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Plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky / A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers

- Pink Floyd

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Adventure Travel

Jun 16, 2017

Adventure Versus Exploration: Exclusive Video Interview with ‘Inspironeer’ Bertrand Piccard

From being the first to fly around the globe in a balloon, to his Solar Impulse project, Prof.

WRITTEN BY

Nuno Rocha

Bertrand Piccard has impressed and inspired the world for generations—and he has no intention to stop. Realising how aligned The Outdoor Journal’s views are with his, we caught up with him at Vivatech 2017 to talk about what exploration means to him, why environmental awareness is not enough and his solutions to fight the ‘dirty status quo’ we have today.

With an incredibly diverse and inspiring resume ranging from making the first ever non-stop round-the-world flight in a balloon in 1999, to the Solar Impulse project, in which he and André Borschberg flew from Europe to Africa in a solar airplane—without a single drop of fuel, Bertrand Piccard  is also a doctor and psychiatrist, fascinated by the human spirit and is a pioneer for environmental protection, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

The smiling faces of Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

TOJ: For us, it’s important to have the vision of people like you on what exactly is adventure. The word adventure, how do you define it?

BP: For me, there is adventure and there is exploration. Adventure is when you are out of your comfort zone. It’s when you find yourself in a new situation that obliges you to mobilise your inner resources. To use the doubts and the question marks and the uncertainty to stimulate your creativity. Adventure is when you get into a situation where what you have learned before is not enough, so you have to develop new skills in order to survive or to succeed. In that sense, adventure is a crisis that you accept. And a crisis is an adventure that you refuse.

Exploration, not only adventure, exploration is when you use adventure for a more global purpose. Adventure is for yourself. When I flew around the world, non-stop in a balloon, it was the first time anyone had ever done it and it was my personal adventure. Solar Impulse is exploration more than adventure. It is the state of mind, sure, but you do it for a purpose. To help others. You bring a meaning, you bring encouragement to do the same. This is why what I’m doing now, after Solar Impulse, is exactly the logic of Solar Impulse, it’s the following step. Now creating the world alliance for efficient solutions in order to bring together the individuals, startups or companies, who have a product, idea, a process, a technology, that can protect the environment in a profitable way. We will select the 1000 best solutions to bring them to the governments and international institutions to give them the means to act, to respect their environmental commitments, and even to be more ambitious in their environmental projects because they know that the solutions exist.

The Outdoor Journal speaks with Bertrand Piccard about our aligned views on the necessity of environmental action over environmental awareness at Viva Technology 2017.


TOJ: So you would agree that bringing environmental awareness is not necessarily useful today, but that it’s about environmental action?

BP: Yes, absolutely! The awareness is not enough. The action is wishful thinking as long as you don’t have solution. And this is what I hate, in a lot of international conferences, is when the guy coming on stage says ‘we have a big problem, we will have droughts, floods, natural disasters, tropical diseases in Europe, increase in sea level, millions of climactic refugees… All of that we know. Problems, we know. If you give too many problems to the people, everybody is depressed and fed up. Today we have to take the speech of solutions. Don’t speak about problems, we know them, speak about solutions; how we can improve, how we can protect the environment and how at the same time, they are profitable, how we can create jobs, how they allow a clean growth which is much better than the dirty status quo we have today. So to reconcile the protection of the environment, the industry and the political world.

A zero-fuel airplane with unlimited endurance Photo courtesy of Bertrand Piccard / Solar Impulse.

TOJ: For us, what you just said is quite important. Our purpose is to educate and inspire all people to enjoy, experience and protect wilderness. That’s why it was important for us as a media brand to say ‘okay, everyone is asking us how to do the adventures that we write about and we need to set that up in a clean, sustainable way’.

BP: Completely. Using the new, clean technologies that are available.

Feature image courtesy of Bertrand Piccard taking a selfie in the sky!

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Adventure Travel

Oct 18, 2017

EOFT is Back With 7 of the Year’s Best Adventure Films

The European Outdoor Film Tour or EOFT for those in the know, Europe’s largest outdoor film event is playing once again across 300 locations in 14 countries.

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WRITTEN BY

Apoorva Prasad

Here’s our review of this year’s selection. Keep reading for a chance to win free tickets! You can also click here to find a screening near you.

Choices
The show begins with ‘Choices’, an emotionally-charged portrait of Steph Davis – American climber, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer. Steph rose to serious prominence sometime in the early 00s thanks to her ever-increasing list of achievements, as well as the fact that she became one half of a famous couple – her late husband, the inimitable Dean Potter, kept the climbing world equally, if not more riveted.

But Steph has suffered several tragedies (read our review of Steph’s second book, ‘Learning to Fly’). Both her former spouse and second husband died in separate wingsuit accidents. As Steph climbs and BASE jumps in the film, her current partner reiterates that Steph’s choices in life are driven by her desire to constantly seek ‘ultimate freedom’. “Climbing makes me happy”, she says, and while that might sound simplistic to some, maybe even juvenile, in reality, it is a very deep and powerful statement when we drive deeper into the meaning of a life lived to the limit of absolute freedom. A great film on why outdoor athletes do what they do.

Ice Call
Short film on the European Outdoor Film Tour following Sam Favret freestyle skiing inside the giant Mer de Glace glacier, like it’s some kind of grownup terrain park. Whoa.

Follow The Fraser
A bunch of downhill mountain bikers downhill mountain bike some biggish hills in Canada. “The closest you’ll get to skiing with two wheels”. Nice shots. ’Nuff said.

Dug Out
“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”, and our two British lads decide to not prove Noel Coward wrong by heading off into the Amazon jungle of Ecuador to live with the remote and isolated Huaorani tribe, where they ‘befriend the natives’, chop a tree, build a dugout canoe and paddle down the river back to civilization. Simple, right? (This reminds us of our very own Brit kayakers exploring and paddling remote rivers across India.)

Of course, hilarity ensues, including nakedness and survival on banana-water and maggots. The film ends on a deeply troubling, somber note, reminding us that the Amazon is today under a deep and existential threat from oil and logging interests. One of the best films of the tour.

Into Twin Galaxies
The world’s only female Master Polar Guide Sarah McNair-Landry (read an exclusive interview with her here), and two dudes decide to kite-ski across the Greenland ice cap so that they can maybe, possibly, kayak a river they think they might have spotted on Google Earth. Erik Boomer and Ben Stookesberry went on Google and found a meltwater stream from a Greenland glacier they thought they could make a first kayak descent of.

So they got Sarah involved as the experienced expedition guide, took a boat to the eastern edge of Greenland, to travel 1000km across on foot dragging their kayaks and supplies to the western edge to a place they call “Twin Galaxies” (no, it’s literally just a location on a map with no inhabitation or life of any sort). Is this river actually flowing? Is it even kayakable?

They don’t really know. Kiteskiing across the ice cap is the only way to do it without support; and well, I guess it does make it more of an adventure. Unfortunately, <<SPOILER ALERT>> on Day 3, Sarah’s safety gets stuck during a gust of wind and she breaks her back… But they carry on. <<END SPOILER ALERT>>. Of course, to kite-ski you need wind, and some days there just ain’t any, so each person just has to haul that 100-kilo pig with their kayak, sled and supplies. On other days it’s booming, so they do “10-on, 2-off” – ten hours moving, two hours resting, repeat.

My level-headed hiking friend next to me whispered that she couldn’t understand what drove these people. It seemed a bit too insane for her. But rest assured, it’s a beautifully shot movie and I’d watch it again.

Ushba
My heart skipped a small beat when the lineup announced Ushba, a movie about skiing in Georgia. I was in Georgia last year, in Mazeri village at the base of Ushba and I’ve been worryingly developing an obsession with this peak, and this part of the world.

Unfortunately, after the epic nature of the previous films from the European Outdoor Film Tour, this seemed to be a pretty random, “dude, that was extreme!” kind of film with some good images of skiing, but an abrupt shift from the pensive, exploratory and environmental nature of some of the other films.

Good shots made want to get back to surfing some snow soon, but I could barely tell if they were even on Ushba, fearsome killer mountain, testing ground of Mikhail Khergiani, Tiger of the Caucasus? A bit unfortunate.

MARKUS EDER, SVANETI, GEORGIA

La Congenialita
The legendary Italian mountaineer Simone Moro has one of alpinism’s most storied careers, as the only person to have made first winter ascents of four of the world’s eight-thousanders. This film about the relationship between him and his much younger climbing partner, Tamara Lunger, 30-year old ski alpinism champion during a 2017 expedition to attempt the world’s highest traverse on the Kanchenjunga massif, shows how the mentor-mentee equation has begun to invert with the passage of time. Touching and also one of the best films of the tour, especially for anyone who’s followed Moro’s career.

And if you haven’t already seen it, here’s the trailer:

All images copyright the photographers / EOFT 17/18.

Love the outdoors? Love good cinema? We’re giving you and a friend the chance to get FREE PASSES!*

Step 1: Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Step 2: Share this post from The Outdoor Journal!
Step 3 – Join The Outdoor Voyagers Group.
Good Luck!

*Competition Rules & Guidelines:

· Entrants must follow The Outdoor Journal’s Facebook Page and publicly share the competition post on their profile. Entrants must also subscribe to The Outdoor Journal’s email newsletter, and request access to the Facebook group “The Outdoor Voyagers”.
· Entrants must clearly enter their complete name and email address on the subscription form. Incomplete or inaccurate entries will be rejected.
· Only one entry per person. All eligible competition entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
· The winners will be randomly selected via a draw on Monday, October 30th, 2017. Two attempts will be made within 24-hours to contact the selected winners via the provided email. If at the end of the 24-hour period the winner has not replied, another winner will be contacted and the process will repeat until winners are selected.
· The winner must present a valid form of identification in order to collect the passes at the screening of their choice.
· Winners may choose from any of the approximate 300 screenings of their choice in Europe.

· The Outdoor Journal does not accept liability for any lost, stolen, unclaimed or expired prizes. Any unclaimed or expired prizes will be retained by The Outdoor Journal. The winner agrees to allow The Outdoor Journal to publicly use their name and likeness in association with the competition and agrees to present The Outdoor Journal, EOFT and any other partners in a positive light in any interviews, social media posts or other public communication now and in perpetuity.

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