Reading some adventure stories, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the aim of the game is to get to the remotest location possible - as far away from other people as you can. For the most part however, that’s not been my experience.
Although there is undoubtedly something powerful about being ‘out there’ by yourself (just ask Sarah Outen, featured in this month’s Big Interview) all of my most enjoyable adventures have been ones that I’ve shared. I don’t just mean by posting pictures of it and waiting for your friends to hit the heart button either. Sorry Zuckerberg, that’s just not the same.
"It’s always the people who make the story worth telling."
Of course, you don’t want every man and his dog along for the ride. No-one likes big crowds of tourists (there’s a reason James Renhard’s story this month is about leaving Las Vegas). But even surfers, those most secretive of creatures, would have to admit that taking a select crew of the right people can make a remote location infinitely more enjoyable.
It’s an effect I experienced first hand this time last year, when I headed off to explore the quiet slopes of the Maurienne Valley, one of the few remaining places in France where you can enjoy powder without having to queue at the crack of dawn.
The lack of crowds made the riding great, but it was the people I was with that made the trip truly memorable (despite the lobotomising effects of the local genepi).
The same is true in even more remote places. This month issue tells the story of two Englishmen (or are they mad dogs?) who spent weeks living in the Amazon Rainforest’s “Intangible Zone" - the secluded area set aside for communities who chose to minimise their contact with the outside world.
It was a gruelling experience at times - Benjamin Sadd describes “weeks of runny poo and a multitude of biting insects and giant spiders" - but both the story he wrote and the film they made about it are hilarious, chiefly because they’re so obviously entertained by each other’s company.
Of course this issue isn’t just about going to wild places. There’s contributing editor Sam Haddad’s incredible (if slightly disturbing) investigation of the subculture of biohacking, which involves people implanting remote sensors or microchips under their skin, adding sixth and even seventh senses to the range of human experience.
There’s also Stuart Kenny’s fascinating piece about one ski resort’s battle to remain independent, and ensure that they’re not overwhelmed by too many tourists.
But what struck me about the majority of this month’s stories was that even if you’re travelling to the world’s remotest places, and travelling alone (like this month’s featured photographer Joshua Cunningham) it’s always the people who make the story worth telling.
This is, I’m sorry to say, my last month at Mpora. And (if you’ll forgive me the horrible cliché) it’s the people that I’ll miss more than anything.
It’s been my absolute pleasure to share adventures, and stories of adventure, with some incredible folk over the past four years - my brilliant colleagues (who I have no doubt, will do an excellent job of taking over the helm), our amazing contributors, and of course all of you lot reading this.
All that’s left to say is thank you to you for reading, for getting involved, for contributing, for sending us your photos, videos, stories and comments; for liking, for sharing; for occasionally insulting, and always inspiring me. It’s been a trip.
Keep enjoying the adventure.
- Tristan, Editor-in-Chief