As we continue our search for adventurers and explorers to talk to it has become more and more apparent that the numbers are strong. People around the world are making it their goal, their mission to get out there and experience. Experience is what matters. Living those experiences, getting out of one’s comfort zone; Discovering.
For many, the romanticism of discovery has faded. In our modern era of satellites and GPS there’s no need to get lost anymore, and unless you’re trekking deep into unchartered jungles you’re unlikely to ‘discover’ lost temples, not seen by human eyes for centuries gone.
This is where the word ‘discovery’ needs clarification. To Discover something does not have to be limited to being the first to find it.
The commonly thought of definition is “Be the first to find or observe (a place, substance, or scientific phenomenon) (OED)
But when it comes to travel, would a definition along the lines of: Become aware of (a fact or situation) or ‘show interest in for the first time’ (OED) be more fitting?
I think so. Discovery has become a personal quest for the modern traveller (and arguably has been at the core of travel for millennia). I may not have been the first person to lay eyes on the ruins of PhiMai (the guinea pig for Angkor Wat in northern Thailand); to see the sun move through the overgrown ruins, casting light through hollow windows onto saffron robes, but I can assure you it didn’t matter. It was my first time, and more than 5 years later the experience is still awe-inspiring.
And so, this is what I search for in the adventurers I interview. That sense of wonder, that ambition, and the personal desire for discovery.
While writing the piece on Mario Rigby and Crossing Africa I saw one of his posts about the couple of days he spent in South Africa with Niko Krauland, a young Austrian who has just this month returned home after an epic 17month, 21,500km journey by bike which had him in the saddle for about 1,500hours! I had a look at his website (www.niko-rides.com) and was immediately drawn in by his evocative photography. I wanted to know more about what drives him, as well as racking his brain on the logistics of it all – planning, gear – all of it....