One Step Beyond
Climbing Kilimanjaro: The 4-part Documentary
What it's like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Your host Tony Fletcher documented his own experiences climbing to the Roof of Africa, as narrated in real time, alongside interviews with fellow climbers and guides, and on-the-mountain 'field' recordings; these were then combined with detailed historical and contextual studio narrative to form a four-part documentary with which One Step Beyond was originally launched. On this special episode, those four parts are edited together for the first time, their repetitive introductions and credits eliminated, and presented as one lengthy but complete documentary that you will hopefully find educational, entertaining, informative and, who knows, maybe inspirational. Here's what I wrote back at the launch:
In August 2019, I set off from Kingston, New York, with four friends and a Tanzanian-born guide, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 ft, or 5895 meters above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa, and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. About 50,000 people a year attempt the summit; not all of them make it. The intense demands on the body in ever-thinning air cause many people to give up before they can reach the peak.
I’m a writer and broadcaster by trade, so I brought my recording devices along with me for the journey up the mountain. Over the course of this mini-series, it’s my hope that you’ll be able to experience a little bit of what it’s like to go on an adventure like this, and that by the time we are all done, you’ll be ready to embark on one of your own.
The starting time for each episode is given in the summary below. Feel free to pause and come back. And if you want to join us on a trip some time, make contact: details at the bottom of the show notes!
EPISODE 1 (3:30): Meeting, planning, getting to know each other - Tony, Tim, Gwen, Steve and Marie, plus tour guide Protus - and heading out from Arusha to Mawenzi and the base of Kili itself.
EPISODE 2 (33:30): Phallic trees, a first sighting of Kibo, an encounter with the Spice Girls, and a serious attack of altitude sickness.
EPISODE 3 (1:01:30): Shrinking glaciers, blistering winds, sudden snow, and a two-hour nap at extreme elevation before an attempt on the Kilimanjaro summit.
EPISODE 4 (1:30:10): Our team wrestles with a seemingly endless overnight slog up the side of a volcano, serious attacks of altitude sickness, and a long and desperate slog on the last stretch to the roof of Africa. Do we all make it to the summit? Let's put it this way: there are celebratory dinners and dances at the end of it all.
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15. S2E15: Why We Travel01:04:24Why do we travel? Does travel make us happier? Smarter? Braver? Or, given the current climate crisis, why should we travel? What's the difference between a tourist and a traveler? And what's a Digital Nomad and why does that term make some people cringe?These and many other key, core questions are answered by Nathan James Thomas, editor of the Intrepid Times, and author of Travel Your Way and Untethered, and Dr. Andrew Stevenson, a Professor of Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and author of the new book The Psychology of Travel, alongside host Tony Fletcher.Some of the subjects, people and places covered in this episode:"The Sheltering Sky" by Paul BowlesThe sugar ants of the Northern Territory in AustraliaThe joys of buying a brown paper bag in MexicoFlight shaming and why it's a red herringNathan's travels through China, South America, Central Asa and why he now lives in PolandAndrew's cycling tours through Malaysia, Corsica, France and EnglandResearching educational psychology in GuatemalaWhy countries like Iran are not the scary, evil, ominous places they are presented as.Running in Sandakan, Borneo and Yuksom, Sikkim, India.Why walking can be an act of rebellionHow to spell "eudemonic," what the heck it means, and why it won't give you a hangover.Do long-term travelers tend to come from unsettled family homes - or have they all just broken up with a partner and want to get the hell out of dodge?Why encountering people from different cultural groups is a proven way to reduce prejudice......But why we need to encounter them on equal terms.Why staying home can be as bad for the environment as getting on a plane and seeing the worldMonks in Myanmar, and Marmite in Malaysia.Nathan James Thomas' books Travel Your Way and Untethered are available through:https://exislepublishing.com/product/travel-your-way/https://exislepublishing.com/product/untethered/The Intrepid Times is https://intrepidtimes.com and @IntrepidTimes across Facebook, Twitter and InstagramDr. Andrew Stevenson's book The Psychology of Travel is available throughhttps://www.routledge.com/The-Psychology-of-Travel/Stevenson/p/book/9781032104799and he can be found through https://www.mmu.ac.uk/research/research-centres/hpac/staff/profile/index.php?id=829Theme song "A Word That Doesn't Rhyme" by The Dear Boys. Listen to the whole song here.Sign up for free to the "Wordsmith" newsletter at tonyfletcher.substack.com/subscribe for further information about this episode, news of Tony's other podcast, a Midweek Update with recommendations for shows, reading, websites, videos, books and more, and a weekly long-form article.
14. S2E14: Beer Hiking New York and Wine Running Europe01:11:06Jason Freedman and Philip Vondra are outdoorsy New Yorkers with a book just published entitled Beer Hiking New York: The Tastiest Way to Discover the Empire State.Colin Renton is an outdoorsy Scotsman with a book recently published entitled The Wine Runner: My Year of Hard Yards and Vineyards. Host Tony Fletcher (an outdoorsy half-Scot and half-English Brit who also has USA citizenship) talks with Jason and Colin about the joys travel both near and far, about running and hiking and… you guessed it, about beer and wine.Along the way, the three discuss:The similarities between craft beer and craft wine, the stewardship of the land and how the taste of that land ends up in the can or the bottle… it’s terroir, people.How Colin set about running 12 races in 12 countries in 12 months, visiting 12 wineries and bringing home 12 bottles of wine.How he set on this ambition with the goal of running his first marathon at age 60How Jay and Philip set about choosing just 33 great hikes and breweries in a State that has hundreds of each.Why the first hike in the book starts from Port Authority Bus Terminal in the middle of Manhattan.Why there is only one brewery in Manhattan but tons in Brooklyn.Why high-ABV IPAs are so popular in New York but why there is much to the State’s beer-making culture than that.The different types of hikes that are available to everyone in New York.The multitude of running options across Europe that are either hosted by, or run through, vineyards.Why Colin chose to avoid the obvious regions within France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal……And why he included runs and wineries from England, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Belgium.The greatest hike on Colin and Philip’s doorstep that they never knew of.The best Belgium beer in New York.How climate change is affecting wine making (and running) all across Europe. And how Colin sought to minimize his carbon footprint with his travels.Why it’s okay to choose not to drink alcohol – and why it’s okay to enjoy alcohol. Beer Hiking New York: The Tastiest Way to Discover the Empire State is published by Helvetiq Jason Freedman can be found at Instagram.com/gunksrunnerThe Pain Cave podcast he hosts with Philip Vondra is https://www.gunksrunner.com/paincaveThe Wine Runner: My Year of Hard Yards and Vineyards is published by Polaris.Colin can be found at https://twitter.com/ColinRenton1 Theme music this episode is ‘A Word That Doesn’t Rhyme’ by The Dear Boys. One Step Beyond Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/onestepbeyondpodcast/Sign up at tonyfletcher.substack.com for a weekly newsletter with recommendations across all media and for updates on this and Tony Fletcher's other activities.
13. S2E13: Pura Vida in Costa Rica?01:14:40Turtles! Volcanoes! Caiman! Monkeys! Museums! Fumaroles! Scuba Diving! Swimming Holes! And Sunsets! Paula is back as co-host for the first time since the Season 1 finale as she and Tony discuss their recent travel to Costa Rica, not only from an environmental and cultural perspective, but also from their uniquely different personal perspectives. Paula had not traveled outside the USA in 35 years, whereas Tony spent almost a whole year backpacking round the globe only back in 2016. Similarly, Tony is something of an (ageing) adrenalin hound who went scuba diving and running the volcanos, while Paula had reasons to want to take it just a little less hectic.Some of the topics discussed in this episode:All the great reasons to visit Costa Rica in the first place: is just 0.04% of the earth's land surface but contains 5% of its species; 33% of it is protected land; Atlantic and Pacific Coasts both readily accessible; no standing Army.How much advance planning should go into a foreign trip and how much should be left to finalize "on the ground".Choosing to travel by public transport with occasional taxi/Uber/Didi rather than being like most North Americans and renting a car.Opting to stay primarily in Air BnBs.Advantages of traveling in the rainy seasonChoosing to avoid the main tourist destinations of Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Park, going instead for:San José: not the world's loveliest capital city but a veritable gold mine of museumsTraveling to Tortuguero on the northern Caribbean coast and what to do when you miss your connecting busThe 6am canoe trip into the waters of the Tortuguero National Park and the multiple fauna and flora seen on that tripThe turtles of Tortuguero: the cosmic experience of watching green sea turtles lay their eggs and return to the ocean, all while (Tony and Paula were) stumbling round the beach at night holding hands with strangers. (More on sea turtles here)Alajuela, Costa Rica's second biggest city, and its hero Juan Santamaria, who helped achieve victory over William Walker's pro-slavery Filibusteros in 1856, and for whom the local museum (a former army barracks) and nearby international airport is named.The cloud forest of Poás VolcanoThe beautiful "white city" of Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste in the north-west.The vast and vastly under-visited Rincón de la Vieja National Park outside of Liberia, with its active volcano and multiple hiking trails. These include Las Pailas which has close-ups of fumaroles and hot springs, and the steep exposed hike to the Hidden Waterfall, which Tony was the only one to take that day.How Costa Rica is using geothermal energy from its (six) active volcanos to supply 15% of the country's energy.The charming and peaceful Playa HermosaScuba diving from nearby Playa CocoFood and drinkThe national expression of "Pura Vida"ConclusionsMusic in this episode: "A Word That Doesn't Rhyme" by The Dear BoysSubscribe to tonyfletcher.substack.com for updates on this and Tony's other podcast, plus news of events, new releases, recommendations and a weekly long-form article.
12. S2E12: Rock-A-Holic: How Climbing Saved My Life56:22In the late 1990s, Michael Dorame was a house music fanatic living in San Francisco, who became addicted to the drugs that kept him dancing all night long in the clubs. After OD'ing twice in three weekends, he found release, relief and redemption in the sport of rock climbing. Now, with producer Aaron Fong and celebrated outdoor sports cinematographer Chris Alstrin, Michael has made a film, Rock-A-Holic, about his story and that of two other former addicts, Ben Polanco and Maureen O'Reilly.On this episode of One Step Beyond, Michael joins host Tony Fletcher to discuss his life story, those of Ben and Maureen, the allure of drugs and alcohol, the addictive personality and whether it's genetic, and their ultimately much safer addiction to rock climbing. He is joined by director Chris who talks more about the technical aspect of the sport, and the making of the movie. If you are like Tony - interested in rock climbing but never tried it - consider this a perfect primer.Additionally, if you've ever been to the far side of drugs or alcohol in what you initially thought was pursuit of a good cause - especially something initially wholesome, like dancing in clubs - this will possibly strike a (musical) chord, and show that there can always be light at the end of the tunnel. And if you just enjoy a story with a happy(ish) ending, you'll get it from Michael (and Maureen and Ben).Warning: Drugs are discussed during the conversation, in detail. But so is dancing. And climbing. And other outdoor pursuits.Rock-A-Holic Official Trailer - Youtube - https://youtu.be/ce-bVulGvHcFacebook page - https://www.facebook.com/RockAHolicTheMovieMichael Dorame Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rockaholic2023/Chris Alstrin's Professional Reel - https://alstrincinema.com/homeFollow One Step Beyond:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTony's other podcast, the [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available via https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodesTheme song is 'Yes Men'' by The Dear Boys: https://linktr.ee/thedearboysLogo by Mark Lerner. Photo taken at Arte Sumapaz in Cundinimarca, Colombia.If you like the show, please subscribe, rate, review.And please sign up for free weekly articles by Tony Fletcher, along with news of podcast bonuses, Tony's other writing, broadcasting, events, books and more: http://tonyfletcher.substack.com
11. S2E11: Travel for Good? with Shafik Meghji01:01:28Sign up for a free weekly article, links to Tony's other podcasts, writings, music and more at tonyfletcher.substack.com Is Travel Good For The Planet?This question is tackled by our return guest, the environmentally-focused, award-winning travel writer Shafik Meghji. In a conversation that includes the subject of Shafik's recent book, Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia, and host Tony Fletcher's upcoming journey to Costa Rica, the pair discuss:The difference between travel and tourismThe "brownfield rainforest" at Canvey Wick outside London, and the "temperate rainforests" of WalesWhy Bolivia is "on the frontline of so many defining issues that will shape all of our lives wherever we are in the world in the years to come."How Lake Pupil, a lake the size of Luxembourg, dried up in barely two years.How the Amazon rainforest comprises 1/3 of Bolivia and traveling through it can help indigenous communitiesThe natural beauty of Bolivia's rural landscapes and its fascinating citiesHow the migrant indigenous city of El Alto overtook the population of neighboring La Paz in just two decades.Costa Rica's remarkable biodiversity, its eco-tourism, and its 'unparalleled' wildlife.Shafik's recommendation for the perfect travel spotYou can find Shafik at shafikmeghji.com/ and at instagram.com/shafikmeghji/Read his article on the brownfield rainforest of Canvey Wick and his piece on the Lost Rainforests of Britain More info on his book is athttp://www.shafikmeghji.com/#/crossedoffthemap/The newspaper articles Tony references in the outro are:On Lithium MiningOn Deep Sea MiningFollow One Step Beyond:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTony's other podcast, the [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available via https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodesTheme song is 'Delaymania' by Noel Fletcher.Logo by Mark Lerner. Photo taken at Arte Sumapaz in Cundinimarca, Colombia.If you like the show, please subscribe, rate, review.And please sign up for free weekly articles by Tony Fletcher, along with news of podcast bonuses, Tony's other writing, broadcasting, events, books and more: http://tonyfletcher.substack.com
10. S2E10: Driving the Blues Highway and Riding the Soul Train, from Chicago to New Orleans58:52On this Episode, host Tony Fletcher is in conversation with his old London friend Richard Heard about the latter's recent Great American Road Trip from Chicago to New Orleans, setting out to trace the Story of the American Blues. Covering 1300 miles in 10 days, Richard and his American road partner also visited the Stax Museum of American Soul in Memphis, took in revered Country revue show the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, attended Jazz Fest in New Orleans, traveled through the Robert Johnson Crossroads in Clarksdale, and saw the destruction wrought by a recent tornado in Rolling Rock, Mississippi. As Richard says, "Once I lifted the bonnet [translation: the hood] on the road trip, I thought, 'This is not just about music, this is a really really interesting part of American culture and social history which I didn't really know a lot about.'"Subjects include:Planning an American Road Trip around musicChoosing the right travel partnerFocusing on four cities: Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, New OrleansLearning about The Great MigrationThe Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, with Isaac Haye's gold-plated Cadillac, the Soul Train disco ball, the recreated sloping studio - and a history of Black American Music from Gospel on through.The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and the Stax songwriters wrote many of their hits.Seeing Buddy Guy jump on stage to jam at his Buddy Guy's Legends Club in Chicago - on the first night of their road trip.Why doing the Tourist Trail in these cities is no bad thingThe best live music of the whole journeyFrenchman Street in New Orleans, with a live music bar every 20 yardsThe Johnny Cash Museum in NashvilleThe magic of Sun Studio in MemphisDriving Highway 61 from Memphis to New Orleans, via the Blues capital of Clarksdale.Planning a return journey: Detroit, Cleveland and so much moreShort videos from Richard's trip can be seen at: https://www.instagram.com/rh64.2022/Tony Fletcher's books on:Wilson PickettEddie FloydMusic from the Streets of New York, 1927-77One Step Beyond Socials:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherE-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tony's other podcast, the [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available via https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodes (Richard was a guest on the first episode)
9. S2E9: The Rough Guide to Travel Writing with Shafik Meghji58:51If you have ever traveled, and if you have ever been able to string a sentence or two together in writing, you have probably thought of becoming a travel writer. After all, who wouldn’t want to get paid to travel? On this episode of One Step Beyond, Shafik Meghji, co-author of 40 travel guidebooks, sole author of the acclaimed new book Crossed Off the Map: Travels in Bolivia, and a prolific freelance travel writer for many esteemed print and web publications, pulls the cover off the Guide Book business and tells us how he managed to make a career out of writing about travel. It took patience, persistence, rejection, circumstance, luck, serendipity, a lot of hard work and no shortage of talent.We talk about Shafik’s background in sports journalism, the lingua franca that is football, and about getting robbed at the Macarana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro (Tony, not Shafik); we discuss Shafik’s belated gap year to South America and India that made him reevaluate his life choices, and we discuss how the well-worn paths that were his Guide Book work gradually transitioned into a road much less traveled, as Shafik’s reputation now allows him to choose more and more of his own subjects. We discuss the famed travel experiences everyone should enjoy – Macchu Picchu, Goa, Carnival in Rio, but also the one-of-a-kind experiences that can’t be put into words for a guide book, like finding a great place for yoghurt behind a table in Kathmandu (or a hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint in Mangalore). We visit Tierra del Fuego, the islands at the end of the earth, and we discuss how Shafik has increased turned his attention into writing about this intersection of globalization, travel, and the environment, focusing on the climate emergency and how travel can impact negatively and enlighten us positively regarding the fragile future of our planetThere was lots we did not get talk about, however, and so we will have Shafik back on One Step Beyond in the near future, to talk about Bolivia, Costa Rica, the rainforests of Wales, the biodiversity of the Essex Estuary, and the state of travel journalism in a world of social influencers and affiliate bloggers. At least I hope we will. In the meantime, please visit Shafik at his web site shafikmeghji.com and be sure to follow through to the Articles section to read some of his superb journalism. You can also find Shafik on IG at https://www.instagram.com/shafikmeghji/E-mail us: email@example.comSocials:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTony's other podcast, the [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available via https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodes Theme songs are 'Yes Men' by the Dear Boys. (That’s the loud one.) https://linktr.ee/thedearboys And Delaysmania by Noel Fletcher. (The quiet one.)Logo by Mark Lerner. Photo taken at Arte Sumapaz in Cundinimarca, Colombia.If you like the show, please subscribe, rate, review, and feel free to follow the acast.supporter link below to buy us a coffee!
8. S2E8: What is Fell Running and Why is it Punk Rock?57:33Boff Whalley is an author and musician (you may remember his old band Chumbawamba and their global hit "Tubthumping"),who put "Fell Runner" as occupation on his daughter's birth certificate. Gary Devine is his mate from the Leeds punk scene of the 1980s, who is a former British champion fell runner. "Faster! Louder!" is Boff's new book, all about Gary, and fell running, and punk rock. It is a damn good book, because Boff is a damn good author.Beaming in from the Yorkshire Dales (Boff) and the Swiss Alps (where Gary now lives) to the base of the Catskill Mountains (where host Tony Fletcher resides), they answer the question on every non fell-runner's lips:What is Fell Running?They also answer the question:Why Is It Punk Rock?And over the course of a fun-filled conversation, they also discussWhy fell running does not follow designated trails.Why the shortest way to the bottom of a hill is not always the quickest.Why the shortest way to the top of a hill is not always the quickest.Why the best way to get to the pub early is to finish the race early.Why Brits join running clubs and whether that is truly punk.Whether to sniff glue or not sniff glue.Whether Gary Devine is a force of nature, was genetically predestined to be a champion, trained as hard as he partied, or whether it was a combination of all three that made him national champion.Why everyone should listen to the One Step Beyond episode with Damian Hall.The importance of women runners in fell running.The importance of protecting the environment.And the importance of getting out in nature so as to relate to that environment.Throughout, Tony resists asking Boff what a fell runner should do if he gets knocked down."Faster! Louder! How a punk rocker from Yorkshire became British Champion Fell Runner" is available through Great Northern Books.Boff Whalley can be found at https://www.facebook.com/boff.whalley if you ask nicelyGary Devine can be found running up the French Alps, if you can catch him.Tony Fletcher will be found running again, if he recovers from his fractured knee. His website is tonyfletcher.netFollow One Step Beyond:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTony's other podcast, the [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available via https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodesTheme song is 'Yes Men' by the Dear Boys. https://linktr.ee/thedearboysLogo by Mark Lerner. Photo taken at Arte Sumapaz in Cundinimarca, Colombia.If you like the show, please subscribe, rate, review, and feel free to follow the acast.supporter link below to buy us a coffee!
7. S2E7: Building an Intentional Community58:22For this episode, we reconnect with Ric Dragon, originally featured way back on Episode 7 of Season 1, in July 2020, shortly after he had opened Arte Sumapaz, a Centre for the Arts outside of Bogotá, Colombia. That episode focused on Ric’s middle-aged reset, in which he migrated to a new country with a troubled history and had just started this ambitious project. Now that I have been to Arte Sumapaz for an incredible residency myself, it’s time to check back and see how things are progressing.Specifically, what is going on ith the plan to create an Intentional Community amidst the 280 acres of land? In fact, what is an Intentional Community and can we all be part of one? How do we re-integrate our lives to better share communal values without living in a commune? How does Arte Sumapaz integrate itself into its own community of rural Colombians? What is sociocracy as a form of Government? How is the country faring under the new leftist Presidency? What are the plans for reforestation of the land – and how does that gel with plans to build more accommodations and open up trails? And, specifically, when can I personally go back for a longer stay?Ric Dragon describes himself as a painter, percussionist and writer. He has been an art teacher, and a reluctant entrepreneur who founded Dragon Search in the Catskills, a company that led him into the world of social media marketing and even to author a book on the subject. He is a relaxed and engaged commentator and an excellent interviewee. The points we hit on in our discussion are relevant to our lives far beyond the vast and varied land of Colombia and the visual arts.Arte Suamapaz is at www.artesumapaz.orgAnd on socials at https://www.facebook.com/artesumapaz and www.instagram.com/artesumapaz/Ric Dragon posts more personally, including his own art, at: www.instagram.com/Ricpdragon/The episode with artist Clare Yandell, who I met at Arte Sumapaz and who subsequently painted murals all around Colombia to help finance her constant travels, is here.One Step Beyond on socials:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTwitter is OneStepBeyondP1The [Jamming!] Fanzine Podcast is available on your preferred streaming platform from https://wavve.link/JammingPodcast/episodesTheme song is 'Delaymania' by Noel Fletcher. Logo by Mark Lerner. Logo photo taken at Arte Sumapaz in Cundinimarca, Colombia.If you like the show, please subscribe, rate, review, and always feel free to follow the acast.supporter link to show your appreciation and buy us a coffee! They make it good in Colombia!