Monday, 27 October 2008
"I´ve read about you in Justin Marozzis book Faces of Exploration."
I did loose my face there, my jaw hanging down in surprise! Turns out to be a friendly Brit, working for the MI 6, who loves travelling. And exploration. He has read about my travels in Geographical as well. Well, such is todays world, you never know what to expect from one moment to the other. Great!
Another thing which has evolved after the Siberian Expedition is all, and we´re talking quite a lot, people who wants to travel and explore the Kolyma region. The latest one is Marcin Gienieczco, a young pole, who wants to ski the Kolyma from Seimchan to Cherskiy. He has invitied me early January as a consultant of the Expededition, to visit Gdynia, his hometown, to be part of the offical media presentation of the trip. He sees me as a hero, the poor chap.
The good thing with all this, of course, is that all these fellas, yes, they´re all men, are very positive, outgoing and full of life and they inspire!
And, there´s always a reason for everything, don´t believe anything else, last night, I went to a meeting for oil prospectors, and they were talking about the sultanate Oman, and there...I just remembered a long forgotten dream to explore the Empty Quarter...well, well, here we go...I have strated to read my old books by Wilfried Thesiger again!
Saturday, 25 October 2008
In January this year I had the opportunity to visit Papua New Guinea. It was definitely a highlight of my life. I loved the people. They were unspoilt by life, funny, kind and full of charisma. Whether they were islanders, coastal people, forest dwellers or highlanders. Simon to the far right on the photo is one of the kindest, most impressive people I´ve come across. He´s a coastal man from the Madang district. he was part medicin man, bush expert, ornitologist, teacher and a guide. Spoke excellent english. He was also a genuine story teller. He said he had left the coast twice in his life and that was the scariest experience, so bad that he caught pneumonia and almost froze to death, he said. It was a visit to the western highlands and a town called Mount Hagen. What scared him was the local people, the highlanders. Still warriors and fierce.
"They are so big and muscular and they look at you as they could kill you instantly."
After that comment, I met a lot of people from all over the island, and they all said that the scariest lot of them all, in wars and in a matter of fact meeting, was the Western Highlanders. Now, look at the photo to left, it is me and a Huli namned Paulus, a great guy and typical highlander. Muscular, fierce and with penetrating eyes. I can well understand Simon´s worries. However, even if I am short in a western perspective, I was still bigger then most. At one stage I was joking with Paulus and we were kind of armwrestling and suddenly he said;
"You are abig and muscular guy. Let us stop."
Then he laughed. Then I realised the importance of a strong physical appereance. Even today in modern society. It is such a well built in mechanism in our genes, amongst males, do not ever forget, which far too many people do, we are after all a 150 000 year old product physically, and you don´t change that in a day, so the outer physical appereance, it is still of great importance. Then I realised it was time for me to work the weights again and specialize my preparations for the next Expedition in the gym. It has helped me in many ways, even at the extreme end, when it comes to pure survival, but also, it does appeal to a certain amount of ladies. They seem to think it makes a real man. There´s no harm in that.
I think we all, we folks living in the Western Hemisphere, would be happier, much happier, if we did take some time to think about our genes. Our backgrounds. By far, the happiest time in my life, was those three months of pure survival on hunting and fishing that Johan Ivarsson and I had to do on the Kolyma Expedition. Nature, stillness, instinct and awarness.
Friday, 24 October 2008
This trip of mine now, will be a tour of recovery. I will keep you up dated with insights to how this will be reached and it will, hopefully, give me an idea to a new Expedition.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Whatever I do, when trying to find a new idea where to set up my next Expedition, Siberia turns up in my head the most mysterious ways. This morning I receieved a request from a Polish Expedition, who´d like to explore the Kolyma. One of many after Johan and my Expedition along this great river 2004. He´d seen my film, or parts of it, on Yout Tube. It was one of my best friends, Ollie Steeds, who showed me You Tube. He is one of the modern versions of a true explorer, but he is using the new techniques to get his messege across and whilst helping him to do a few slots about the Samí situation, this great Nordic people, when he was doing a job for Al Jazeera, he showed me how to use You Tube. And he said, why not set some Siberia slots up there, for people to view, which I have done. I have, since then, received a lot of response worldwide. It seems like a lifetime ago and I really wonder, what can I find to equal the Kolyma? because, the thing about exploring is of course that for every Expedition, you want it to be the best you´ve ever done. But still today, this hour, the Kolyma seems unreachable. Do see the 7 programmes we did from the Kolyma for a Swedish Television sit com. They´re all in Swedish, but footage should be enough. Just click here.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Want a glimpse of the world as few have seen it before? In They Lived to Tell the Tale, members of the world-famous Explorers Club share their spectacular journeys from the depths of the world's oceans to the canopies of the Amazon rainforest to the dark vastness of outer space and all points in between. As we turn the book's pages, we climb the highest mountains, slog through jungle swamps, crawl into spider-infested caves, trek across vast deserts, and gasp in astonishment at the sheer audacity of our guides. All from the comfort of our own living rooms.
In Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives, 120 outstanding individuals representing a who s who of international exploration recall the indelible moment in their youth when the dream that launched their remarkable lives was born. As they recount the turning points to fulfilling those dreams often overcoming enormous physical, emotional or other obstacles we learn how incredibly inspirational their lives are. Included are Meave and Louise Leakey, Buzz Aldrin, Robert Ballard, balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Lucy discoverer Don Johanson, Jack Horner, Sue Hendrickson, Jean-Michel Cousteau, the Ra s Capt. Norman Baker, George Bass, Eugenie Clark, Richard Fisher, Trieste s Don Walsh and Nobel laureate Charles H. Townes. That 24 of these dynamic individuals are Canadian such as paleontologists Philip Currie and Eva Koppelhus; Survivorman Les Stroud; Sea Hunter Jim Delgado; National Geographic explorer-in-residence Wade Davis; veteran climber Pat Morrow; circumnavigators-by-human-power-alone Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei; photographers Pat and Rosemarie Keough; and naturalist Robert Bateman is testament to Canada s significant contribution to world exploration.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Everything is possible!
We´ve known this for the last 150 000 years, maybe even 3.2 million years back when Lucy went out for a excursion. I don´t know why it is so popular today to listen to this kind of extremely no-good-for-mankind-talk. And that lecture reminded me of the one I witnessed together with my very good friend, La Contessa here on the photo, in February. Same deal. Then I remembered I did write an article about the same issue two years ago after having had the honour to lecture at Explorers Club in New York. This is what I wrote for Utemagasinet:
”...and then the mountain spoke to me, saying: ´Have faith in me, Ed, and you will reach your final 8,000-meter peak.´ And look, there I am on the mountain top!”
This is, more or less, how the famous American mountaineer Ed Viesturs closed his lecture at the Explorers Club´s 102nd Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Before him, a young guy named Andy Skurka, elected Man of the Year by Backpacker Magazine, had recounted the story of how he crossed the U.S. by foot from west to east in record time.
”Nothing is impossible! Anyone can do it!” he summarized, displaying a photo of himself posing in the sunset; his gaze fixed beyond the horizon, his muscles flexed and back held straight. An extremely traditional, male image of Adventure and Expeditions. I think I saw Buzz Aldrin, astronaut and second man on the moon, smirk. Woman kosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova simply left when the so-called adventurers entered the stage. Passionately, she had told her own story, filled with fear and amazement at the incomprehensions of life while she, as the first woman ever, rampaged round the moon 48 times.
The Annual Dinner carried the theme ”What´s Left to Explore”. And how this should be brought to an audience. I think very few of the 1,100 spectators enjoyed the adventurers´ talks. One of our neighbours at the table, the editor of a wellknown American outdoor magazine, said:
”Every day, as I receive letters and articles from people making expeditions and wanting to sell their material, I ask myself: ”Hasn´t Adventure come further than this? Is it still just white males with icicles in their beards dishing out the same old silly story?”
The reason why I´m bringing up this very important subject, is that every week I get a number of e-mails from men and women, young and old, who want to take off on an expedition or adventure. The majority want to know three things: ”What kind of equipment should I use?”, ”How do I get sponsors?” and ”How do I get the media interested in me, so I can make a living selling articles and lecturing?”
There is only one answer: Our view of Adventure and Expeditions must be renewed. Firstly, there has to be an interesting story. The times are gone when a spectator finds it interesting to listen to the hackneyed theme of ”anything is possible”; a story centered around dirty underwear, heroic struggle and white men with icicles in their beards who have managed to reach the North Pole, using a shopping cart and an oar as their only means of transport. Secondly, we need more women narrators. We need a female perspective. Men have to start thinking like women. I think this is crucial to whether the public will continue being interested in expeditions at all.
There are still considerable differences in how a story can be told. For example, I was searching the internet for stories about Swedish expeditions in the Himalayas. A couple of men report as follows:
"It´s been tough and troublesome. Our backpacks weigh about 15 kilos, but all has turned out well. Today we struggled for six hours. Tomorrow we will continue, and then we will use our final camp at
Incredibly boring for everyone except the storyteller´s closest relatives or someone else in the know. To be compared with another account from an expedition on the same mountain, at the same time, written by a woman in the same situation:
"Why am I never satisfied? I´m thinking I should have exercised more. Actually, I´ve been exercising at least five days a week. I think I should have been more mentally prepared. Actually, I´ve been preparing for five years. I don´t think I´m a good enough climber. But that´s the way I am in everyday life as well. I could be better at cooking, decorating, fashion, my job. I could be a better wife, friend, and so on. Maybe I need the inherent power of dissatisfaction to be able to hold on and not give up my dream of climbing an 8,000-meter peak. Because it has been necessary - but now I´m going to give it a try."
Wonderfully thrilling and dramaturgical! The fact that the men reached the top and not the woman, is utterly unimportant. What is interesting is her story. This is how tomorrow´s adventurers on expedition must think to survive. Even better is to tell a story of someone else but yourself. Which is what I did in New York. When I took the stage after Ed Viesturs, the first thing I talked about was how ridiculous all the clever white males with icicles in their beards are. I continued by informing the audience about the Siberians and their everyday life, which makes a contemporary expedition look like a school outing by comparison. The response was fairly good - a ten-minute standing ovation.
This is the idea with the award winning World Reviewer:
World Reviewer is all about holiday experiences. We have taken a completely new look at how travel is presented online – starting with what you want to do, rather than where you want to go, and starting with experiences, rather than the products or services.
First we collected the best travel experiences in the world – not according to us, but according to the over 200 travel specialists, experts, scholars and scientists we have assembled to help us. Clearly there is no such thing as the definitive list, which is why the site is open for users to add to, to rate, and to review. You can browse all the experiences we have on the main travel ideas page, and filter by category (what) and location (where).
Next we have linked them with selected holiday products and services, from holidays to hotels to flights to get there, as well as further resources to find out more about the destinations - also ‘what’s nearby’, the weather to expect at certain times of year, local tours, and so on. We still have a way to go here, but we are steadily building sophisticated trip planning tools that will provide you with a range of choices as to how you want to book your holiday – through a tour operator, by putting the trip elements together yourself, or by using the personalised service of a travel expert.
Above all, the experience of finding ideas and planning your holiday online should be fun, which is why we are using the latest technology – thousands of stunning flickr images, the latest google mapping, videos imported from YouTube and Geobeats, and fun tools like our weather map, or our ‘experience of the day’.
World Reviewer aims to be:
- Visually appealing
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- Technologically savvy
SSAG was founded under its present name in 1877, as an extension of the activities of the Association for Anthropology founded in 1873. This was a time of great exploratory expeditions, and the SSAG took a particularly active part in the scientific description of the Arctic region, highlighted by the ‘Vega’ voyage through the passage north of Siberia led by Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld in 1878-1879. The symbol of the Society shows a woman with laurel wreaths, a native with a globe, and the Vega ship at a rocky coast.
The spirit of Nordenskiöld permeated much of SSAG’s activities with lectures and expeditions by geographer Otto Nordenskjöld to Antarctica in 1901-03, anthropologist Erland Nordenskiöld to South America and by explorer Sven Hedin to Central Asia. But SSAG’s activities also included research on Swedish Ethnology (Sigurd Erixon), Baltic urban geography (Sten De Geer) and the beginning of geopolitics (Rudolf Kjellén), to name a few of renowned members during the first fifty years.
In recent years SSAG is more dedicated to the popularization of the three disciplines and to current topics, e.g. environmental degradation, physical planning, political geography and questions of underdevelopment. The gold medalists of later years include Eric Bylund 2000, Sherry B. Ortner 2001, Lonnie G. Thompson 2002, Doreen Massey 2003, Tim Ingold 2004 and Françoise Gasse 2005.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Just a small note to say that life has returned and that I am breathing freedom again. The most magnificent feeling on earth. This is the first time in two years that I have been able to think freely without the deepest worry. It cannot be underestimated what a supreme feeling that is!
However, the past two years have been very strengthening for my character, I´ve learned a lot and I´ve been eating the humble pie. A visit to hell have been for the better. I come out of it as a better human being. More humble, more understanding, kinder, warmer and ready to live to its fullest limits again.
What I have learned more than anything is:
1. Never, ever underestimate the love of your family. And the importance of having one. the same applies to truly good friends.
2. One can loose nothing by being a true human with all its good and bad sides. The truth in everything, but with some time of thinking before revealing it. Think before talking. Time heals. And wherever you are, no matter what circumstances, stand for who you are. Don´t try to be anyone you can´t be.
3. Never judge and condemn. If you don´t know the true story. One can have an opinion, but try to put yourself in the other persons place. It makes a difference.
4. Positive thinking always overrules negative. If you have negative people around you, get rid of them until the´ve eaten the humble pie.
5. Take time to be there for other people. You never know when things go wrong.
6. Accept responsibility and sort out the problem. Then move on.
7. Better give then take. In every aspect of life. One can never be to kind.
8. Be true to yourself.
9. Enjoy every moment of the day, you never know, when it will end. So then, why worry at all?
10. Never, ever complain. there´s always tons of people who are worse off, no matter how bad your situation is. If you have been a good human when everything falls apart, there will be people there fore you. So being good and kind is a winner.
Mahatma Gandhi is still my hero. Time to look for another Expedition.