I seem to have developed a rather strange way of deciding on a travel itinerary. I cycled (nearly) to Mt Everest, which was amazing, but I never had the longing some have to visit it.
I went because an unexpected opportunity to visit an amazing place coincided with a great bunch of people to travel with. That I got to visit a unique part of the world, long connected with New Zealand (thanks to pioneering adventurers and more recent adventure travellers) was just a bonus.
One memorable part of the journey was listening to some music, part of my lifelong ‘playlist’, on location. Although he wrote it without ever visiting China, let alone Tibet, hearing Vangelis’ China, particularly “The Tao of Love” & “Himalaya” tracks, staring at the milky way on a clear cold night on the Himalayan Tibetan Plateau was memorable. Something the 80’s kid who first heard them, on LP!, never imagined.
And now it has happened again
I’m planning to visit another place Vangelis has not but, again, captured perfectly in his music. I first saw Koreyoshi Kurahara's film "Antarctica" when it was released back in the 1980s. it was based on a real 1958 ill-fated Japanese scientific expedition to the South Pole and the fate of the fifteen Huskies they were forced to abandon there. The ambience and subtilty of the Japanese original was somewhat diminished by a terrible American accent overdub but the soundtrack survived this assault and lives on as one of my favourites.
I don’t remember when I first heard Karl Kruszelnicki (Dr Karl) (probably mid-2000’s) but first saw him speak at The Amaz!ng Meeting Australia 2010 (Sydney) #TAMOz. This Taxi Driver, Physicist, Medical GP & Surgeon, and science communicator extraordinaire is one of my favourite podcasters. Karl has degrees in Physics and Maths, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery and has worked as a physicist, tutor, film-maker, car mechanic, labourer, and as a medical doctor at the Kids’ Hospital in Sydney. Dr Karl is currently the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at Sydney University, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits.
Although he has a great drkarl.com website his main communication is by radio/podcast (on the ABC in Aussie, and BBC), his many books, media appearances, and public speaking. He also offers free 45 minute Skype sessions to any school, bookable here. I have had a few attempts to get him to speak at the NZ Skeptics Conference over the years, and was impressed how willing he is to do this if possible, but so far the timing around his (manic) schedule hasn’t worked out.
So when an email arrived, from World Expeditions, advertising an Antarctic Cruise with Doctor Karl it caught my eye. Like Everest I don’t have a life long yearning to visit Antarctica but though adventure, from Robert Scott (who went via NZ) to Sir Edmund Hillary, and tragedy (Air NZ Erebus), Antarctica has touched almost every Kiwis life.
So, all going well, in late November 2019 I will be with Doctor Karl and listening to another Vangelis soundtrack in the location it was composed for!
"Theme from Antarctica". From the original score of Koreyoshi Kurahara's film "Antarctica". Composed in 1983 by Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou (Vangelis).
Oh, and maybe another soundtrack location to follow
It costs quite a lot to fly to South America so I wanted to add some other destinations to help justify the ‘investment’. After a fortnight in the frozen South I decided it had to be somewhere, hopefully, warm(er). Thought about a cycle trip, but seems it is the wrong season for that so some time in Buenos Aires is the mostly likely option.
While looking at some travels from there another favourite, also lessor known, film soundtrack came to mind. Roland Joffe’s film The Mission, about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th-century South America, featured Ennio Morricone’s original score and memorable scenes shot around the Iguazu Falls.
I have always loved the soundtrack, first heard on a CD borrowed from Auckland library, and some time there seems like a good idea. I have plenty of time to refine this part of the itinerary but, for now, travel by soundtrack seems just fine.