Tag Archives: adventure

Travel From Thailand To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia With The Rawfoodfamily

16 Nov


We did it!
We finally left our lonely island in Thailand where we lived for the last 4 months and moved on.
The South-East Asia Tour 2012-13 with The Rawfoodfamily continues.
Enjoy one of the most beautiful cities on earth – Kuala Lumpur – see through the eyes of Ka Sundance and his family.



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Adventure on the Big Screen—The Banff Mountain Film Fest Tour

12 Mar


“You shouldn’t have to convince people to go to paradise, but if I could go to paradise without dying and see all that is there, sign me up.”  –Shelton Johnson, Yosemite park ranger, in The Way Home

Sign me up, too! It sounds like an adventure. Paradise waits for us when we explore the unknown, overcome challenges, and discover a newfound appreciation for the world.

Johnson’s words and other enticing tales inspired me at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival tour, which swung through my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, last week. This is a pretty cool festival that takes place each year in Banff, Alberta, showcasing mountain and adventure films, books, and speakers over the course of nine days. Then the show hits the road, screening select films at cities all over the world.

I saw several films, ranging in length from four minutes to 45, that spanned a wide variety of adventures—from mountain biking to kayaking, mountaineering to canyoneering, with some South Pole action to boot. It was a nice combo. But what struck me most was the common human condition that wove through widely disparate people and experiences.

The Denali Experiment was my favorite—about a team from The North Face who decided to climb Denali… and ski down—since why on earth would you merely climb a 20,320-foot peak when you can hump up it with a bunch of extra gear? The team included pro skier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and pro snowboarder Lucas Debari, who have skill in spades when it comes to charging down mountain faces, but not much experience climbing them. Luckily famed mountaineer Conrad Anker was there to show them the ropes—literally. It was fun to watch the group coalesce around a common goal and share mutual admiration for one another’s trades. My favorite quote was Anker marveling at a trick Sage pulled off: “…a crevasse feature and he does a back flip and he lands it smoothly in touring gear with an expedition backpack on. What’s up?”

Another story of trailblazers, Last of the Great Unknown introduces us to a group of canyoneers exploring the uncharted finger canyons surrounding the Grand Canyon. They pored over maps to figure out where it might be feasible to penetrate the rocky depths and plotted a course into canyons so hard to access, few—if any—people have dared venture. What struck me is that even in this time of maps and GPS and thousands of years of exploration, some places are so remote, they still hold their secrets tightly.

The most heart-warming (or freezing) story of the night, Crossing the Ice features two Australian buddies who decided to make a go at skiing—unsupported—to the South Pole and back, despite the fact that it had never been done before (and they’d never skied before!). Sounds like an audacious plan, huh? Pulling 350-pound sleds, they tackled the arduous 1400-mile journey, completing it in 89 grueling days. It cost them a bit of sanity, a whole lot of heel skin, many hungry nights, and a combined 121 pounds of body weight. But they made it. Throughout it all, they displayed amazing tenacity, humor, friendship, and humility.

And finally, the last film I’ll mention is The Way Home. Remember that quote? Park Ranger Johnson spreads joy by introducing newcomers to Yosemite. In this film, African-Americans from a Los Angeles church group venture to the park—for the first time, even though they’re in their 60s and live just a half a day away. This is a common problem in the United States. Compared to other ethnicities, African-Americans have the lowest outdoor participation in our country. Only one percent of Yosemite visitors are African-American. This needs to change. What this film taught me is that while journeying from Los Angeles to Yosemite might not seem all that adventurous, for these folks with limited outdoor knowledge, it was a challenging and rewarding experience that pushed their limits, opened their eyes to a whole new world, and transformed their lives.

So the moral of the story is, adventure means different things to different people. Whether you’re pioneering a ski descent of America’s highest peak, penetrating unexplored canyons in the Arizona desert, tackling the South Pole, or exploring a national park for the first time—it’s all adventure. Extreme or not, it taps a fundamental piece of humanity that lives inside all of us. And we can all rejoice in the satisfaction of a day spent exploring the wilds. Thanks to the Banff Mountain Film Fest for bringing this into focus.

Adventure on the Big Screen—The Banff Mountain Film Fest Tour adventure , Avery Stonich , Banff Mountain Film Festival , films , Outdoor Industry Association , tour

Felix Baumgartner Named People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

9 Mar

Austrian pilot Felix Baumgartner seen during the first manned flight for the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico; Photograph by Red Bull Content Pool

Austrian pilot Felix Baumgartner; Photograph by Red Bull Content Pool

Felix Baumgarter, age TK; Photograph courtesy of Red Bull Stratos

Felix Baumgarter showed a fondness for heights from an early age; Photograph courtesy Red Bull Content Pool

“I’ve come to realize we all crave inspiration…. People really aren’t that jaded and cynical after all. When we can bring people along to share adventures, they are moved, and the result is amazing. The best part is that one inspiration will trigger the next. That’s how we all keep moving forward.”
—Felix Baumgartner, 2013 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

Meet Felix Baumgartner, our People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for 2013. Last November we announced ten Adventurers of the Year, then asked our audience to vote for the person who best captures the spirit of adventure. With nearly 55,000 votes cast, today we announced that Baumgartner won the People’s Choice.

You probably already know that the 43-year-old Austrian pilot set a handful of new records when he free fell from 24.2 miles above Earth last October, ending his seven-year quest. You most likely watched it happen live on You Tube, along with more than 8 million concurrent other viewers (the largest livestream audience ever). He free fell for nearly 120,000 feet—that’s falling the height of the Empire State Building 85 times–at a maximum vertical speed of 843.6 miles per hour. And he was utterly alone. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time to watch him step out of the capsule and tumble back to Earth.

But you probably don’t know that Baumgartner doesn’t consider himself a daredevil, that he’s interested in going to space, that he loves riding his fixies around his home in Switzerland, and that he dreamed of flying helicopters as a kid. Get to know Baumgartner in the interview below, then see photos from his career of pushing the boundaries of BASE jumping and skydiving.

Adventure: How does it feel that our audience voted you the National Geographic People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for your spirit of adventure?
Felix Baumgartner: I was honored just to be on the same list with the other nominees. National Geographic has been opening people’s eyes to the world’s adventures for over a century, so being awarded this title is humbling. The fact that so many people made the effort to vote for me means the most of all. During the preparations for my jump, the support of fans kept me going through the tough times of waiting and uncertainty. It’s great to know that so many people are still following the mission.

A: What does adventure mean to you in your life?

F.B.: Adventure is life. It’s how we learn—when you’re a little child, adventure is feeling snow for the first time, or climbing a tree and seeing the world from an entirely new perspective. It’s exploration. As we get older our adventures change—maybe they become more sophisticated or more complex—but hopefully we never stop being curious, and we never stop exploring.

I want to add, though, that to me adventure does not mean being an adrenaline junkie. I’ve never liked the assumption that I am a daredevil just because I take on projects that few people would attempt. The reason I have been successful all these years is because I plan each one of my projects very carefully. The more ambitious the adventure, the better you have to plan. Being smart about it doesn’t take away from the excitement—for me that only adds to the experience, because I can appreciate what it took to get there, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it everything I had.

Adventure has taught me how to work toward goals successfully. The really big adventures—the ones that break boundaries and create “firsts”—aren’t undertaken lightly. They demand a lot of planning and preparation and risk assessment, or you’re probably going to fail. Throughout my life I’ve taken on progressively more demanding adventures, and I’ve learned from each one. That progression has enabled me to experience some incredible moments in a safe way. I can’t imagine life without adventurous goals.

A: How did jumping from the edge of space last October changed your life, in big and small ways?
It really has been life changing, without a doubt. It used to be that sometimes I’d get recognized back in Austria where I grew up, but now people are calling my name on the streets of New York and Moscow and Dubai. It’s pretty amazing. And then there are those moments that completely blow me away—like when the secretary-general of the United Nations asked me to pay him a visit to discuss how I might work as a role model for young people. That’s an honor I never would have dreamed of.

A: Now months later, what insights has the jump given you?
I think there’s something to learn from the worldwide response we’ve received. As people continue to send me photos of their children dressed in spacesuit costumes, and as teachers write to tell me how the jump sparked new curiosity in their students, I realize how much we all crave inspiration. It might seem like there aren’t any records left to break or places left to explore. It might seem like the world doesn’t have a lot of heroes anymore. But you know what? People really aren’t that jaded and cynical after all. When we can bring people along to share adventures (especially, I think, through the incredible kind of live images we were able to provide with Red Bull Stratos), they are moved, and the result is amazing. The best part is that one inspiration will trigger the next. That’s how we all keep moving forward.

A: The jump made you famous around the world. Do you still feel like a normal guy?
I guess I feel like a normal guy who is very fortunate to have some extraordinary experiences. I still wear jeans and t-shirts, and I still like working on my car. I’m still very close with my family and friends. The important things in my life haven’t changed.

A: Do you want to go back up there? Or even higher?
F.B: I wouldn’t be interested in simply repeating the jump. Once I’ve reached a goal I’m always looking for the next challenge, and since we were successful in gathering a great deal of information that can advance aerospace safety, I wouldn’t see the point in doing exactly the same thing again.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t go back up, however. If somebody offered me a trip to space, I would definitely consider it. Why? Because I had only about ten seconds to take in the moment when I was standing on the step of the capsule. I was finally on top of the world, with the curvature of the Earth stretching below me and a totally black sky above. It was incredible, and I wanted to stay there longer; but I knew I had only ten minutes of oxygen on my back. I had to jump without delay. So I feel like it was a great moment, but I want more. If somebody told me, “Felix, we need you up there,” I’d be on the way.

A: Are you and Joe Kittinger still buddies? What do you do together now?
After working with Joe Kittinger for four years, he became like my father. When I received the honor of a special BAMBI award in Germany last November, Joe came all the way to Düsseldorf to present it to me. And my girlfriend and I traveled to Florida to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Joe, his wife, and some other members of the Red Bull Stratos team. No matter where life takes us, Joe and I will always be in touch.

A: As a kid, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
From a very early age, I dreamed of skydiving and flying helicopters. And I grew up to do both! With Red Bull Stratos complete, I’ll still skydive and BASE jump for fun, but I look forward to having more time for piloting helis.

A: What was your favorite outdoor adventure as a kid?
This doesn’t go all the way back to my childhood, but ever since I started BASE jumping in my 20s, my favorite place for training has been what we call the “Dragon Wall” cliffs in the Salzburg of Austria.

A: When did you realize you didn’t want a “normal” job, like a lawyer or businessman, for your life?
There was never a time when I did want an office type of job. I always loved being outside and especially seeing the world from up high. Everybody’s different, and for me, being confined at a desk indoors has never been part of the equation.

A: Where’s your favorite place to relax in the outdoors now? And favorite activity?
As I write this, it’s been less than four months since the jump, and I’ve been on the road so much that I haven’t really done a lot of relaxing outdoors. I love the area around my home in Switzerland, where I can ride my “fixies” [fixed-gear bikes], go in-line skating, or go boating on the lake that’s only steps from my house. Flying my helicopter is another way I love to take in scenery. But I like exploring other areas, too. I was able to spend some time in Dubai recently, and it was a great location for recharging my batteries.

A: What big adventure are you planning to do next?
I want to take a little time to appreciate and absorb all that we accomplished with Red Bull Stratos before turning that page completely. So I don’t yet know what the next chapter of my life will hold, but I have some ideas in mind, and I’m curious to find out.

Felix Baumgartner Named People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year adventure , Adventurers of the Year , BASE jumping , Felix Baumgarter , people’s choice , Red Bull Stratos , skydiving , Space Jump