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32 minutes | Sep 15, 2017
#16. The Showdown: Hadrian's Wall v The Great Wall
If the two most famous walls from the ancient era entered the arena to duke it out, which would remain? In this slightly tongue-in-cheek episode of Travel Tape, I follow a mixed Chinese and English family, already very familiar with the Great Wall, as they hike the length of Hadrian's Wall Path in 2016. Six-year-old Yoyo McCrohan is leading the pack, and she has lots of opinions about Hadrian's, especially how it stands up in comparison to the section of the Great Wall near her house in Beijing, China.
24 minutes | Jul 15, 2017
#15. The Greater Patagonia Trail (4): Over the Volcano & Home
It's the final month in Chile for the Unbounded film team and they've covered a lot of ground and seen landscapes they never knew existed on our planet. In this final podcast episode following and interviewing the team while they are still on the road, Travel Tape talks to both filmmaker Garrett Martin and wilderness guide Anthony Brogno about their best days, their most uncomfortable moments, and those days where they lost gear and then lost their way. Highlights: Descriptions of the otherworldly landscape up Puyehue Volcano Comparisons between the Greater Patagonia Trail in the north and south of Chile A tale of packrafting the wrong direction Garrett on the current state of the Unbounded film post-production Links: Unbounded Film Official Site
17 minutes | Jun 2, 2017
#14. Of Gneiss & Men: Bouldering in the north of India
Joshua Cook feels pretty chuffed these days to have taken part in opening up the next big thing in a sport he loves. In May 2017, Joshua, who hails from Colorado in the US, found himself travelling in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India, during the region’s first ever bouldering (rock climbing) festival. Initially happy just to be back climbing after a long break, Joshua quickly became near ecstatic: not only was he in a world-class-in-the-making climbing region, he realized, but he personally was helping to make it happen, opening new routes, and giving them first names. Highlights: Descriptions of the climbing area around Sethan, Himachal Pradesh Practical details on climbing and staying in the region Insights into climbing culture: how routes are opened and named, and why climbers climb Finding, opening, and conquering the “Sandwich Boulder” Links: Joshua Cook on bouldering in Sethan Lonely Planet News on the bouldering festival
29 minutes | Apr 28, 2017
#13. Leaving Bhutan (3): the Annapurna Circuit & Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit: journey to these two Nepali trekking routes in this one episode of Travel Tape, the third installment in the Leaving Bhutan mini-series. Joshua Cook, the itinerant English lit teacher, is my guest once again and he speaks to me from a village near Base Camp about his recent experiences on these legendary treks. Highlights: inspiring and detailed descriptions of the treks practical information on food and shelter, wifi access, and trail conditions anecdotes: - hiking with a Buddhist monk (who likes to take selfies) - achieving bliss overlooking Mt Everest - hiking without gps technology (and getting lost) Links: Joshua Cook's blog
14 minutes | Apr 17, 2017
#12. Easter Holiday Special: Good Friday in Malacca
In the UNESCO Heritage town of Malacca, Malaysia, a Good Friday evening procession that began in the 16th century continues to this day. This Travel Tape podcast uses live recording from the 2016 event, and interviews with local historian Colin Goh, to immerse you in the walk and its complex history. At the centre of the story is St. Peter's Church, founded by Portuguese immigrants to Malacca, and a fraternity of Augustinian monks. The monks are credited with keeping the procession's traditions alive century after century even during periods where it was forced to go underground. Highlights: live recordings from the 2016 Good Friday procession sounds of the haunting funeral dirges history of Malacca and St. Peter's Church from a local expert Links: St. Peter's Church No. 8 Heeren House
24 minutes | Apr 7, 2017
#11. Leaving Bhutan (2): Avoiding Faux Pas At A Nepali Wedding
Joshua Cook is now in a village at the start of the Annapurna Circuit, one of the Himalayas' most famous hiking routes. In this second part of Travel Tape's interview series with the itinerant literature teacher, we talk about missing life and friendships in Bhutan, the trials of teaching in a poor community, avoiding faux pas at a local wedding, preparing for a month-long trek, and reflect on the wisdom for modern nomads in the Robert Service poem "The Men Who Don't Fit In."
24 minutes | Mar 31, 2017
#10. Leaving Bhutan: An Adventure Mini-Series w/ Joshua Cook
Joshua Cook travels the world one teaching gig at a time. He's just finished a year in Bhutan, the reclusive, exclusive Buddhist kingdom, and has set off on a 6-month motorcycle journey across the Himalayas. In this first interview with Travel Tape, Joshua is in Nepal reflecting on the rare experience of living for a year in Bhutan. He explains how he saw traditional culture, from clothing to religious faith, so well preserved. He answers at length the question "is Bhutan really the happiest place on Earth?" He talks about the dream origins of his desire to travel the region by motorcycle, and then opens up at the end to reflect on his life as a wanderer with no fixed address. If you've ever wanted to travel the Himalayas, this interview is also a fount of practical advice on both navigating it by motorcycle, and also planning hikes across some of the region's great circuits.
29 minutes | Mar 24, 2017
#9. A Fluid Frontier: A Journey To the Golden Triangle
Journalist David Eimer likes to go places other people don't, or can't. One of more fascinating places he's found himself in is the notorious Golden Triangle in Myanmar (Burma), one of the world's centers of illegal opium and methamphetamine production. How he got there is a story in itself. In 2012, David settled into the Xishuangbanna region of southern China to explore how the ethnic culture of the region, famed across China, is preserved in the shadows of mass tourism. Later, in a superb example of participatory journalism, he imitated his neighbors in an illegal river crossing into Burma. Smuggling is one of the major economic activities in the region, and David felt he could never truly understand where he was if he always followed the official rules.
16 minutes | Mar 17, 2017
#8. The Greater Patagonia Trail (3): An Impassible Route
Garrett Martin and his team are almost halfway through their filming and backpacking adventure in Chile along the Greater Patagonia Trail. And what a journey it has been! In part three of Travel Tape's extended interview series with @UnboundedFilm, Garrett talks about being stuck in town as forest fires rage nearby; learning to pack raft frigid rivers and lakes; retracing steps as a branch trail proves utterly impassible (and filled with hornets and tarantulas, to boot); and about working with a slightly mad but completely dependable team.
17 minutes | Feb 24, 2017
#7. The Greater Patagonia Trail (2): Under The Volcanoes
Garrett Martin, a young filmmaker from the US, is still on an ambitious trek down the Greater Patagonia Trail, in Chile, but he's now much wiser about both the hiking and the filming he has to do. In this second interview with Travel Tape, he talks about staying at gaucho ranches, sleeping under the gaze of volcanoes, waiting in town for new boots, and learning that a hiking documentary should be more than just "landscape porn."
14 minutes | Jan 23, 2017
#6. The Greater Patagonia Trail (1): An Adventure Mini-Series w/ Garrett Martin
An obscure Wiki Travel entry leads a young filmmaker to plan a 4-month trek down the Chilean Andes to document a linked route known as the Greater Patagonia Trail (GPT). In this interview, the first of a new series in which I follow adventurers and regularly chat with them while they are on the road, I speak to Garrett Martin in Chile. Garrett has just finished the first 10-day section of the GPT and we talk about the origins of this new trail (now reputedly the longest in South America), the rigors of trekking with film equipment, and ambitions to capture both the landscapes and the stories of the people living in this remote, wild and bewitching region of the world.
51 minutes | Nov 20, 2016
#5. When We Love Another Land
If you fell in love with a new country and thought you might want to become a citizen, just how much would you sacrifice to make that a reality? In 1989, TC Lin (born TC Locke), a freshman in the US, went to Taiwan on an exchange program and felt such an affinity with the people and culture that he decided this is where he belonged. After finishing his studies, he moved to Taiwan, became a citizen, and then waited for the day he would be called up to do two years of military service like every other male in the country. As one of very few non-Asians to have served in the Taiwan (ROC) armed forces, and the only one I know to have written about the experience, TC has a unique perspective on the country's military culture -- and as you'd expect some good stories to tell. But this podcast is also about how the experience of serving helped him in the process of mentally and emotionally becoming Taiwanese. When you talk about cultural immersion, of becoming someone new, somewhere new, TC Lin's story is truly one of the standard bearers for the term.
28 minutes | Sep 3, 2016
#4. Fables & Follies: Campfire Tales from Kenya
Everywhere in the world, people enjoy sharing stories about their encounters with wild animals. In this episode of Travel Tape, Kenyans Josphat Mako and Kyle Ray, Tanzanian Lenganasa Tombo, and UK-born guidebook writer Stuart Butler swap fables, legends, and true tales that include being lunged at by an 18-foot (6m) python, chased by a rampaging elephant, and losing out on an interview with a king when he turned into a bird. For fans of history there's also some speculation on whether the great fabulist Aesop was himself an African. Once again the audio for this show was recorded live in Kenya and once again I've used it to create some very lush and immersive soundscapes. You may find yourself booking a flight to Nairobi by the time the final credits start to roll.
40 minutes | Jul 15, 2016
#3. A Princess Story
In the 7th century, the Tang court in China sent Princess Wencheng off on a long journey to marry the king of Tibet. The princess was influential in converting Tibet to Buddhism, but her full impact and legacy has been contested by central authorities in China and Lhasa for over a thousand years (is this the world's longest propaganda battle?). A few years back, I set off on my own travels to Tibet and in the eastern regions discovered a highly localized and utterly captivating version of the princess story. This story centered around her illicit love affair with a Tibetan minister and the birth of a child who later reincarnated to found a powerful line of local Buddhist masters. My guest for this episode is anthropologist Cameron David Warner. He's a collector of Princess Wencheng stories, and a scholar who has a way of making the complexities of Tibetan Buddhism seem entirely relatable.
26 minutes | Mar 14, 2016
#2. The Korean Corner of China
War, migration, annexation, and pure happenstance have turned many border regions into hybrid zones where people who identify with one country can find themselves citizens of another. In this episode of Travel Tape (one of many that will explore border regions) journalist David Eimer takes us to a Korean enclave on the border with North Korea, but within China. Some questions he will answer include: what's the history behind the 2 million ethnic Koreans living as citizens of the PRC (People's Republic of China)? Why are these people turning to Christianity in alarming (for Beijing) numbers? And just why did North Korean leader Kim Il-sung have to relearn to speak Korean as an adult?
31 minutes | Mar 14, 2016
#1. Walking With The Maasai (1)
In the summer of 2015, travel guidebook writer and photographer Stuart Butler took a five-week walk across Massai (Maasai) country in southern Kenya. His goal: explore new models of conservation, evolving attitudes towards wildlife, and gather the best stories about the changing life of the Massai. In addition to conversations with animal researchers, former poachers, village healers, Massai warriors, and conservation leaders, this podcast gives you the feel of the walk, with richly textured recordings made on the ground, and Stuart's real-time thoughts as mishaps and classic African adventures unfold. This is part one of a three or four part series and includes an interview in the Maasai Mara National Reserve with Moses Kinyaika, a former poacher turned conservationist.
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