A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing This article is about a Palestinian little girl and an Israeli little boy both recovering from injuries inflicted by their respective enemies. Amazingly beautiful lesson on humanity.
When lavender and olive trees converge, you know you are in for a little Heaven. Add lemon blossoms and a little warm air ...
When the scent of lemon blossoms bloom
"Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived. The odors of fruits waft me to my southern home, to my childhood frolics in the peach orchard. Other odors, instantaneous and fleeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start and awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away." Helen Keller
Icon of Adventure Travel Slows Down For A
photo by Louise Bangs
Childlike Wonder - Richard Bangs'
Travel Filter, Pure & Inspiring
Richard Bangs co-founded one of the first U.S. based adventure travel companies, Mountain Travel Sobekafter rushing into the heartbeat of his young life with a first descent on one of the greatest rivers in Africa in 1973. His creds are numerous and his style is anything but predictible. He is the ultimate hybrid of poet, adventurer, entrepreneur and courageous explorer. According to Bangs, "Adventure is anything that quickens the pulse and moves you beyond your ordinary life and into the extraordinary."
An Adrenaline Driven Soul Translates Slow Travel But First
Check Out This Clip
As the co-founder of Mountain Travel Sobek, the first US-based
adventure travel company, what does the notion of Slow Travel mean to you?
of course, suggests movement, and adventure implies a well-planned trip gone
wrong, so from the outset our concept of Slow Experiences was a radical
departure from the typical travel provider train station, something perhaps
akin to the Glacier Express, which bills itself as the slowest express train in
the world. The idea is to take the long-way…the multi-day trek over a pass,
rather than motoring through the tunnel…so that the world winds down and
delight and enlightenment seep in.
You have said in an Outside Magazine article, “ The more
granular you go, the bigger the universe. Can that be applied to a slow travel
much so. The meander is the beeline of poets, and we are all poets in some
stage of reduction, unwinding the path, like a mountain trail to a spring. And
the more we see the more we realize we have yet to see, the paradox of plenty.
A Younger Richard At Play In Ethiopia With His Tribe
William Blake presaged the movement in “Auguries of Innocence” when he wrote: "To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour."
photo by Laura Hubber
“Ultimate Slow Adventure?”: A long life examined and enjoyed Richard Bangs
Slow travel is an emerging
movement and can be applied to a lot of elements. Since you are one of the founders of
adventure travel, how would you define slow adventure travel? I think it is
still up for interpretation, please take a crack:
photo by Wendy Abrams
adventure travel is the deliberate deceleration of a journey so that the small
looms large, the particle becomes profound, and the blood races with the
adventure and discovery of the Amazon in every dewdrop, the Everest in every trail
stone, the Redwoods in every swath of grass, and the galaxy within every snowflake.
Can you think
of a few slow travel menu items that you cover now or are about to uncover? Libraries and sheep
shearing or slow kayaking? As a master curator of experiences, what would be an
“ultimate slow adventure” in your book.
travel can be applied to any journey, as it is more about the noticing and absorption
of all the available input, rather than the pacing. There have been movements
when I was crashing through a major rapid when, as in a snapshot, I would
freeze the world and drink in all the details, and then allow a mindful
interpretation over time.
photo by Didrik Johnck
Could you give us a snapshot of examples of slow travel in
say Latin America, Ireland, New Zealand, Thailand. I’m thinking food trucks, a
day of surfing then laying around for a few days or writing poetry in a field
of heather and drinking local beer and whittling. Hiking in Switzerland and
playing checkers by a fire and drinking hot chocolate. Slow and active, give us
your best shot.
adventure involves risk…the risk of discovering truth and meaning through
examination. It’s not really a juxtaposition of active and passive, or rabbit
and tortoise. You can choose any adventure…which often means an experience that
ushers beyond a comfort zone…and fashion it to slow adventure just by opening
eyes, arms and hearts a bit wider, and letting the delights, as well as the
inconvenient, pour in.
You have written so much about travel and its sublime effect.
You have a strong literary foundation and the soul of a romantic yet a rugged
adventurous constitution. As time ticks away, could you see creating slow
travel tours or stories with a slow theme?
Is a slow philosophy already embedded in your coverage of experiential
travel based on approach, filter, pacing, location?
think once I was a card-carrying member in the cult of adrenaline, but with
time discovered that as many, if not more, thrills can be had by hazarding the mountains
of mind, the incognita coordinates of the spirit, all of which are accessed
through the legwork of the lingerer on the negligible trail.
Slow travel can be a convergence of nature, culture, farm
stay, handmade luxury, preservation and art appreciation. With so many
categories in travel today, how do you cut through the clutter and distill what
really resonates for people when choosing to experience life fully while they
gifts of understanding are presented to those who travel and seek. It really doesn’t matter which category of
travel undertaken, but rather in deciding how to travel. For to move, is to permit
change and open doors of perception. If opened slowly, considerately, then bouquets
of clarity and compassion rush in, and we might indeed discover a quiet place
in ourselves that is a state of grace.
Billy Zeb Smith is a filmmaker raised by an environmentalist explorer dad and a pioneer bohemian mother who was a Vogue Editor and is a top fashion designer. His world was to be explored as his father brought him to un chartered territory and his mother defined style from local and global inspirations with a handmade sensibility. They contributed to his awareness, vision, discipline and courage leading us to Billy Zeb's project and travel inspirations. He is one of the resourceful ones who embraced his upbringing and took it to his own level from early journeys. It was there his passion as a traveler and voice as a filmmaker and environmentalist emerged. I have known his intrepid mother for over ten years and watched, from an admiring distance, her son evolve into his own man taking conservation to the next generation. Today he is putting a spotlight on southeastern Panama in an area known as The Darien Gap, the subject of his upcoming documentary film, Where The Road Ends. See clip below:
"Where The Road Ends" is based based on Billy Zeb's initial travels with his father who introduced him to an ancient culture and a pristine "choke point" in southeastern Panama that literally stops on the Pan-American Highway running from Alaska to Chile.
"It is said you can drive from the tip of Alaska down to the tip of
Chile, the road trip to end all road trips. It is said, but it is not
so. Right smack in the middle of that network of nearly 30,000 miles of
roads that make up the famed Pan-American Highway is 60 miles of
pristine, virgin rain forest. The Darién Gap, in southeastern Panama, is a
10,000 square mile swath of untouched and uninterrupted jungle, and the
only land bridge between North and South America. There are no detours,
no side-roads, no other ways. This is the only place outside of Chile
and Alaska where The Road just.. Ends."
WHAT MAKES THE DARIÉN SO UNIQUE?
The Darién is home to three unique tribes of indigenous people: the Emberá, the Kuna, and the Wounaan. With the absence of roads, things like television and the Internet haven’t had the capability to impact their communities, allowing them to sustain the same types of lifestyles they have for millennia. This lack of impact hasn’t just benefited the local people: with the largest population of jaguars outside of the Amazon, along with an unrecorded amount of reptiles, fish, amphibians, bugs, over a thousand species of birds, and a constantly growing encyclopedia of plants and trees, the Darién is as vital an ecological zone as any on the planet, and the last of its kind in all of North America. The fact that it acts as a corridor between the North and South American continents only magnifies its importance. Is it in danger? YES!!!
Can you contribute?
From Where The Road Ends website, you can learn more about this story, the filmmaker, and how to help with donations to fund this project and raise awareness.The clip really illustrates the wonder of the story and the reason why Billy Zeb Smith is the person to tell it.
Meet Billy Zeb Smith. He’s here to share his travel tips, favorite trips,
and a story that takes you into the jungle at the end of the world’s
longest road, and alongside the indigenous people fighting its arrival.
1. Who are you?
My name is
Billy Zeb Smith, and I’m a documentary filmmaker.
2. What do you do (job or
I try to make
a difference by giving those without voices a platform and an audience.
3. Where are you right now?
Right now I’m
in a diner eating pancakes amidst a rare and lovely Los Angeles downpour.
the last place you’ve been?
I just came
back from a quick 36-hour trip to New York to meet with Eco Health Alliance,
Wildlife Conservation Society, and a couple production companies. I was also
able to team up with some friends over at Sons of Essex to throw a great event
to help bring awareness to the issues I’m focusing my next film on.
place you’re going/want to go?
I have a few
small trips planned over the next couple months, but the most important one I
have coming up is a return to the Darién Gap in southeastern Panama to start
production on this next project.
things you take with you on every trip?
My knife, my
camera, and pants.
7. Do you
book your own travel? If so, what websites do you most use or airlines do you
I tend to use
Kayak because it’s so easy. And some friends recently convinced me to focus my
travel rewards towards a singular collection of frequent flyer miles, so I’m
trying to travel with American and their affiliates as much as possible now. As
far as I could tell, they had the most wide-ranging partnerships around the
world, and they’re always offering some good deal on something.
your favorite foreign custom or tradition?
loved the strict and very culture-specific traditions surrounding tea and
coffee. From the very rigid rules of who pours and who tastes each serving of
coffee at the smallest of Bedouin camps, to the unique codes of order and
conduct within each and every tea ceremony from London to Tokyo. The customs
are very telling of the culture’s history, and for me it’s always very
heartwarming to be invited, as an outsider, to partake in something so
9. Have you
ever volunteered while traveling?
I try to
always volunteer while traveling. It has a twofold, win-win affect—it both
allows me to become organically immersed in the local community, and it helps
foreign communities learn a little more about Americans, and that we’re not all
greedy capitalists looking to pilfer and appropriate their country’s resources.
the best thing that’s happened to you on a trip that you didn’t plan for?
your favorite trip you’ve taken by yourself?
backpacking with NOLS for 6 weeks in Alaska when I was 13. My dad lied about my
age to get me in. I learned more about myself and my capabilities in those 6
weeks then all of high school combined.
12. Have you
ever stayed in touch with someone you met while traveling? Who are they and
what draws you to them?
I was very
fortunate to get to meet and spend a week with Arthur Demarest in northern
Guatemala while working for The History Channel a few years back, and we’ve
managed to keep in touch. Widely regarded as the “real-life Indiana Jones,”
he’s a wildly entertaining character. And with a life’s worth of field
knowledge and wisdom, coupled with a personality born in the bayou, educated at
Harvard, and developed in the jungles of Central America, each nightly
conversation we’ve shared has had the wine and chatter flowing until early the
would you say to someone that wants to travel, but struggles with time or
with a lot more excuses than you have taken that road less traveled, and it
intrinsically changed their lives forever. Fortunately, a lot of them wrote
about it. Let your eyes follow their stories, and your feet will find a way to
follow their paths.
someone came to your town what would you want to show them?
the season. After the past four days of cold rain down here at sea level, I’d
take them to the Eastern Sierras to make some fresh tracks.
would you travel to a second time?
this time I’d take a girlfriend.
16. What is
something that you’ve always wanted to do within 50 miles of your house?
the most adventurous thing you’ve done on a trip?
with a king cobra once. We both lost.
the biggest travel mistake you’ve ever made?
what make a trip an adventure. I try to make a bigger one with each new trip.
That said, I learned my lesson with snakes.
the best meal you’ve ever had?
the longest you’ve lived or visited outside of your home country?
I lived in an
extremely rural part of southern Paraguay for two months when I was 14. The
closest paved road was an hour and a half away by truck. I stayed with a local
family, and spent my days administering minor medical and dental care, and
installing latrines to families that were without. It’s not the longest I’ve
ever been away, or the furthest from home, but at that point in my life, it
seemed like a lifetime. And it changed the direction in which the rest of my
life was headed.
the furthest you’ve FELT from home?
The middle of
the Sahara in southern Libya. It’s also the furthest I’ve ever felt from Earth.
22. What has
traveling taught you about yourself?
taught me I am just as able as any to make a difference.
23. What has
traveling taught you about the world?
It is very
small. Until you go deep inside the jungle, or the desert, or the tundra or the
woods. Then it’s horrifyingly endless.
24. What does
it mean to you to Live Like You’re On Vacation?
I’ve been close to death in more
ways and on more occasions than most, so I make sure to live each day
deliberately and with purpose. But I enjoy myself thoroughly, and throughout it
all. I set my own clock and my own schedule, and will definitely work my ass
off on a Monday so I can go ski Tuesday. But life is a vacation. Every
day is like Christmas, except we get to decide what’s inside that box in front
of us. And if we all choose something we’re passionate about, the vacation will