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56 minutes | 10 days ago
Voyage of the Finmen: Kayaking from Greenland to Scotland with Explorer George Bullard
Follow world-record breaking explorer George Bullard on a world-first kayak from Greenland to Scotland across one of the most dangerous stretches of water on the planet. No one thought they could do it. Most people assumed they would die trying – and they nearly did, more than once. But, despite the odds, over six weeks, George and his expedition partner Ollie Hicks, crossed 1,200-miles of open ocean from the edge of the Greenland Ice Cap to Iceland, then on to the Faroe Islands, and from there to the north Scottish shore. Paddling through the night, sleeping out in the sinister dark of the polar ocean, battling storms, exhaustion and raging seas – this is the story of the most dangerous kayak expedition ever undertaken. But it’s more than that too. Three hundred years ago a mysterious figure in a strange shaped canoe washed up on the coast of Aberdeen, in northeast Scotland. He was alive, barely. No one knew who he was, where he came from, what language he spoke, and he died a few days later before anyone could find out. Since then, the myth of the ‘Finmen’ has continued to grow. The historical records describe his clothing as similar to what we now know as hailing from Inuit culture. But it seemed impossible. Did a Greenlandic fisherman cross the North Atlantic Ocean, 300 years ago, on nothing more than a seal-skin canoe? By undertaking this journey, George and Ollie set out to unearth the truth behind the mystery. If they could do it, perhaps the myth was true. Get ready for the Voyage of the Finmen. Highlights include:· Kayak across one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world, a section of the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland, known as the ‘Devil’s Dancefloor’ because of the size of the waves and storms· Paddle through the midnight sun from Greenland to Iceland, and then 450-miles around the crocodile teeth of the rugged fjords and soaring cliffs of North Icelandic coastline, camping out on wild beaches along the way· Listen to one of the craziest rescue and survival stories you will ever hear· Find out what happens when George and Ollie are hit by an enormous hurricane 60-miles off the Scottish coast· Be inspired by George’s love and enthusiasm for the outdoors and adventure. He is one of the UK’s most sought-after motivational speakers and will fire you up to embark on your next adventure wherever that may beWho’s the Guest?George Bullard is a world record-breaking explorer, endurance athlete and motivational speaker. To date he has covered more than 2,000 miles on foot in the polar regions (including the longest unsupported polar journey in history, at just age 19) and completed countless extraordinary expeditions around the world. George is passionate about encouraging others to climb their own Everest physically, mentally and emotionally @georgebullardexplorer / www.georgebullard.co.ukLooking for inspiration for your next trip? George’s adventure travel company www.igoadventures.com curates one-of-a-kind adventures with purpose, for those looking for exceptional experiences in nature. They are affordable, amazing and hand-crafted by one of the world’s greatest adventurers. Thank you to Juggernaut Wines for sponsoring this episode. Harnessing the power of nature with every drop. @juggernautwines / www.juggernautwines.comThe Armchair Explorer podcast is produced and hosted by award-winning travel writer Aaron Millar. Follow the show on Instagram & Facebook @armchairexplorerpodcast. www.armchair-explorer.com Episode image (c) Emma Hall, courtesy of George Bullard
43 minutes | 24 days ago
Listener Episode! A 300-mile Trek Through the Balkans with Teacher Adam Seldon
In this special listener episode, we follow teacher Adam Seldon on a 300-mile trek across the Balkans, one of Europe’s most mis-understood and rarely visited regions. Travelling from Sarajevo, in Bosnia, across Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece, Adam links together some of the region’s most spectacular scenery, national parks and long-distance trails. It’s a fantastic adventure. But what really sets it apart is why Adam is doing it.Standing on the cusp of adulthood, with his formal education just completed, Adam felt something was missing. Life had been too easy, he’d not faced enough challenge, enough risk or hardship. He wanted to learn by experience, not books. So, he set off on what’s called an Agoge, an ancient Spartan tradition in which young men were tasked with going into the wilderness on their own and overcoming a number of challenges before they could be considered a man. Adam wanted to do his own kind of modern day Agoge, to test himself in a way that he’d never experienced before. It was a personal journey of self-discovery and learning, but it was also a challenge to the misconceptions and unfair stereotypes of the Balkan region and its people. He found beautiful landscapes and incredible hospitality, but he also found the scars of war. Two decades after a brutal civil war, and genocide, much of the region was still reconciling itself to its bloody past and through his journey Adam illuminates that history and its effects on the people to this day. Peppered with genuine inspiration, and insight throughout, this is an inspiring story of Adam’s determination to challenge himself, it’s a story about a rarely visited part of the world, but it’s also a story about you – how just like Adam you too can break the mould of modern life and set out on your own adventure, your own Agoge whatever that may be. Highlights include:· Trekking through some of the last remaining untouched wilderness in Europe· Discovering a rarely visited region, including Albania’s spectacular Accursed Mountains and Bosnia’s Sutjeska National Park· Learning about the brutal civil war that rocked the region more than two decades ago, and whose scars are still evident today· Discover the ancient Spartan concept of an Agoge, a challenge undertaken on the cusp of adulthood· Be inspired to set out on your own Agoge, whatever that may be – whether trekking 300 miles through Europe’s forgotten region or just pushing yourself to find out about your true potentialAdam Seldon’s book about this journey, A Balkan Journey: Walking Through Europe's Forgotten Region, is out now on Kindle. It’s a really quick read (about 80 pages), but full of fascinating history and intellectual insight. Follow him on Twitter - @adamjseldon and Instagram @adam.j.seldonThe Armchair Explorer podcast is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience unlike anything else out there in the travel sphere. Each episode one of the world’s greatest adventurers comes on and tells their best story from the road. Connect on Instagram and Facebook - @armchairexplorerpodcast. Thank you to Juggernaut Wines for sponsoring this episode. This is the adventurer’s wine of choice, harnessing the power of nature to infuse every drop with the gritty spirit of the wild Californian coast. Follow them on Instagram @juggernautwines www.juggernautwines.com
73 minutes | a month ago
Signs of Life: a 53,000-mile Bike Ride Around the World with Doctor Stephen Fabes
Follow travel author and doctor Stephen Fabes on a six year, 53,000-mile journey from his home in London across Europe, Africa, The Americas, Australia and Asia. He will cross deserts, jungles and the highest mountain ranges in the world; he will face the freezing winds of a Mongolian winter and the stifling heat of an Indonesian summer. In Peru, he is held up at gunpoint; in Nepal, a deadly blizzard strikes; in Kenya, he dodges shifta bandits; in Portland, he joins a naked rave. It's an incredible adventure. But it’s also more than that. It’s also a story about us. Stephen had a good job as an emergency room doctor, working at a prestigious hospital in London. His many years of training had just finished, his career was poised to take off. But he saw the years of his life unfolding before him, and though he was proud of what that life would be, it felt too predictable, too safe. So, he left. He cycled away from the hospital he worked at and didn’t return for six long years. He traded a comfortable city lifestyle for a $10 per day budget, wild camping by the side of the road. And guess what: he loved every minute of it. But the more he travelled, the more the doctor in him began to resurface. He visited medical clinics, mental health facilities and refugee slums. He volunteered at some of the poorest, and most war-torn regions on the planet. And the more he did, the more he began to realise that health is more complex than simply what’s happening inside the body. It is part of an intricate web of social and political forces; it is influenced by everything from geography and climate to belief and economics. By seeing the world through the eyes of a doctor, he shows us humanity at its most cruel, but also its most compassionate. He shows us that we are inextricably bound together, that we affect each other no matter how different or distant we may seem. In the margins of the world, he finds our common humanity, our Signs of Life.Highlights include:· Cycle around six continents, a whirlwind journey through some of the planet’s harshest, most beautiful and awe-inspiring places.· Ride across the Alps in winter, dodge lions in Botswana, sleep out on the salt flats of Bolivia, cycle frozen lakes in Mongolia, pedal through a war zone in Afghanistan and more· Visit some of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities on Earth, hear their stories of cruelty and compassion, desperation and hope· See the world through a doctor’s eyes, learning about the broader forces at work that affect global healthcare, from politics to climate change.· Be inspired to break out of the mould and set off on your own big adventure, wherever that may beWho’s the Guest?Stephen Fabes is a medical doctor with a bad case of wanderlust and no sense of direction. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, the Telegraph, CNN and the BBC among others. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an inspiring public speaker and a regular at live storytelling nights. He currently works in the Emergency Department at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Signs of Life is his first book. www.stephenfabes.com, @stephenfaves (Instagram), @drstephenfabes (twitter), @cyclingthe6 (Facebook)Thank you to The Great Courses Plus for sponsoring this episode. Go to www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/armchair to get a free one-month trial with access to unlimited streaming of thousands of videos and audio content taught by the world’s best professors. It’s like Netflix for your brain. Find out more about the show www.armchair-explorer.com, @armchairexplorerpodcast
53 minutes | 2 months ago
The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle with Travel Author Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent
Follow travel author Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent on one of the toughest motorcycle journeys on the planet: six weeks and 2,000 miles through the near impassable mud and steep mountain slopes of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Crossing Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, The Ho Chi Minh Trail was the main military supply route during the Vietnam War, moving men and supplies from communist controlled North Vietnam to the American backed south. Today, it’s slowly disappearing, overrun by jungle, deforestation and the advancement of the modern world. In riding the trail, Antonia wanted to explore this rapidly changing region and important part of history before it’s lost forever.She also wanted a proper adventure. The Ho Chi Minh Trail that most people ride is the modern tarmac friendly version. Few people attempt the original route over the muddy guts of the Truong Son Mountains in Laos. Even fewer trace it south into the wild eastern reaches of Cambodia. Antonia did both; and she did it on her own with nothing more than a 25-year-old shiny pink 125cc Honda Cub, she named the Pink Panther, for company. It’s an incredibly beautiful place, filled with shimmering jungles, limestone mountains and small tribal villages where tourists rarely go. But it’s also marred with tragedy. During the war, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was bombed on average every eight minutes and the scars are still visible today: entire villages made out of war scrap, bomb craters big enough to fit a double-decker bus and, most tragically of all, UXO (unexploded ordinance).As much as 30% of American bombs dropped during the war failed to explode and 40-years later they are still primed and hidden in the thick undergrowth of the forest. To date, UXO along the trail has killed more than 100,000 people, many of them children. This is an incredible adventure story about one of the most difficult motorbike routes on the planet. But it’s also a story about the legacy of the Vietnam War that is still affecting the people who live along the trail today. Are you ready for a wild ride? Let’s go. Highlights include: · Heading out on one of the wildest motorcycle rides on the planet, 2,000 miles through remote jungle, over steep and muddy mountain slopes · Discovering a remote part of South East Asia few travellers get to see, deep in the jungles of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia · Learning about the history of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the most bombed place per capita in the world, and the tragic legacy of the war still affecting people to day · Hearing about Antonia’s close call along the Mondulkiri Death Highway, one of the most dangerous stretches of road on the planet. Let’s just say, it nearly lived up to its name · Being inspired to achieve anything you set your mind to. Antonia chose to do this journey solo to test herself, to prove to herself she could be self-reliant, to see how strong she really was. What she discovered was that if you’re determined enough, if you want something bad enough, you can do anything you set your mind to. Who’s the Guest?Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent is a travel author, broadcaster and public speaker with a particular love of wandering alone through remote regions. Her website is www.theitinerant.co.uk and you can find her on twitter and Instagram @antsbk. The full story of this journey is available on audiobook at Audible, and other audio book platforms. www.armchair-explorer.com / @armchairexplorerpodcast. This is episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus - head over to www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/armchair for thousands of videos and audio content, for free, for a month. It's like Netflix for your brain.
34 minutes | 2 months ago
A Journey to Discover South America's Hidden Wonders with Atlas Obscura Founder Dylan Thuras
Follow Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras on a quest to discover South America’s hidden wonders. From the Last Incan Bridge and the Machu Picchu of the North to the Everlasting Lightning Storm and a statue of a squid fighting a whale the size of the statue of liberty (yes, you read that right), this is an epic ride through Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru’s weirdest and wildest wonders. The stuff glittering in the shadows that you may never have heard of before, but you’ll be desperate to see after. But it’s more than that too. When we think of wonders of the world we think of The Grand Canyon, the Great Pyramids. These are undeniably awe-inspiring, but they’re obvious. Everyone goes there, and all too often the experience and the destination suffer as result. Atlas Obscura’s mission is to open our eyes to the wonders all around us, the bizarre, hilarious, incredible things that inspire our curiosity and make our jaws drop at the amazing world we share. Wonder is a state of mind, they say, not a place; and the more we look for it, the more it becomes a part of who we are. This is a quest to discover South America’s hidden wonders, but we may just discover something hidden in ourselves too.“The problem of failing to recognise the magic in the world lies not with the world, but with us; and it is our job to turn ourselves into vessels of recognising that magic.” - Dylan Thuras, co-founder Atlas Obscura Highlights include:· Visit the Last Incan Bridge, an 120-foot long woven grass suspension bridge, straight out of Indiana Jones, which has been re-built every year for more than five centuries.· Stand at the base of Gocta Falls, the most incredible waterfall you’ve never heard of – twice the size of the Empire State Building.· See Venezuela’s Everlasting Lightning Storm, the most electric place on the planet.· Meet the Colombian village who travel by home-made zip-line across the jungle.· Find out about the inspiration for Atlas Obscura, how it went from a childhood love of weird Midwestern roadside attractions to a global phenomenon and New York Times bestseller.· Hear about such crazy historical inventions as the cat piano, the vomiting statue and a language created entirely out of music· Learn how by changing our mindset we can escape the wonder deficit of the modern world and live more meaningful and extraordinary livesAtlas Obscura tells extraordinary stories about hidden places, incredible history, scientific marvels, and gastronomical wonders. www.atlasobscura.com / @atlasobscura Dylan’s book, ‘Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders’, is a No. 1 bestseller on Amazon and in the New York Times: https://www.atlasobscura.com/unique-gifts/atlas-obscura-bookThe Armchair Explorer podcast is adventure storytelling set to music and cinematic effects. Each episode one of the world’s greatest adventurers tells their best story from the road. No long-winded interviews, just straight to the heart of the action. https://www.armchair-explorer.com "Best podcasts for pure escapism: It’s thrilling stuff" - Sunday Times"Best travel podcasts 2020: Every episode is an immersive experience" - The Guardian"Armchair Explorer is ear candy for listeners” - Washington Post"Best Travel Podcasts to Listen to Now: Action-packed and thrilling ..." - Wanderlust"Adventure stories from the wildest places on Earth ... Guaranteed to inspire wanderlust." - The Telegraph
39 minutes | 3 months ago
Arabia: A 5,000-mile Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East with Explorer Levison Wood
Levison Wood is one of the world’s most well-known explorers, TV presenters and authors. Join him for a 5,000-mile journey through the heart of the Middle East, from the front lines of Iraq and Syria through the Empty Quarter desert to Yemen, the West Bank and beyond. 13 countries in five months, his most complicated and dangerous expedition yet. Following in the footsteps of great explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, we will pass through some of the most devastated and war-torn areas on the planet, but also some of the most fascinating and historic too. We will peel back our preconceptions and discover a hidden side to the Middle East, beyond the headlines and politics. This is the real Arabia, a mosaic of the best and worst of humanity, a quest to better understand the region and, perhaps, ourselves.Highlights include:· Hear how one totally random chance event changed his life and led him to become one of the world’s most famous explorers· Hitchhiking to Baghdad during the Gulf war – hear the story of Levison’s first and craziest ever adventure as a young university student· Follow him to the front line, as he embeds with Kurdish fighters in Iraq, liberating ISIS held cities · Discover the Mesopotamian Marshes, the jewel of southern Iraq, where one of the most ancient cultures in the world is slowly rebuilding their lives· Cross the Empty Quarter desert on foot, 10-days through one of the harshest environments on the planet· Sneak into Yemen and cross over into Somalia by fishing boat, through the most pirate infested waters on Earth· Explore Jerusalem, and the West Bank, joining a demonstration that turns into a riot “This is a story of my own wanderings set against a backdrop of interesting times. I have tried to challenge the prevailing winds where possible and contest stereotypes, hopefully smashing a few myths along the way.” - Levison WoodWho’s the Guest?Levison Wood is a British explorer, writer and photographer. He's written seven best-selling books, presented and produced some of the best travel and adventure documentaries out there, and done some quite simply incredible expeditions. Highlights include, walking the 4,250-mile length of the Nile River, trekking 1,700-miles across the Himalayas, and following in the footsteps of the annual migration of African elephants through Botswana, in order to raise awareness of the plight of these critically endangered animals. His latest book is Encounters, a beautiful hardback photography book which documents the last 15 years of his adventures. To buy these, or find more, please visit: https://www.amazon.com/Levison-Wood/e/B00QXKKPTC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share Instagram:@levison.wood / Facebook: @levisonwoodofficial / Twitter: @levisonwood www.levisonwood.comArmchair ExplorerThe Armchair Explorer podcast is adventure storytelling set to music and cinematic effects. Each episode one of the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. To find more about this episode, including background info, photos, and videos, please visit: https://www.armchair-explorer.com/post/arabia-a-5-000-mile-journey-through-the-heart-of-the-middle-east-with-explorer-levison-wood "Best travel podcasts 2020: Every episode is an immersive experience" - The Guardian"Best podcasts for pure escapism: It’s thrilling stuff." - Sunday Times"Finalist: Best Overal Podcast 2020" - DiscoverPods Awards
41 minutes | 3 months ago
Descent into the Unknown: Inside the Greenland Ice Cap with Red Bull Photographer Christian Pondella
Follow Red Bull photographer Christian Pondella as he descends inside the Greenland Ice Cap, a place that no one had ever gone before. Greenland is one of the most remote and extreme countries on Earth. 80% of its surface is covered in ice, temperatures can reach -65°C. But it holds the second largest ice sheet on the planet, and it’s melting fast. Christian teams up with legendary ice climber Will Gadd, and glaciologist Jason Gulley, to go deeper into the ice than anyone has ever gone before. Their expedition is fraught with danger, but the science they would bring would back change our understanding of climate change, sea level rise and the future of our planet. This is more than just an adventure. This is a descent into the unknown. Highlights include: · Descend into a moulin, a dark hole in the ice where meltwater from the glacier surface rushes into depths below· Explore inside the abyss, a place no one has ever gone before· Discover Greenland, one of the most remote and extreme places on the planet · Learn about the cutting climate science being done now on the Greenland ice cap, and how this expedition changed the fundamental models scientists were using to predict sea level rise over the coming decades.· Hear about Christian’s incredible career as Red Bull photographer, including shooting a 300-ft snowmobile jump and a world-first sky dive without a parachute. You read that right.· Get Christian’s top tips for adventure photography and how to create that perfect shot Christian Pondella is one of the top adventure sports photographers in the world. As well as shooting for Red Bull, he is a senior photographer for Powder Magazine, a San Disk Extreme Team member, Fstop Global Pro, he has published work in Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, Maxim, FHM, GQ, Climbing, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug, and a variety of other publications throughout the world. Follow Christian’s work: Instagram @ChristianPondella / www.ChristianPondella.comCover image Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content PoolThank you to Mammoth Lakes for sponsoring this episode! Majestic in scale and awesome in its natural beauty, the year-round adventureland of Mammoth Lakes is one of those rare places that you have to see to still not totally believe. The name speaks to the size of the mountains, the expanse of the valleys, the incredible number of crystal clear mountain lakes and the endless opportunities for adventure just outside your door. But what makes this place really unique are the surreal storybook scenes that drop jaws, spark the imagination and make every moment feel like a brush with the truly incredible. For more info: www.visitmammoth.comFor background information on this episode, including Christian's photos from the trip, please visit: https://www.armchair-explorer.com/post/descent-into-the-unknown-inside-the-greenland-ice-cap-with-red-bull-photographer-christian-pondella Social media: Instagram & Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcastArmchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience. No long-winded interviews, just straight to the heart of the action'Best travel podcasts 2020' - The Guardian'Thrilling stuff' - Sunday Times'Adventure stories from the wildest places on Earth' - The Telegraph'Best Overall Podcast 2020' - Finalist DiscoverPods Awards
56 minutes | 4 months ago
The Seven Summits: Climbing the Highest Mountain on Each of the Seven Continents with Rebecca Stephens MBE
The Seven Summits is the ultimate mountaineering challenge. To stand on the highest peak on each of the seven continents is a feat only a handful of people have ever achieved. Rebecca Stephens MBE is the first British woman to do so. She's also the first British woman to summit Everest, and she's going to be taking us step-by-step up every single one of those climbs. Are you ready to stand on the roof of the world? Let's go.But this story is about more than just mountaineering. What makes Rebecca so special is that she's able to articulate the lessons she learned on each of those seven climbs, and she's going to be passing on that wisdom to us too . Since completing the Seven Summits, back in 1994, Rebecca has spoken and coached all over the world. Her 'Seven Summits of Success' have helped individuals and businesses all over the world achieve their goals. We're going to climb Everest, Denali, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro and all the rest. But we're also going to learn what it takes to follow your dreams, and scale your own summits, whatever they may be. Rebecca's message is simple: live your life according to your passions and you can achieve anything. Even, perhaps, standing on the seven highest summits in the world.Highlights include:Climbing Mount Everest with the first British woman to summit, feeling what it's like to stand on top of the worldScaling Denali, the highest mountain in North America, after being trapped in a snow cave for eight days in one of the worst storms the mountain's ever seenReaching the summit of Acongagua, in Argentina, whilst battling 100mph+ windsStanding on the top of Mount Vinson, in Antarctica, Kilimanjaro, in Africa, Cartenz Pyramid, in Indonesia, and Elbrus, in RussiaDiscovering the wisdom of the world's highest mountains - each of the Seven Summits has something unique to teach us, and Rebecca has been sharing those lessons for more than a quarter of a centuryBe inspired to scale your own summits, whatever they may be“The joy of the mountains is they strip away any superficialities revealing that which matters: namely head, heart, and values. There’s no greater teacher of the human condition, of leadership and of working together as a team.” - Rebecca StephensWho's the guest?On 17th May 1993, Rebecca Stephens became the first British woman to climb Everest and was awarded an MBE for her achievement. The following year she went on to become the first British woman to scale the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. To find copies of her two books, please visit: www.rebeccastephens.com Today, Rebecca speaks, coaches and leads private treks around the world. If you're interested to find out more about her, or to climb with her, please visit: www.rebeccastephens.com For background information on this episode, including Rebecca's photos from the trip, please visit: https://www.armchair-explorer.com/post/the-seven-summits-climbing-the-highest-mountains-on-earth-with-rebecca-stephens-mbe Social media: Instagram & Twitter @aaronmwriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcastArmchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience. No long-winded interviews, just straight to the heart of the actionBook trips inspired by the show at www.armchair-explorer.com or by contacting me at email@example.com
41 minutes | 4 months ago
The Rickshaw Run: Driving 2,500 miles across India in a Three-Wheel Rickshaw with Journalist Simon Parker
Follow journalist Simon Parker as he takes part in the world’s craziest race: 2,500-miles and two weeks across the length of India … in a rickshaw. You read that right. Welcome to the Rickshaw Run: if Monty Python went on a road trip, this is what they’d do.The rickshaw, if you haven’t ridden one before, if perhaps the least suitable vehicle on the planet for long distance travel. Used commonly across many parts of Asia, it’s basically a three-wheeled moped with a roof on it and room for a couple of passengers to squash in the backseat. It has no sides. It falls over often. Top speed is a rip-roaring 14mph. And you will breakdown. Often. It has been described as a ‘marginally glorified lawnmower’, which is actually doing a disservice to many top of the line grasscutters. But none of that matters, because, by God, they’re fun to drive.And that’s the point. Dreamt up by a load of nutters called The Adventurists, the Rickshaw Run is all about challenging yourself with proper adventure, whilst belly-laughing at your own ridiculousness at the same time. Simon and four mates travelled from the far reaches of northern India, in the shadow of the Himalayas, all the way to the steamy jungles of Kerala on the southern coast. There is no set route. No pre-planned stops or hotels. No convoy or safety car or back up of any kind. Smart phones are scoffed at; Google maps are barred. They simply set off with a pocket map of India and a vague sense of where the finish line was. What happened in between, well, no one could be sure except that there would be chaos, there would be tears and, travelling on back roads and well off the well-beaten track, they would see a side to India that most visitors never see. Are you ready to set off on the wackiest, most ridiculous race on the planet? Let’s go. Highlights:Take part in the world’s most ridiculous road trip: 2,500 miles across India in a glorified lawnmowerBe inspired by the spirit of old school adventure – embracing challenges and the unknowExperience a side of India that few tourists ever see, staying in small villages well off the usual traveller trail and seeing the entire country from the far northern Himalayan foothills to the steamy jungles of the south Who’s the guest?Travel writer and journalist Simon Parker sails, cycles, climbs, hikes and paraglides around the world in search of the planet’s most interesting news stories. He writes, films and produces documentaries for the likes of the BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent; and his TV Series Earth Cycle is out now on Amazon Video. If you’re listening October-November 2020, you can follow his latest adventure in real time – a 1,600-mile cycle across the length of Great Britain from the tip of Shetland to the Isles of Scilly, wild camping along the way. He posts great photos, and videos, and is a lot of fun to follow. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is @simonwiparker. His website is www.simonwparker.co.ukFor background information on this episode, including Simon’s photos from the trip, please visit: www.armchair-explorer.com Social media: Instagram & Twitter @aaronmwriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcastArmchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experienceBook trips inspired by the show at www.armchair-explorer.com or by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
47 minutes | 5 months ago
The Last Dance of the San Bushmen with Documentary Film Maker Ben Cole
Travel to the Kalahari Desert, in Namibia, where under the shade of a Baobab Tree, eight San elders are gathering to perform their traditional healing dances one last time before they pass on. The San are among the oldest continuously surviving tribes on Earth. They have lived among the plains of Southern Africa as hunter-gatherers for at least the last 20,000 years. And for all those long years, they have been dancing. The San are a dancing culture. For them, movement and music is more than ceremony and celebration. It is the way they connect with, and understand, the world, and the spirit. It is also the way they heal. But without apprentices to pass on their practices, the sacred knowledge of their ancient dances was in danger of being lost forever. The elders asked Ben to come and film them in the hope that one day their great grandchildren would be able to retain this wisdom. Ben has travelled the world. He has filmed the Aboriginees of Australia, the Pygmies of the Congo, and was nominated for a Grammy for his cinematography on the groundbreaking 1 Giant Leap DVD. This, he says, was the adventure of his life. Travel with him now, deep into desert plains of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, to witness the last dance of the San Bushmen. What he discovers when he gets there is that this ancient knowledge is vital not just for the San, but for us too. Human beings have been dancing and making music since we first set foot on the Savannah. Every religious and spiritual tradition on Earth has some form of movement or music as part of its practice. It is who we are. The message the San have for us is that dancing is not just a frivolous bit of fun. It is a gateway to the spirit and a powerful means to heal our mental and physical ails. Ben went to Namibia for the sake of the San, but what he brought home might just have the power to save us all.Highlights include:Witness one of the most ancient dances in the world, with original audio recorded in the field courtesy of Ben ColeLearn about the San people and their beliefs about the power of dance to heal our mental and physical ailmentsBen is a world-class storyteller, and former actor, and brings to life the culture and landscape of this incredible country ... including a possible origin story of the Cupid myth!Be inspired to get your own dance on, whether that's in a club or just in your own front room. You may never think about dancing in the same way again!Find out more about Ben Cole's documentary work on Facebook: @bencolecinematography Ben, and his wife Caroline, also run Middle Earth Medicine Ways, which uses the power of dance and movement to facilitate a deeper connection with yourself, your spirit and the world around you. It's fun, they're lovely and you can find out more at www.middleearthmedicine.com. Thank you to Juggernaut Wines for sponsoring this episode! This is one of my favourite wines, absolutely gorgeous and perfect for that after trail drop. Head over to www.buyjuggernautwine.com and type in the code ARMCHAIR20 for a 20% discount, delivered straight to your door.Help support the San through David Bruce's charity (Ben's family friend who he recorded the film with), which builds new schools in the region that will teach young San children in their native tongue, close to their homes in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy. Find out more at: www.villageschoolsnamibia.com For background information on this episode, including a clip from Ben's film, please visit: www.armchair-explorer.com Social media: instagram / twitter @aaronmwriter / facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcastArmchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytellin
58 minutes | 5 months ago
Walking the Amazon with Explorer Ed Stafford
Follow world-renowned explorer Ed Stafford on the expedition that made his name: walking the entire length of the Amazon River, on foot. People thought that it was impossible, that he would die trying; and they were nearly right. He was attacked by a tribe of angry machete wielding indigenous Indians, he faced Narco drug traffickers and giant anacondas. But gradually, step by step, over the course of two and half years, through some of the toughest and deadliest terrain on the planet, he proved them all wrong. Ed crossed the entire continent from the Peruvian Andes, and the furthest known source of the Amazon, to Brazil, where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean, more than 4,000-miles away. He is the first person in history to do it, and holds a Guinness World Record for the achievement. This is one of the boldest expeditions ever attempted, and one of the greatest adventure tales ever told. Are you ready to head into the jungle? Let’s go. Highlights include:· Hear how Ed survived being surrounded by an angry tribe of indigenous Indians intent on hacking him to pieces· Find out how he crossed the infamous Red Zone, a lawless area of the jungle controlled by drug-traffickers· Climb with him to the 18,000-foot summit of Nevado Mismi, in the Peruvian Andes, the furthest known source of the Amazon · Meet the Ashaninka Indians, the largest indigenous tribe in the Amazon Basin, and hear how Ed ended up befriending two tribal chiefs and walking with them for more than 6 weeks. · Discover what it takes to complete such a long and grueling expedition – 860 days walking through some of the toughest jungle terrain on the planet· Hear his personal story of transformation. How he began the journey as a ‘volatile young man’ wanting to prove how tough he was, but how the jungle humbled him, and made him connect with a deeper, and more authentic of himself.· See this amazing forest through new eyes. The Amazon is nearly 20 times the size of Great Britain, home to some 400 billion trees, and 10% of the world’s species. For Ed, it began as a dangerous place, something to be conquered, but it ended up becoming home, a place to be marveled at, and protected· Hear what adventure means to Ed, how it is the ‘crucible in which you find yourself’, and how you too can use adventure and exploration to connect more deeply with who you really areAlso, find out about Ed’s new series – Ed Stafford: First Man Out – which launches its second series on September 24th on the Discovery Channel in the UK. Available in America and elsewhere too https://www.discoveryuk.com Find out about Ed's new bushcraft academy at: www.bushcraft.academyFor more background information on this episode, photos, links to his books and shows, and more, please visit https://www.armchair-explorer.com/post/walking-the-amazon-with-explorer-ed-stafford Thank you to Juggernaut Wines for sponsoring this episode. Head over to www.buyjuggernautwine.com and type in the code armchair20 to get a 20% discount on your next orderThe Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience. http://www.armchair-explorer.comHost/Producer Aaron Millar is an award-winning travel writer (Nat Geo, The Times etc.) Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast.
40 minutes | 6 months ago
Sightless From Sicily to Southern France with Blind Explorer Christopher Venter
Close your eyes. Picture that darkness, that starless night. If that was all you could see, no color, no shades, no shape or light, nothing at all but blackness, would you still have the courage to explore the world? This week’s guest, Christopher Venter, aka The Blind Scooter Guy, did and does, and he’s going to take us on a journey sightless from Sicily to Southern France and show us the world as he experiences it with his other four senses. And guess what? It may just change the way that you see the world too. Christopher had always dreamed of being an explorer. He traveled the world, he went on many adventures. But then, suddenly, in the midst of an epic 18,000-mile Vespa scooter expedition across Africa and Europe something happened that changed his life forever. His sight began to dim. Within 24hrs his world had turned black. Doctors diagnosed a rare virus growing on his retinas. They managed to save his life, but not his sight. At 40 years old, he was told that he was blind and he would never see again. He thought his life was over. He came close to ending it all. But then he heard about a man called James Holman and against the odds he began to hope again.Holman is, perhaps, the world’s most remarkable explorer. Born in 1786, he lost his sight at the age of 25. But instead of giving up on his dreams, he doubled down on them. With very little money, and no assistance, Holman set off to see the world. He sailed around the globe, he fought the slave trade in Africa (a river in the Congo is named after him), he mapped uncharted parts of Australia, he survived captivity in Siberia and rogue elephants in Sri Lanka. And through it all, he became something of a celebrity of his day, a symbol of raw determination and the capacity of the human spirit for adventure. If Holman could do it, why couldn’t he?Highlights include:Find out what it’s like to experience the world as a blind travelerHear the amazing story of James Holman’s life, one of the most remarkable explorers in history, but still largely unknown to most peopleExplore Sicily, Tuscany, and the Amalfi CoastDiscover Nice, Provence and the PyreneesBe inspired by Christopher’s courage and determination to make his dreams come true, despite such sudden and devastating set backs Learn to appreciate the world in a deeper way. Christopher paints images in his mind by slowing down, being present and using his other four senses. Find out how you can do the same and see the world in a new wayListen to how Christopher’s story can inspire you to overcome your own challenges too, whatever they may beWho's the Guest?Christopher Venter, aka the Blind Scooter Guy, is a blind adventurer, explorer, writer, speaker and storyteller. He has two books: How I Became The Blind Scooter Guy: My soul searching safari by scooter from the Southern Tip of Africa to the Shamrock fields of IrelandSightless From Sicily to Southern France: A blind man's journey by any means - from Ocean and Air to Road and Rail, experienced through the remaining four senses@BlindScooterGuyhttps://www.facebook.com/BlindScooterGuyhttps://blindscooterguy.wordpress.comThe Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience. http://www.armchair-explorer.comHost/Producer Aaron Millar is an award-winning travel writer (Nat Geo, The Times etc.) Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast.
37 minutes | 7 months ago
Land of the Thunder Dragon: Exploring Bhutan with British Travel Writer of the Year Emma Thomson
Bhutan is the last of the great Himalayan kingdoms. Still largely untouched by outside influences, shrouded in mystery and magic, this Buddhist country, hidden for centuries on the roof of the world, is like nowhere else on the planet. Follow British Travel Writer of the Year Emma Thomson as she explores the culture and majesty of Druk Yul, Land of the Thunder Dragon, as it's known by its people. Shunning the usual group tour, Emma stays with local families miles from the tourist trail and discovers, because of that, a glimpse of the real Bhutan most travellers will never see. But this is more than just an adventure. Cut off from the rest of the world until 1974, and surrounded by virtually impenetrable Himalayan peaks on all sides, Bhutan has remained culturally intact for centuries. It is a real-life Shangri-La, a kind of fabled mythical kingdom hidden in the mountains, where spirituality and happiness are more important than money and economic development. Intrepid travellers whisper its name in hushed and reverent tones for a reason. Bhutan is, perhaps, the most enlightened country on Earth, and when we visit some of that wisdom and inspiration becomes a part of us too.Highlights include:Staying with two local Bhutanese families in remote rural villages, far off the usual tourist trailExperiencing real Bhutanese daily life: tending the fields, bathing in hot stone baths and helping to prepare the meals - fresh dumplings, curries, chillies and cheeseExploring Punaka Dzong, the most beautiful of all of Bhutan's fortress templesTrekking to the Tiger's Nest Monastery, which clings to the face of a sheer cliff and is the holiest site in the countryHearing the myth of Shangri-La, or Shambala, a fabled hidden kingdom in the mountains where the wisdom of the world was guarded for centuries, and how that relates to the history and ideology of Bhutan todayLearning about Gross National Happiness. Bhutan is the only country in the world to measure its progress not by Gross National Product (the value of the goods it produces) but by Gross National Happiness (how happy and spiritually fulfilled its people are)Visiting Bhutan's head of astrology, which is usually forbidden to tourists and discovering a surprise message there that might just shake your scepticism. Be inspired by the peace and serenity of the most enlightened country on Earth, and learn how to take that wisdom and stillness into your own life tooWho's the Guest?Emma Thomson is the current British Guild of Travel Writers Travel Writer of the Year. She has been hooked on all things 'travel' since the age of 14, when she would sneakily rip pages out of ageing copies of National Geographic in the school library to add to her travel scrapbook. Today, she's just as passionate about adventure and has been working as a full-time freelance travel journalist since 2011, after spending six years as Commissioning Editor at respected guidebook publisher Bradt Travel Guides. She specialises in remote destinations and responsible, adventure-based stories.Follow her on twitter: @emmasthomson, and instagram: @emmathomsontravelsWant More Bhutan? For background photos, information, itineraries and more, please visit: http://www.armchair-explorer.com The Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Each episode is cut documentary style with music and cinematic effects to create an immersive storytelling experience. Host/Producer Aaron Millar is an award-winning travel writer (Nat Geo, The Times etc.). He like science fiction, sushi and tequila, he hates rom coms, shellfish and gin. Like travel? We'll get on well. Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast.
32 minutes | 7 months ago
The World's Most Dangerous Countries Through New Eyes with You Tube Star Drew Binsky
Follow You Tube star Drew Binsky to two of the world’s most dangerous countries: Iran & Afghanistan. We also hear about visits to Yemen, Syria, Somalia, North Korea and more. The media calls them evil. Politicians say they want to do us harm. But if you have the courage to walk the streets of Tehran and Kabul, of Damascus and Mogadishu, you’ll see that nothing could be further from the truth. This is a story about turning our world views upside down. It’s a story about breaking stereotypes and the power of travel to bring us closer together, no matter how far apart we may at first appear. True adventure is having the courage to let go of your pre-conceptions and hold out your hand. Are you ready to see the world’s most dangerous countries through new eyes? Let’s go. Highlights include:· Exploring Iran on a whirlwind tour from fire temples in the desert to the most breathtaking art and history in the Islamic world· Discovering a secret underground rave in the middle of one of the most conservative countries on Earth· Finding out about the real Iran, behind the propaganda, home to what many travelers consider to be the most hospitable and friendliest people in the Middle East· Seeing Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul and remote regions of northern Afghanistan as a tourist· Picking up a hitchhiker in rural Afghanistan and being invited back to their house for tea, the first visitor they had ever received. Being welcomed as an honoured guest despite the war raging around them · Getting to know Drew Binsky, one of the biggest You Tube travel stars on the planet, who has over 1.3 billion video views, and millions of followers, and specializes in authentic, local travel; breaking stereotypes; and inspiring people to see out-of-the-way places· Hearing about Drew’s quest to visit every country in the world - he’s just 6 short, 191 out of 197 – and how that’s changed his world views · Being inspired to see the world through new eyes, challenging your preconceptions and learning about two of the world’s most mis-understood countries· Feeling uplifted by a positive story: the world is a safer, friendlier and more amazing place than we are led to believe. And it’s waiting for you to explore itDREW BINKSY: Who’s the Guest?Drew is a full-time travel videographer, travel blogger and content creator with more than 5.5 million social media followers and over 1.3 billion video views. He first caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Prague during his junior year in college. After graduating, he shunned corporate life for a job teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, where he lived for 18 months became conversational in Korean, got a black belt in taekwondo and launched his first blog. He now travels the world full-time, posting daily videos, during his quest to visit every country in the world. He specializes in authentic, local travel, which breaks stereotypes and sheds new light on out-of-the-way and misunderstood destinations. Website: https://drewbinsky.comYou Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Ize0RLIbGdH5x4wI45G-ASocial Media: @DrewBinskyFind out more about his forthcoming documentary here: http://drewbinskydocumentary.comThe Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Host/Producer Aaron Millar is an award-winning travel writer (Nat Geo, The Times etc.) Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast.
39 minutes | 8 months ago
The Ocean Race: Sailing Around the World with Pro Sailor Mark Towill
Follow professional sailor Mark Towill on The Ocean Race, the ultimate around-the-world sailing competition: nine months, and 45,000 nautical miles, through some of the toughest seas on the planet. Only the strongest sailors in the world are able to compete, and only for the glory. There is no prize money. The Ocean Race (formerly the Volvo Ocean Race) is the toughest team challenge in sailing, and arguably the most grueling competition in professional sports. But it's also one of the most beautiful. There is something nostalgic, even romantic, about the idea of sailing around the world powered by nothing but your wits and the wind. It harks back to the golden days of exploration. This is more than a race, this is a true adventure. Are you ready to sail around the world? Let's go. Highlights:- Hear Mark Towill's incredible story of the 2017/18 Ocean Race- Find out what it feels like to sail around the whole world, powered by nothing but your wits and the wind- Learn about life on board the fastest sailboats on the planet, and the mental toughness required to survive the grueling conditions- Discover the adventure of the Southern Ocean, where Mark Towill experienced 65knot winds and seas of up to 30-feet tall- Find out about the tragedy that occurred in the waters off of Hong Kong, and the disaster that happened rounding Cape Horn- Hear about the early Polynesian explorers who inspired Mark Towill, who grew up in Hawai'i, and how he's now involved with helping to promote that culture and keep alive the traditional wayfinding of the early Polynesians.- Be inspired by Mark Towill, and his team 11th Hour Racing's, message of raising awareness about ocean sustainability and the problem of ocean plastics Benefits to You:- See the ocean through new eyes and be inspired to embark on your own high seas adventure- Learn how the mental toughness of round-the-world sailors can be applied to your own life in positive ways- Be inspired by this story of overcoming tragedy and hardships in pursuit of excellence, and the greater good- Be motivated to get involved with ocean sustainability and the fight to protect our oceans from plastic pollution MARK TOWILL: Who's the Guest?Mark grew up sailing on the eastern shores of Oahu, Hawaii before racing at both the prestigious Punahou School and Brown University Sailing Team, where he sailed with fellow team co-founder Charlie Enright.In 2008 at the age of 18, Mark was selected to participate in the 44th Transpac Race aboard Morning Light where he first met Charlie. Mark was the youngest member on the team and the experience crystallized his ultimate goal of competing in the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, which he did in 2014-15 with Team Alvimedica. The duo put together a second campaign for 2017-18 with Vestas 11th Hour Racing.Today, he is the CEO and co-skipper of 11th Hour Racing, whose goal is to win the 2021/22 Ocean Race whilst raising awareness and inspiring the sailing community and racing fans around the world with respect to environmental issues and ocean health.@11thhourracinghttps://11thhourracingteam.orghttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqlcxiz-4f-4k6FPgIf2YagBOOK THIS TRIPPlease visit the individual episode pages of the Armchair Explorer website to find out how you can do trips inspired by this journey: www.Armchair-Explorer.com ... and how host/producer Aaron Millar can help you plan your ultimate adventure.The Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast. Host Aaron Millar is a multi-award-winning travel writer, journalist, presente
36 minutes | 8 months ago
Horse Trekking in Mongolia with Pro Surfer Jon Rose
Follow ex-pro surfer Jon Rose on his ultimate adventure horse trekking through the remote wilderness of Mongolia. This is the 'Land of the Blue Sky', a place of limitless space, and boundless freedom, where bands of nomadic families still live the old way, tending livestock and moving with the seasons. But this is more than just a story of adventure; and it's about more than horse trekking in Mongolia too. This is a story about destiny. It's a story about hope, and the power of the human spirit.Jon Rose spent 12 years as a professional free surfer. He appeared on the covers of the biggest magazines in the world. He rode swells in Australia, Bali, Fiji; he surfed South Africa, Iceland and more. But his favourite place was Indonesia, and it was there, on a surf trip, that something happened that changed his life forever. Something harrowing, and devastating, something he could never have expected. But in that moment, Jon found his destiny. He found his life's true purpose. It wasn't to ride waves, it was something much bigger. It would take him from the shores of Indonesia to the streets of Haiti. It would take him from the mountains of Nepal to the endless plains of Mongolia, and beyond. And it wouldn't change just life, it would change the lives of millions of people around the world. HIGHLIGHTS:Go horse trekking in Mongolia, the land of Ghengis Khan, one of the wildest and most remote places on EarthStay with nomadic families along the way, trying local delicacies including Airag, or fermented mare's milk, the national drink (let's just say, Jon had to hold his nose while he drank!)Learn about Jon Rose's 12 year career as a pro surfer, from his days growing up in Laguna Beach, California, to winning national competitions, getting sponsored by Quicksilver and becoming one of the leading professional free surfers of his timeHear about the devastating event, which happened during a surf trip in Indonesia, and changed Jon's life foreverFind out how Jon reacted, and how what he did next changed the lives of millions of people around the worldBENEFITS:Be inspired to find your own destiny, and life purposeFind out how adventurers and explorers, just like you, can connect more deeply with local cultures and help change the lives of the people they visit Feel empowered and uplifted with this positive story of change and hope in the darkest timesDiscover the wonders and vast landscapes of horse trekking in Mongolia, which Jon describes as 'true bliss'Learn about the culture of the 'Land of the Blue Sky', one of the oldest and most fascinating on EarthWHO'S THE GUEST?Connect with Jon Rose, and the work he does, on the following links:https://www.wavesforwater.orgInstagram: @wavesforwater / @jon_roseFacebook: @Wavesforwaterhttps://rascalsroundup.orgIf you're inspired by this episode please get involved! BOOK THIS TRIPPlease visit the individual episode pages of the Armchair Explorer website to find out how you can do trips inspired by this journey: www.Armchair-Explorer.com The Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Instagram/Twitter @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcastHost Aaron Millar is a multi-award-winning travel writer, journalist and author. He contributes regularly to The Times of London, National Geographic Traveller (UK), and many other national and international publications.
36 minutes | 9 months ago
Extreme Road Trip: Alaska to Argentina with Overlanding Expert Dan Grec
40,000 miles, two years and 17 countries: travel across the Americas from Alaska to Argentina with overlanding expert Dan Grec. This is one of the world's most epic road trips and we have a front row seat. The term 'Overlanding' refers to self-reliant expedition style adventures, usually in 4x4 vehicles and to remote locations. Think of it like extreme road tripping. Just about anywhere in the world is open for overland adventures, but the following the Pan American Highway from the far north of Alaska to Cape Horn on the southern tip of Argentina is considered by many to be the ultimate trip. And we're in good company for it. Dan Grec is one of the world's leading overlanding experts and the author of 'The Road Chose Me Volume I & II', which chronicles two of his favourite expeditions, including this one. His You Tube channel, also called The Road Chose Me, is one of the world's leading resources for overland travel. Visit the episode page for more details: https://www.armchair-explorer.com/post/extreme-road-trip-alaska-to-argentina-with-overlanding-expert-dan-grec But not only does Dan Grec know his stuff, he also knows how to tell one hell of a story. This is about one of the most extreme road trips on the planet. It's about the incredible scenery, people and adventures he passed along the way. But it's also about what he learned from 40,000 miles on the road. Before he set off, Dan Grec was just an ordinary guy with a crazy dream. He made it come true: so can you.Highlights include:Hiking to the 'Magic Bus' in the backcountry of Alaska to visit the final resting place of Chris McCandless, whose life was chronicled in the book and film 'Into the Wild'.Trekking to the smoking crater of the Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala, seeing lava close enough to touch, close enough to smell the sulphur burning, to melt the soles of your shoesDriving across the Salar de Uyuni, the Bolivian salt flats, a mesmerising 3,681 square mile stark white plain and a true wonder of the worldFinding 'Hell on Earth' in a Bolivian silver mine: Potosi, known locally as "the mountain that eats men", where life expectancy is less than 45 years oldExploring Ecuador and climbing the Cotopaxi VolcanoReaching the 'Ends of the Earth' in southern Patagonia, driving to the end of the road and walking into the seaBenefits to you:Learn Dan's top tips for planning your own overland adventureBe inspired to make your own travel dreams come true, no matter how big or smallDiscover the lessons that Dan Grec learned after 40,000 miles on the roadHear Chris McCandless' story, and how it inspired Dan to break out of the mold, and live a more purposeful and intentional lifeFind out Dan Grec's secret to living a truly free lifeConnect with Dan Grec and find out everything you need to know about overlanding at:http://www.theroadchoseme.com Instagram: @theroadchosemeFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/theroadchosemeYou Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkyky5zC8R1Gi6YeeCR6BDg BOOK THIS TRIPPlease visit the individual episode pages of the Armchair Explorer website to find out how you can do this journey, and others inspired by it: www.Armchair-Explorer.com ... or get in touch with Dan directly on any of the links aboveThe Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Instagram @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast
37 minutes | 9 months ago
Learn to Free Dive with Adventure Photographer Kellon Spencer
Free diving is breath hold diving. You have a mask, wetsuit, fins and your lungs. That’s it. Take a deep breath, dive down, hold it, and whatever you do. Don’t. Let. Go. Sound easy? It’s not.But it’s worth it. When you scuba dive, you’re a visitor to the underwater world. It’s loud and often scares away the marine life. With breath hold diving, you’re a part of it. You see the ocean on its own terms: silent, unencumbered and free. In this episode, we follow in the fin steps of adventure photographer Kellon Spencer as he learns to free dive. Kellon specializes in underwater photography. But he soon realized that to get the best images, to get as close as possible to the marine wildlife without scaring them away, he would have to ditch the scuba gear and learn breath hold diving for himself. There was just one problem. He was terrified. Kellon excels at adventure sports, and had worked as scuba guide for many years. But he’d heard the horror stories, and he knew about the dangers: underwater blackouts, loss of motor control, blood dumps. In one five year study, 75% of all free diving accidents were fatal. Follow his journey from his first free dive in The Blue Hole, New Mexico to the tropical waters of Grand Cayman and beyond. Dive with him as he overcomes his fear and learns to see the ocean through new eyes. Far from being an extreme activity, Kellon realizes that breath hold diving is actually more like underwater meditation than an adrenaline sport. He learns to master his anxiety, to control the panic, and comes out stronger, bolder and more connected to the ocean than he ever was before. And as for getting closer to that marine wildlife, let’s just say he succeeds in a BIG way – and he tells us about that too. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:· Hear what breath hold diving feels like, unencumbered by scuba gear, silent and free· Want to learn to free dive? Listen to a first-hand account of beginner, and pro level, breath hold diving courses· Follow Kellon down to 100-feet deep, the equivalent of 10 atmospheres of pressur· Hear what it feels like when you hit the ‘free fall zone’, which Kellon describes as “sky-diving underwater”· Learn the techniques that teach you how to hold your breath for three minutes or more – often achievable in just a few days· Discover the superhuman feats of champion free divers, including deepest dive, longest breath hold and more· Learn the theory behind breath hold diving, including the mammalian dive reflex and how human beings are genetically programmed to free dive· Find out how to apply free diving breathing techniques in your everyday life to lessen the effects of anxiety and stress· Join Kellon as he experiences one of the most incredible marine wildlife encounters in the world: free diving with a 40-ft whale in RoatanWHO’S THE GUEST?Kellon Spencer is a professional adventure photographer and free diving instructor. He has embarked on over a decade of expeditions with the collaboration of various clients, including the National Forest Foundation, Royal Enfield Motorcycles, Ocean First, another. His passion is using the power of imagery to bring awareness to the importance of conservation and wildlife preservation. See Kellon's work at: www.kellonspencerphotography.com. Instagram: @Kellon_SpencerFacebook: @KellonspencerphotographyBOOK THIS TRIPPlease visit the individual episode pages of the Armchair Explorer website to find out how you can do this journey, and others inspired by it: www.Armchair-Explorer.comThe Armchair Explorer: the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. Instagram @AaronMWriter / Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast
40 minutes | 10 months ago
Kings of the Yukon: A 2,000-mile Alaskan River Paddle with Best-Selling Author Adam Weymouth
Join best-selling author Adam Weymouth on a 2,000-mile canoe journey down the Yukon River, from its source in Northern Canada, through Alaska, to the Bering Sea. It's one of the wildest and most pristine places on Earth filled with Moose, Bald Eagles and Grizzly Bears. But this is more than just an epic paddle. The Kings of the Yukon are the King Salmon, the Chinooks, who swim up the river every year in their tens of thousands to spawn at the place of their birth. It's one of the most remarkable migrations in the animal kingdom, and it's also one of the most important because the people that live by the river, mostly First Nations people, depend on that salmon run to survive. But it is now under threat. By tracing their journey, Adam tells the story of the salmon, but he also tells the story of the lives of people whose fate is intertwined with them. This is a beautiful adventure, but it's also an important and inspiring meditation on what it is to live, and survive, in one of the most remote places on Earth.HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE- Discovering one of the most remote, pristine and beautiful places on Earth- Learning about the lives of the First Nations people that live by the river, their culture, history and way of life- Finding out about the migration of the King Salmon, one of the most remarkable journeys in the animal kingdom- Feeling what it's like to paddle 2,000-miles through one of the most remote places on Earth, camping on river side beaches along the way- Meeting Andy Bassich, reality TV star from Life Below Zero who lives on the Yukon River, and other off-grid characters Adam passes along the way- Hearing about the Gold Rush History of the Yukon from an indigenous perspective - Learning about the First Nations protest against the fishing ban, why it matters and it's relationship to Gandhi's famous Salt March of the early 20th century- Being inspired by a First Nations view of fishing, hunting and the interconnectedness of the natural world- Finding hope and optimism, for the King Salmon, and the people whose lives depend on themWHO'S THE GUEST?Adam Weymouth is the Sunday Times' Best Young Writer of 2018. An environmental journalist, his work has been published in the Guardian, The Atlantic, the New Internationalist and by the BBC, with his primary focus being the relationship between humans and the natural world. www.AdamWeymouth.com / @adamweymouthHis book, Kings of the Yukon: an Alaskan River Journey, is out now.BOOK THIS TRIPPlease visit the individual episode pages of the Armchair Explorer website to find out how you can do this journey, and others inspired by it: www.Armchair-Explorer.comABOUT THE SHOWThe Armchair Explorer podcast is adventure storytelling set to music and cinematic effects. Each episode one of the world's greatest adventurers tell their best story from the road. No long-winded interviews, just straight to heart of the action. Host Aaron Millar is a multi-award-winning travel writer, journalist and author. He contributes regularly to The Times of London, National Geographic Traveller (UK), and many other national and international publications. He has presented travel documentaries for National Geographic TV, written two books for London publisher Icon - 50 Greatest Wonders of the World & 50 Greatest National Parks of the World - and is the 2014 and 2017 British Guild of Travel Writers Travel Writer of the Year. Aaron grew up in Brighton, England but is currently hiding out in the Rocky Mountains of Louisville, Colorado. @AaronMWriter https://www.instagram.com/aaronmwriter/ https://twitter.com/AaronMWriter Facebook: @armchairexplorerpodcast
39 minutes | 10 months ago
Wanderland: on a Vision Quest with Nature Writer Jini Reddy
Alone on a mountain top in the Pyrenees, in the pitch black of night, without another soul around, a woman hears a voice echoing out of the darkness. It was an experience she couldn't understand or explain. It terrified her. But it also changed her life. Follow nature writer Jini Reddy on a Vision Quest, a lone wilderness vigil on a remote mountain in the Pyrenees for five days without food, phone, or connection with the outside world of any kind. Hear how that experience changed her, and led to a new understanding of nature and her place in it. After she returned to civilisation, that voice, that mystery, inspired her to begin another kind of quest. She called it Wanderland: a search for the magical in the landscape of her home, Great Britain. We follow in her footsteps, to treasure maps and lost springs, sacred Scottish isles and hidden temples in the land. Through it all, we begin to see another hidden side of nature, more akin to our indigenous ancestors' views than our modern selves. We begin to see beyond the ordinary, into the deep wonder and magic of the wilderness itself. In Wanderland, all things are possible.Highlights include: Learn what feels like to go on a modern day Vision Quest, a five-day lone wilderness vigil, just as indigenous tribes around the world have done for MilleniaHear the unsettling, and otherworldly story, of the Voice from the darkness that changed Jini's lifeFollow a treasure map to go skinny dipping in a lost springDiscover a hidden land temple on the Scottish island of Iona, one of the most sacred places in Great BritainHear the story of 'Wanderland' - Jini's critically acclaimed book about her journey in search for the magical in the landscapes of Great BritainFind out about indigenous perspectives on nature and be inspired to connect more deeply with the world around youGet Jini's top tips on how you can begin your own Wanderland, your own journey to find the mystical in the modern worldWanderlandGet 30% off with the code: WANDERLAND30www.bloomsbury.com/wanderland“What a wonderful book Wanderland is! A witty, gentle, original and very modern quest for the magical (not the mythical) in Britain's landscape, which both made me laugh and moved me.” – Robert MacfarlaneJini ReddyJini has been an award-winning journalist, travel writer and nature writer for many years. Her byline has appeared in The Guardian, TIME magazine, National Geographic Traveller, Geographical, Psychologies, Resurgence and the Ecologist and countless other publications, both print and online.Recently, she was named one of National Geographic’s Women of Impact. You can read the interview here Follow Jini: Twitter: @Jini_Reddy (https://twitter.com/Jini_Reddy) / Instagram: @JiniReddy20 (https://www.instagram.com/jinireddy20/)ComposerOriginal soundtrack composed by Alastair Nisbet. https://www.facebook.com/allynisbetArmchair ExplorerFollow the show on social media: Facebook: @ArmchairExplorerPodcast (https://www.facebook.com/ArmchairExplorerPodcast)/ Instagram: @AaronMWriter (https://www.instagram.com/aaronmwriter/)For eco-tourism adventure ideas related to the show, please visit the individual episode pages at: https://www.armchair-explorer.com Host Aaron Millar is a multi-award-winning travel writer, journalist and author. He contributes regularly to The Times of London, National Geographic Traveller (UK), and many other national and international publications.
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