Exploration as Art

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Arlo and the wangana

Arlo straddled with a peccary kill on a hunt with the Huaorani. Ecuadorian Amazon. 2003.

Beyond all else, exploration is my greatest passion.  It is the process of discovery with risk. It provides the opportunity to experience what few others have and the potential to witness that which no one else has.  It is both the hazy cloud of the unknown and the shining beacon of enlightenment.  And to me it is worth any cost.

Exploration is an art.  Like all forms of art, it is a means of self-expression, discovery and a reflection of reality.  It is also the tool by which I paint the picture of my life. The means through which I tell stories in written word and film.  It is an ever-changing landscape on a kaleidoscope of color, culture, geology, climate and biodiversity.  It is a deep crevasse of self-awareness, the mechanism for finding one’s own place in this world and understanding the texture of our souls.  Nothing shows you who you are quite like that which you are most not.  Exploration places you in intimate proximity with your counterbalance.  It entwines who you are with who you are not, with who you may be and most of all, who you appear not to be, but in fact share almost everything.  In doing so, exploration catalyzes the creation of something new.  This creation is artistic expression of life in its purest form.

Wiami - Blind fish of the Amazo

A blind river fish of Rio Bameno, Ecuadorian Amazon. Called "Wiami" by the Huaorani.

The Exploration Section of my website is here to further highlight some of the exploratory work that I have been involved with. Some of what is found here may be under represented or not represented at all on my primary curriculum vitae.  Exploration does not always fit into the context of defined work positions or occur on an easily definable linear path.  For example, some topics covered here occurred over the course of years and may span my involvement in a variety of formal positions.

My interpretation of exploration reflects The Explorers Club criteria.  To paraphrase, exploration must entail the process of unique discovery.  It may occur in remote polar regions or in a sterile laboratory, but most importantly is a conscious effort to learn something new on behalf of humanity.  It does not include standardized course work or tourism, as exotic as a trip may be.  Travel must include an applied element of discovery to qualify as exploration.

Mantis

Unidentified mantis at the Bilsa Biological Station. Mache-Chindul Range, Western Ecuador

Thus, although I have hiked jungles in Thailand and Madagascar, and have dove with great white sharks in South Africa and on coral reefs off Borneo, you will not find mention of those experiences here.  However, you will find a couple topics, such as surfing, which may surprise you.  Surfers are, in my opinion, some of the most under regarded yet most intrepid explorers of our time.  The quest for the perfect wave – or at least a good ride away from heavy crowds – has brought surfers of all nationalities to venture off the beaten path of international travel to go where few others have gone before.  I am proud that a close group of buddies and I have been able to be a very small part of that global adventure.

Please explore the posts in this Exploration Section to learn more on individual topics of which I have had the privilege to be involved in.

Arlo on satellite phone during a 1998 AquaRAP expedition to the Brazilian Pantanal. Photo: Jed Murdoch, Conservation International

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Exploration as Art”

  1. Passion as to what you might think in putting it in words is indeed a gift.

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