For the first twenty years of his life, author Mircea Iosif Murariu lived in Communist Romania, a country where leaders ruled by force, intimidation, control, and dictatorship. Oppressed citizens were forced to succumb to implementation of rules and a communist ideology. In Destination Unknown, Murariu narrates his story, telling about the state of Romania in 1988, his escape from the country, and the revolution in 1989.
Murariu shares that the base of his success hinged on having a dream, feeling the desire, planning and courage, belief and faith, and simplicity. At the time, he knew attempting to escape was insanity, but he was determined to overcome the odds and the challenges. This memoir describes Murariu’s journey of never giving up and how he made his dream a reality.
Destination Unknown offers one man’s personal story of dreams, hopes, desires, and a willingness to break free from the political, religious, and economical struggle taking place in the country he called home
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THE AMERICAN DREAM
Like all the things in life, everything begins with a dream. I was 10 years old when I got the opportunity for the first time to get hold of a magazine from the United States called LIFE. The magazine was 10 years old, but it did not matter. One of my neighbors managed to get the magazine from a doctor who, for a few years, lived and worked in Libya. Upon his return to Romania, he managed to hide the magazine and smuggled it into our country.
During the communist regime, all media: press, radio, television, books, news, magazines, and information of any kind were monitored and under strict control by security police called Securitate Romana. They were a replica of the KGB; some of the members trained in the USSR. If they get hold of information that somehow you were involved in any disagreement of government policy or rules, your only option would be to leave the country, if it's not too late, because you would be arrested and convicted.
To see how severe the regime was and how they operated, search Google or Wikipedia for events that happened in the city of Timisoara where I lived prior to the revolution of December 1989. Around 20 to 30 people were executed by the security police force a week before the revolution [initially] started. Seven later when the revolution erupted in Bucharest the capital city and around the country. The city of Timisoara was less than 100 km from the border with Yugoslavia and Hungary and was considered a nest for people who were anti-government ideologist. Anything you say against the communist regime or against President Ceausescu, who was in power for the past 40 years, would very much lead to a death sentence.
From the moment I saw the magazine, a seed was planted in my imagination. It became a burning desire to execute a plan of escape, and to reach a destination. ... Unknown.
How can a little boy born in the hills of Transylvania someday arrive in San Francisco?
This was an absolute dream, and the LIFE magazine was the seed which fueled the desire to implement a plan - to be executed and to succeed.
There was a local story in a town, which very few were willing to talk about. I was fascinated and inspired; so much that I manage to convince my neighbor to tell it at least two times. It was the story of a local person who left the town and went to America for several years in early 1850. He accumulated a significant amount of wealth, and upon his return to the town he had left, he bought a bell for the local church. The bell was transported by ship from the United States then by train to the closest city. 60 miles away from the station, it was transported by eight pairs of bulls to the little town.
At the time the church in town was a small church and very old. When he arrived with the bell, they discovered it was too big for the actual church structure to support the bell. The town council came together and decided to build a new church around the bell.
The seed of America was planted; all it needed was water to grow and a matter of time - it will happen. Another eight years would pass before the dream would reach implementation
One of the things which were not possible to keep secret was the formation of America and what made people from all over the world go there. This story was impossible to remain a secret. I was fascinated by the story of how America was discovered and how the people were calling the place the new world and the land of freedom. I knew from that moment there was no way I would ever stop trying to get there. People from around the world are inspired by this freedom principle. Their attempt to change their life to achieve it will become imminent.
This information existed among the people, except for the communist regime who was trying to denigrate the principles of Capitalism and how bad it is for society; how Capitalism is so unjust and unfair against its own people. In school propaganda, classes were anti-America. If America is so bad and so unjust then why are millions of people dreaming of going there? I use to ask my teacher this question, which was never answered.
America, the dreamland that changed the history of the world. The land millions of peoples believed in. People inspired by the principle of freedom, liberty, and justice and a vision of prosperity from generations to generation. America, the torch with the burning fire of opportunities, economic success, financial achievements, freedom of speech, freedom of rights, equality, justice for every man and women, and the opportunity for everyone who may want to succeed. This is the way I saw America for the very first time, in her own glory, and this is where it all begins.
The same dream exists today and will continue to be so long as we the people continue to preserve, respect and protect the foundation and fundamentals of this great country - the Constitution on which it is built.
The foundation for this great ideology, "we the people" the most creative ever created, in our existence, on this planet. Removing power from a king, queen, or president; freeing the people from socialism, communism, capitalism, or any other form of controlled governing.
Looking back to my early days, I knew nothing about America, but I was willing to learn, ready to find everything and to explore every aspect of this great country.
I was reading books about the Lewis and Clark expedition, railroad developments, cities like nowhere in the whole entire world. I studied the states and capitals, sang songs with no names about America when riding a horse on Transylvanian hills. This is insane ... Right? Yes, you are right, I was insane. America was everything I was dreaming of.
The seed was planted, and the dream was growing on a daily basis. I could see things above and beyond my present situation. I believed what I would be capable of achieving.
Some of you will say well yes, all kids have dreams at that age, and you are right. All have dreamed of achieving things in their life, however, my dream was unique, my dream required risking my life for freedom and a future, the room for error was zero. It would have to be 100% correct if I even attempted to achieve this goal.
From dream to reality, there is a bridge which must be connected, and in my case, the bridge between dream and reality will be placing my life on the line. I questioned my desire many times. While in Romania, there was a very high chance I might lose my life trying to achieve my dream; the result of that thinking was "escape."
Years later, when I was in Japan (hired as a manager for Planetechs Operation, a Boeing 787 operation project) the Boeing leader for the Japan site, Tim Thelon, after hearing my story of escape said: "Since you have risked your life once to achieve a goal, nothing will be impossible for you to achieve. You have already made the ultimate sacrifice placing your life on the verge of existence for a cause."
Why do the greatest results come for those willing to give it all to achieve the glory?
We like the things that are easy, minimum sacrifice, minimum risk, minimum effort, always in our comfort zone; we call that a normal life. Why are some of us willing to make sacrifices and take risks so high that our own life will become questionable?
In 1988, in Romania, an escape attempt was insanity. The failure rate was 95%. Why in the world would anyone even consider to do it? I was, am and will always be a dreamer. When my dreams stop, my life will stop too. I can't live without my dreams. So, when an impossibility arrives at my door, the question is what type of impossibility will it be?
I cannot exist without dreams and possibilities, they are my definition of life. When impossibilities vanish, it is like a fog implementing my desires.
Everything in our life starts with the definition of achieving; school, education, profession, career, position in business, position in society, we all set goals we want to achieve. There are very few who set goals to become rich or to change the world - the most insane ones.
We all have dreams, some of us dream of winning the lottery. However, for 50% of people who have won the lottery, the winning is actually a disaster. Within a few years, they are broke and bankrupt. Do you know why? Because mentally they were never prepared to face the reality of being a millionaire. They are wasting all the fortune they have accumulated on uncalculated decisions - they are losing everything. I can make a significant list of all the people who lost their fortunes.
There are large number kids who have inherited family riches, who are lost in addiction or are dealing with depression not knowing which direction to go in. I can give you case after case of these examples. The conclusion is: if you did not build (block by block) your structure knowing the value of the principle of money, there is a chance you will not know how to preserve it. There is a lesson we all must learn and the lesson is this: out of struggle and difficulties, a character will emerge capable of leading and maintaining success.
Statistics show of the 15 % of rich people in our society, less than 5% had an inheritance. The other 10% made their fortune from 0% . ... My question is how and why? Why is this 10% of people different; how did they make it? Because theoretically speaking they had all the odds against them. Why is this 10% of people different? I will lay down steps and principle based on my study, and confessions of successful people; including my own experience on how to overcome impossibilities and trust yourself, the power of the universe, and our God. I will show you how the power of intention is bringing the whole universe into your world; the main force behind your success.
I was born into a lower-class family, in a little town called Avram Iancu in the central part of Transylvania. The town is named for a Romanian's hero who stood up and revolted against the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the year 1887.
I spent the first fourteen years of my life helping my grandfather with his farm providing the necessary things for the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. It was not long before I realized my destiny will be much more than that of being a farm boy. I knew for some reason my life will become much more complex and adventurous than just riding horses along the Transylvanian hills.
My grandfather was a WWII veteran. He was part of the resistance against the Nazi Machine. For three years he was a Partisan, doing the gorilla war. For people who did not align with the Nazi plan to colonize the world, and you were a rebel to the society they were willing to create, the punishment, particularly for a Partisan, or anyone supporting them was execution by hanging or being shot in the head. No jury. If you were caught - execution was the law applied.
Small groups of men and women were fighting the Nazi machine in the Carpathian Mountains regardless the consequences of being caught. They lived under the protection of the natural inhabitants and the Mountains; the perfect cathedral for a refuge. In one story, I know and will not forget, (from both my grandmother and my grandfather) once every three months or so one of those Partisans were returning to town for supplies; the most needed ones being sugar, salt, coffee and black paper; small ingredients but very precious.
My grandfather had returned home from getting supplies. 30 minutes after he entered the house, my grandmother, by pure instinct, looked out the window. She saw a Nazi military patrol of six soldiers and one officer running up the street towards their house.
There was no room to run anywhere, and grandfather was in his underwear. Thinking quickly my grandmother told him, "Jump on the bad box." What is a bad box? It is 5 feet long by 2.5 feet wide used to keep pillows, extra blankets, and things associated with bedding.
After he had jumped on the box, my grandmother put dishes and other things on top of him. Before she could finish, the soldiers were knocking on the door speaking in German, "die Tur offnen" (open the door) and again "die Tur offnen." My grandmother runs to the door but not too fast, she was seven months pregnant. When she opened the door, the officer asks with voice raised, "Where is your husband?" She says, "I don't know, he left seven months ago with the Partisans. Since then he has not returned. I am pregnant and alone with my other two kids." She invited the officer and the soldier to come in. They entered the house, looked around and stopped next to the bad box. The officer looked at my grandmother and said, "We have been informed your husband supposed to be in town." My grandmother repeated, "Wherever he is he is not on here. The officer moved in face to face and said again, "You know what will be the punishment for supporting the Partisans ...? My grandmother said I know, but he is not here as you can see. The German officer turned around and said to his soldiers "gehen wir ihn gefunden" (let's go find him), and they left the house.
After they left my grandfather went out, picked up his provision and left for the Mountains again leaving my pregnant grandmother with two kids to figure things out.
During the conversation between my grandmother and the German officer, my grandfather captures a very important piece of information. The officer told her "we've been informed." My grandfather was smart ... who could have informed the Nazi military about his coming from the Mountains?
If you look at history, you will learn Romania was allied with Germany in WWII, and there were a lot of people supporting the German War Machine. One of the neighbors at the edge of the town may have noticed my grandfather was returning from the Mountains and informed the Nazi guard in the town. He was the only person my grandfather was in contact with during his return to town. I ask my grandfather so what happened with that guy at the edge of the town. He told me he died that's all. How he died, I never had the courage to ask. You never ask my grandfather the same question twice, if he did not elaborate for you the first time. My grandfather was wanted by the Nazi Regime. He was accused of being the mastermind behind several bridges destroyed, one German tank and several Nazi soldiers killed. The Nazi War Machine stretched all the way to Stalingrad Russia a thousand miles away. A small Partisan army was fighting the Germans on the Carpathians Mountains including my grandfather.
After the Germans had been pushed back from Romania by the Russian army in 1944, my grandfather fought with the Red Army in the Tatra Mountains in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. He spoke Hungarian, German, Russian and Romanian. Not bad academically considering he made it only to the 8 grade. I remember so many stories of his journey. The most specific one, the one I have always loved, was when [very bravely], he was to blow the bridges with grenades so the German tanks could not cross over. Another was when his neighbor lost his hand when was hit with a 50-caliber bullet during a fight. These were hardcore men with little time for elaborating things in life. The life he experienced built him as 'do or die trying', nothing more nothing less. At 5'4" inches tall and 65 years old he had six pack abs, and his fists and biceps were like hammers. Close to my 20s, I was not willing to even consider taking my grandfather on in any physical competition -he was in his mid-60's at that time.
Because the communist regime restricted him to a specific amount of lumber, he could have for building his house, he would take his axe and horse in the middle of the night and walk six miles up the mountains, cut the tree he wanted and head back home by daylight (covering the tree and the trail with branches so there would be no marks) to build the house he wanted. He was the kind of man who when the communist security police told him to turn over any firearms he had in his possession after WWII, he handed them the handgun and buried the rifle in the back yard.
Before he would quit, he would have to die trying. This is the guy who made a choice to raise me after my parents abandoned me. He raised 10 kids before my arrival in this world. Thinking back, after so many stories, I heard one which would be crucial to my escape. During all the years as Partisan, I asked him, how did you manage not to be seen in so many different circumstances? He said you must become one with nature. It means you must camouflage with the environment you are in. If you are in the open field you must become an open field, if you are in the forest, you must look like a forest. He has taught me several technics on how to become a complete camouflage. The same techniques used at Marine Corps sniper school and by Navy Seals. You will become an invisible person. They can walk right up next to you and have no idea you are there. Or how to hide your human scent from dogs and so much more.
Excerpted from "Destination Unknown"
Copyright © 2017 Mircea Iosif Murariu.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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