Iskanderkul is the lake where Alexander the Great ended his quest of the world to the east, turned around and went home. It is said he could find no way beyond the mountains however I think he may have just needed a good meal and some toilet paper. :) Beautiful country and people...
Fujifilm X-E2 - 18mm (21eq) f/5.6 / 1/950 sec ISO200, SOOC JPEG
This sleepy little mountain town is actually real. We took a side trip here from Merida, which has to be the best adventure travel destination in Venezuela. The ride was in an old jeep style vehicle on windy cliff roads. We lost traction at one point on a high narrow pass and began to fall off the road before the driver got traction just in time. That part was not as cool as it looks in reality shows...
Olympus E-P1 - M14-42mm at 29mm @ F/5.6 - 1/160 sec ISO 100 SOOC JPEG
Angkor. Cambodia - March 2009
Ta Prohm Temple is the pop culture icon from the Tomb Raider franchise set apart by the massive trees grown into the complex walls. This Khmer nun's pride in Angkor, and her happiness we stopped to talk, was as rewarding as the temple itself.
Canon 5D Mark 2 EF135mm f/2.0L - 1/125sec @f/3.2 ISO 500
Subotica is a vibrant little place just south of Hungary. That night I got off the rail for a nights rest and was surprised with amazing people and a classic auto festival. The memories of American muscle cars, vintage VW's and this Mercury classic were an exciting contrast to the small Serbian town. Needless to say, I stayed awhile..!
Canon 500D - 24mm f/1.4L @ f/ 1.4 - 1/640 sec ISO 100 OOC JPEG
Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Hope, one feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood. . . . A journey, in fact, appeals to the Imagination, to Memory, to Hope,—the three sister Graces of our moral being.
—Burton, Zanzibar (London, 1872), vol. 1, pp. 16-17
Fuji X-E1 - XF 18mm 1/640sec @f/5.6 ISO200 OOC JPEG
"When your heart speaks, take good notes"
"Not hammer strokes, but the dance of the water, sings the pebbles into perfection"
"All my fellows, why license is not deposed on the beautiful eyes of a beautiful lady? They fire at men like a bullet. They cut surely as the sword"
graffitti, Satpara Valley
"Trust in Allah but tie up your camel."
graffitti, Satpara Valley
"Failure: When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
"No despair, no happiness, no anxiety. I have not lost the mastery of my feelings, there are actually no more feelings. I consist only of will..."
Reinhold Messner, The Crystal Horizon
"Both my hands were completely frozen. My face was destroyed by the cold. I was profoundly hypothermic. I had not eaten in three days, or taken water for two days. I was lost and I was almost completely blind... You cannot sweat the small stuff, I said to myself."
Beck Weathers, 1996
(Climbing back to camp alone after having been left for dead during a storm on the South Col of Everest. Later he would lose both hands and much of his face, yet did regain his vision)
"Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale."
Robert Falcon Scott, 1912
(...from his travelog, written just before his death on a failed South Pole expedition.)
"The more improbable the situation and the greater the demands made on [the
freediver], the more sweetly the blood flows later in release from all that
tension. The possibility of danger serves merely to sharpen his awareness
and control. And perhaps this is the rationale of all risky sports: You
deliberately raise the ante of effort and concentration in order, as it
were, to clear your mind of trivialities. It's a small scale model for
living, but with a difference: Unlike your routine life, where mistakes
can usually be recouped and some kind of compromise patched up, your
actions, for however brief a period, are deadly serious.
"The Savage God: A Study of Suicide"
"My sense of joy in the accomplishment and my satisfaction with being on top is overshadowed by the wonder that one could make such an effort for the transitory reasons of human vanity. It is as though, arriving at the top, something has been forgotten or lost, and without that it is impossible for me to understand why I am standing there. A great emptiness fills me, and I experience tranquility, knowing that when I go down, the world will be easier for me."
Anatoli Boukreev, Above the Clouds
"It is so pleasant to sit and do nothing - and therefore so dangerous. Death through exhaustion is - like death through freezing - a pleasant one."
Reinhold Messner, The Crystal Horizon
"Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently at the vastness of Tibet. I understood on some dim, detached level that it was a spectacular sight. I'd been fantasizing about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn't summon the energy to care."
Jon Krakauer, 1997
Man is a tool-using Animal. Weak in himself, and of small stature, he stands on a basis, at most for the flattest-soled, of some half-square foot, insecurely enough; has to straddle out his legs, lest the very wind supplant him. Feeblest of bipeds! Three quintals are a crushing load for him; the steer of the meadow tosses him aloft, like a waste rag. Nevertheless he can use Tools, can devise Tools: with these the granite mountain melts into light dust before him; he kneads glowing iron, as if it were soft paste; seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without Tools he is nothing, with Tools he is all.
-- Thomas Carlyle, 1831
"To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself."
"Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle , at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned like a liberation...the road to this paradise was not so comfortable and alluring as the road to religious paradise; but it has proved itself as trustworthy and I have never regretted having chosen it."
(at age 67, nine years before his death in in 1955, describing his lifelong quest)
"For myself, I like a universe that includes much that is unknown. and at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak minded theologians. A universe which is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is very much like the one we inhabit. And I would guess that that is not really much of a coincidence."
Carl Sagan. Broca's Brain
"I do not regret being cut off from the understanding and sympathy of other men. I lose something by it, to be sure, but I am compensated for it by being rendered independent of the customs, opinions and prejudices of others and I am not tempted to rest my peace of mind on such shifting foundations."
"Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside [the cradle] of Hercules"
Theodore Huxley, 1860
"To know that which is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull facilities can comprehend only in its most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness, In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men."
A.E. Einstein, 1930