This isn’t Yoda’s first trip overseas. His travels have already taken him on many an adventure in deepest, darkest Chile. While studying abroad, he came up with the initial idea for a road trip documentary in an old 1964 VW banger, which years later was to come to fruition as The Old, the Young & the Sea. A documentary about people and surfing in Europe. That’s how Yoda started out.

He doesn't even need to look at the road to see it and understand it. A true Jedi. And now Yoda is looking into the great Beyond. After all, Europe isn't the only place that tells stories about the inclinations, idiosyncrasies and ideologies of people who live by the sea. Let's broaden our horizons. And see what’s out there in the great unknown. Let's look to Africa. Let's look Beyond.

Between Chile and West Africa, the current playground of the Nomad Earth film crew, lie thousands of kilometers of stories from the road, polished theses, agency internships (no earning while you're learning), the first hesitant steps towards independence and, of course, the Euro-surf documentary.

And now, time has come and gone, and Yoda finds himself on location with the film crew from BEYOND – An African Surf Documentary.

«Hello, good morning! Where have you come from, where are you going? What are you doing here?»

And this is how it should be. A glance in the rearview mirror in director Mario Hainzl’s eyes says it all: We’ve been driving down this same road for hours. Blazing sun on the Tropic of Cancer . The landscape on the edge of the Western Sahara is becoming ever bleaker as we head south. Our world is burnt and ashen. Exotic? Perhaps. The checks from the police, military, and whoever else are becoming increasingly frequent, one every 30 or 40 kilometers or so. “Hello, good morning! Where have you come from, where are you going? What are you doing here?” Like a mantra, we dutifully recite our lines and hand over our papers to the friendly officials, who radiate authority, but always seem open and eager for a chat. Although the checks always run smoothly, we can't shake the feeling that we might need to slip out a lie at any moment.

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Paranoid for some unknown reason, since we have all the papers we need for the shoot – reams of them in fact, always on hand in the dashboard. The precious filming permits get special treatment, zipped away out of the sun in a bag. It reminds me a bit of my dad’s briefcase from way back when. What was he actually keeping in there? Flashback. We’re sitting in our 4WD pickups. There’s a film to make. That's how we always are – the story with the lie tucked away within reach in the back of our minds – an exaggerated, naive grin on our faces, a cheerful expression and an enthusiastic “Hooray!” from the ignorant Europeans who find everything exciting and exotic, but understand nothing. And don't really want to understand anything. Sort of like Yoda, who was totally underestimated by Luke Skywalker at the beginning because he was small and funny looking.

It works. “The film crew may pass,” barks the official, salutes and smiles as he waves us through. And every time, one question hangs in the air: What is this man's story? But the question is quickly drowned out by the deafening monotony of the landscape. Look at it. If you look closely, you’ll see it speaks volumes.

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