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Climbing Patagonia

A 20 minute short film about 2 guys climbing Patagonia. I know there are already a lot of Patagonia videos out there, but one can never have too much of a good thing, eh?

These dudes are only 25 and 26 years old.

What am I doing!?

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Super-pod of dolphins

Chanced upon this video of a super-pod of dolphins, photographed off South Africa by explorer Mike Horn and photographer Chase Jarvis while sailing. It’s such a well-shot video too. GAHHH… makes me wish that I live somewhere closer to the abundance of nature.


I’ve been coming across articles and stories of people doing all these exciting things – Sailing around the world, climbing obscure mountains, slack-lining all over cliffs and gorges, and then some. Makes me wonder… How do these people make a living? Granted, most of them are probably freelance editors/photographers or full-time explorer/sports-enthusiasts, which no doubt sound like a dream. But the pragmatic side of my head wonders, to what extent can passion pay your bills? I’m also almost certain that there must be a handful of them who have to juggle between a day job and traipsing all over the globe doing things they love. The question is, how the hell do they manage that?

This dialogue in my head was also fueled by a lunch convo with my boss a few weeks back where I had an honest outpouring of grievances and told him about my frustration with stagnancy at work. On the same note I also lamented that there is no time to do as much “exploration” as I would have liked. Three weeks to trek the Everest Base Camp, a few months to cycle the Silk Road… Despite my boss’ very concerned & empathetic If you need more holiday, you can actually let me know, which I deeply appreciate, these are things which cannot be done with annual leave of the double digit sort.

So, balance is key? Yay or nay?

Mountains Wanderlust

There is something very therapeutic about looking at a vast expanse of snow-capped mountains. Even the short hikes I recently did at Salzkammergut in Austria & Konigssee in Germany did wonders to my weary urbanite side. Never underestimate the healing powers of mother nature!

As a somewhat nature junkie, there are several treks which I really want to do. This is definitely one bucket list that I will be obsessively trying to tick all the items off.

1. Himalayas, India

Will you just look at that! This trek is done from the Indian side of the mountain range, via Himachal Pradesh and involves 24 days of brutal trekking along the mountain tops from Spiti to Ladakh. The bleak high-altitude desert terrain inspired Rudyard Kipling to exclaim, ‘Surely the gods live here; this is no place for men’.

2. Overland Track, Tasmania, Australia

This is an 80km trek from Cradle Mountain to Lake St. Claire in beautiful, beautiful Tasmania. When I went there in 2007 I’ve done most of the bushwalks around Cradle Mountain, Dove Lake and Lake St. Claire on separate occasions (we took a Tassielink bus from Cradle Mt. to Lake St. Claire). We heard about the Overland Track and read about people who had done it. Apparently it took some 7 days and you would need to camp out in the mountains, and at that time we city kids were unfortunately not up for it. Anyway, the Overland Track consists of well-defined path (boardwalked in parts) which passes craggy mountains, beautiful lakes and tarns, extensive forests and moorlands. I really love Tasmania, and I will definitely go back!

3. Patagonia, Argentina & Chile

Shared by Argentina & Chile, Patagonia is a must for every avid trekker and mountain lover. Though it is now being visited by more and more travelers, Patagonia remains a land of wild nature, large spaces, pristine lakes and unconquerable peaks. Among the Patagonia’s most spectacular treks are the Fitz Roy Range trails, Torres del Paine National Park, and Glacier Perito Moreno as well as Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, perfect for lone wolf type of trekkers.

Ok so South America is still somewhat off my radar. But slowly & surely I will inch my way there. Starting from Patagonia, and then the Salar Uyuni in Bolivia (which has been onthe list since forever). Oh yes.

4. GR 20, Corsica, France

This demanding 15- day (168km) slog through Corsica is legendary for the diversity of landscapes it traverses. There are forests, granite moonscapes, windswept craters, glacial lakes, torrents, peat bogs, maquis, snow-capped peaks, plains and névés (stretches of ice formed from snow). But it doesn’t come easy: the path is rocky and sometimes steep, and includes rickety bridges and slippery rock faces – all part of the fun. Created in 1972, the GR20 links Calenzana, in the Balagne, with Conca, north of Porto Vecchio.

5. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 metres. There are several routes to climb the mountain – Machame & Marangu being the most popular. Machame is the most scenic route but it’s a steeper climb and takes 6-7 days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes with the most difficult summit night and the Marangu is also relatively easy, but accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers. As a result, this route tends to be very busy, and ascent and descent routes are the same.

6. Hiking in Iceland

I’m not sure where to start with Iceland, because I’ve seen so many breathtaking pictures of mountains, fjords, glaciers & volcanoes, it seems that the whole country is going to be one epic walk!

This picture below is a trek to Iceland’s most active volcano, Eyjafjallajökul.

And I have not even started on Denali in Alaska and of course the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal! 19 days of annual leave is not enough, I tell you.

Credits for pictures & some texts from Wild Junket and Lonely Planet.


A Restless Curiosity

Ok folks.. The reason I haven’t been updating this space is because of an inertia of gargantuan proportion which has colonised my body and rendered me cyber-ly inactive. And part reason for that inertia, is the fact that my good ol’ laptop of 5 years just got prematurely terminated when my dear boyfriend accidentally spilled my lovingly made concoction of berry yoghurt smoothie on it.

The thick purple goodness seeped into the crevices separating Z, X, C and Alt, and despite aggresive wiping, blowing and drying, it is now a cranky mess. Being a computer-idiot who generally prefers a fuss-free and economic approach to technology (and YES I know that 5 computer years is technically dinosaurs apart), I am a little bummed. I mean, like DARN IT, man!

Anyway, today we finally went down to the Asian Civilization Museum to catch the Steve McCurry “Unguarded Moments” photo exhibition, which included his famous Afghan Girl photo.

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I must say, I hadn’t been so inspired for a long time! His photos  really captured the essence of the moment frozen in time and space. On one of the walls, there is a short write-up of his quote:

When people ask me what they should do to become a photographer, I seldom mention cameras or technique. I say, “If you want to be a photographer, first leave home.” And as travel and fiction author Paul Theroux advises, “Go as far as you can. Become a stranger in a strange land. Acquire humility.”

In the end, I can’t imagine another way of being. My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport. Here are the results of this restless curiosity – a selection of those precious unguarded moments I was fortunate enough to witness.

When I finished reading, there was an imaginary army of little guys in my head doing a standing ovation, because I could literally feel it. An urgent need to wander and observe, a restless curiosity. A knowing that the world is so colossal and there is so much ground to cover that a hundred years wouldn’t be enough.

Which reminds me. Thanks to my photography fanatic boyfriend who stalks ClubSnap forum like a hawk, I recently bought a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 wide angle lens and have some photos to upload 🙂

Anyway, of late, I realise that when I have certain conversations with people, I have the bizarre power to make them contemplate their lives in a way that sometimes could be depressing (or so they say). I have a tendency to dissect my life issues from ten different angles or psycho-analyse things so that they start looking at their lives in a way they never did before. It is actually quite amusing, but in my boyfriend’s exact words:

“Your power sucks.”

Nest.

I think i have reached that juncture in life where I’m really dying to settle down. And I don’t mean the wedding-bells-out-pop-a-baby combination, where the next thing you know you are SO settled down you can’t do nothing else.

What I crave, is the physical settling down in a place. A place accompanied with a piece of paper with my name printed on it in big cursive font,  so that I can buy shoes like Imelda Marcos without worrying about having to hire a moving truck when my property lease expires.

Did you know that Imelda Marcos had 2,700 pairs of shoes? Shoes which she had to leave behind when the revolt forced her to flee the country. An analyst calculated that if Imelda Marcos changed her shoes three times a day and never wore the same pair twice, it would take her more than TWO YEARS FIVE MONTHS to go through her entire shoe closet.

She was quoted as saying, “They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God all they found were shoes, beautiful shoes.”

That shoe horse had a sense of humour 🙂

But I digress.

So we were talking about this almost desperate and unrealistic crave for a bachelorette pad. It’s all The Selby‘s fault. If you haven’t already heard (but how could you not have?), it is a website that features famous people in their interesting spaces (home, workplace).

fergus aka fergadelic – artist; and caroline smithson – designer and 1/2 of craftwork
at their home – london – dec 10 2008

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elisa nalin – stylist
at her home – paris – feb 24 2009

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andrew neuhues – graphics
at his home – silverlake los angeles – dec 12 2008

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Anyway, for some strange reasons, I am really attracted to all the messy collages of photos and postcards plastered all over the wall and artworks strewn across every possible corners. There is something strangely comforting about being surrounded (albeit suffocatingly) by messy beautiful things.

Having said that, I think “calm within chaos” works fantastically well for me.

I think all the years of constant shifting and moving from one rented house to another, and then to hostel and then another rented house, has made me adopt a nomadic approach in my subsconscience. Sometimes I can’t differentiate whether I just don’t want to face up to the impending headache of repacking, or that I’m simply too lazy to bother with nesting properly.

I really want a house 😦