Polish press. Soon he got a letter from Halina: she was expecting a child. He left China in 1938 and joined the wife and newly born son, but peaceful months in Poland didn’t last for long: a year later the II World War begun and separated them. Stanisław joined the British RAF Transport Command and for the next 5 years he was transporting American military equipment from Ghana to Cairo in Egypt. During all these years Halina had no contact with him - until 1946, when she accidentally met a pilot who used to work with her husband. He told her that Stanisław got a great job offer in India and is looking for the family, left the address. Halina didn’t think for too long - she packed all the necessary things, and soon left Poland with the son. Couple rejoined in 1947 and they decided to stay in southern India - political situation in Poland was dangerous. Their son Jarema (Jeremy) was one of the first Indian alpine skiers and two-time representative of India at the Winter Olympics.
The Poland-Shanghai travel’s notes and photographs (“aunt Hala’s journal”) were kept almost forgotten in the family house in Poland, until Halina’s cousins found an old suitcase in the attic. A journalist Marek Ponikowski heard about the story, published a short article and prepared a report in local TV station - 70 years after the travel took place. Soon plenty of people got interested in Bujakowscy’s courageous travel. The book about which Halina and Stanisław were dreaming so much was finally published in 2011.