#28: Euphoria and Terror – Crossing Antarctica with Felicity Aston MBE
“I just think back to that first time I got a proper look at Antarctica: There was something about the simplicity and the beauty and the perfectness of it all that made me want to scoop it all up and somehow contain it in me.”
That's a quote from our guest, Polar explorer, Antarctic scientist, author, speaker and expedition leader Felicity Aston MBE. And that is exactly what she did: She preserved Antarctica (and the polar regions) within herself. She spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. These first experiences in Antarctica then led to numerous expeditions to remote places around the world (but particularly to the Polar Regions): She led record-breaking international teams to the North and South Poles, worked on a nuclear-powered icebreaker at the North Pole, led the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, raced in the Canadian Arctic, drove 35,000km across Eurasia to the coldest inhabited place in the world … and in 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744 km that took her 59 days to complete. With this, she set a world record. And she was not only the first woman to master this tour, but also the first person – male or female – to do so alone and with her own muscle power.
Felicity reports on her experiences in four books and regularly produces articles for various publications in the UK and abroad. She has been elected Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society in London and The Explorers Club in New York, and received many more awards.
In this episode, she talks about the challenges she had to face during her Antarctic crossing – and the beauty of it all!
#35: The Secrets of the Elephants – with Dr. Paula Kahumbu01:09:53Powerful, loving, and wise – elephants hold a great fascination for people worldwide. And yet they are threatened with extinction. Due to ivory trade and loss of habitat through humans, populations have been decreasing drastically in recent centuries. Kenyan conservationist Dr. Paula Kahumbu has made it her life’s work to prevent this. She is CEO of the organization WildlifeDirect and won numerous awards for her work to protect endangered species in Africa. She has received international recognition for her efforts to stop the illegal trade in ivory and for her campaigns to protect Africa’s natural heritage. Kahumbu is National Geographic Explorer of the Year, winner of the Whitley Gold Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to conservation, and was named as one of the 25 Most Influential Women of 2022 by the Financial Times. She has appeared in many documentaries on wildlife and the environment and has produced her own television series “Wildlife Warriors”. Currently, she is a part of the new documentary series “The Secrets of the Elephants” (National Geographic WILD) produced by Academy Award® winner James Cameron, which shows the life and behavior of elephants and what far-reaching consequences their extinction would have – not only on humanity, but also on the ecosystem. You can watch the series on Disney+. In this episode, Paula Kahumbu gives us insights into her work with elephants, her successful fight against poaching and the ivory trade, and shows us how we can protect elephants.
#34: Dr. Jane Goodall – Thoughts on a good life and a healthy planet45:52What does real success really mean? How can we effectively fight against climate change and for nature? And what to make of the protests of the "last generation"? Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE talks about all this and more in this episode of Unfolding Maps. She also reflects on her earliest animal-related childhood memories, explains what growing up during World War II taught her for life, and explains some of the biggest challenges we humans face right now – and where possible solutions lie. So: a wide-ranging conversation with one of the world's foremost behavioral scientists and environmental activists – and a continuation of her first appearance on Unfolding Maps in episode 24, in which she talked about her research in Tanzania and the beginnings of her involvement as an activist. She explained why she is not afraid to work with even perceived opponents, and revealed why she has never lost hope despite the many crises we face around the world. Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, an internationally recognized animal and conservation organization. She is also a United Nations Messenger of Peace and an honorary member of the World Future Council. In 1991, she founded the non-governmental organization Roots & Shoots to bring together youth from preschool to college age to address environmental, conservation and humanitarian issues. Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Learn more about Dr. Jane Goodall and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute:● www.janegoodall.global● www.instagram.com/janegoodallinst/● www.facebook.com/janegoodallinst
#33: On the other Side of Fear – mit Dwayne Fields51:41From a childhood close to nature in Jamaica, to a youth marked by violent experiences in England, to an unforgettable walk to the North Pole that would change everything – that's how you could describe the life of Dwayne Fields in a nutshell, the first Brit of color to reach the North Pole on foot. Since his march to the North Pole, one adventure follows the next. Most recently, the presenter, explorer and naturalist traveled to the most extreme regions of our planet in his new National Geographic series "7 Toughest Days": In it, he travels to icy Kyrgyzstan, crosses the rainforests in Gabon and hikes through the Omani desert. Prior to that, he took Will Smith to Iceland in the Disney+ series "Welcome to Earth'', overcoming icy waters and an Icelandic glacier with him.In addition to being an adventurer, Dwayne now works as one of the UK's leading Scout Ambassadors. With his expedition partner Phoebe Smith, he founded the "#WeTwo" foundation to bring young people from inner-city hotspots closer to the natural world and all its beauty - and to highlight what is threatening that beauty today. To date, he has received numerous honors, including an invitation to Buckingham Palace and the "Freedom of the City of London" award. So: Dwayne has a lot to talk about ...! We hope you enjoy the episode!
#32: A Life of Crime, Redemption and Hollywood – a Journey from Gangster to Movie Star with Danny Trejo56:30This time at Unfolding Maps - not a climber, not a cyclist, not a desert photographer, but: Hollywood's most famous and beloved villain! Danny Trejo was shot, stabbed, decapitated, blown up, hanged, flattened by an elevator and lost his life in some even less appetizing ways that I'd rather leave unmentioned here. He's been the record holder as the world's most killed actor for years now - and he's steadily extending his lead. Danny has starred in over 400 films: blockbusters like Machete, Desperado, Heat, From Dusk till dawn, Con Air and Spy Kids, as well as countless B-movies and series like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and Modern Family. He has the status of a legend in Hollywood. He owns a chain of taco restaurants, his own beer and coffee brands, cafes and donut stores. In L.A., where he was born and lives, he is so popular that there is even an official Danny Trejo Day here. But those successes aren't why we have invited him to Unfolding Maps. Occasionally, we take the liberty of broadening our show's range of topics a bit by not just talking to people who have gotten to know the world through special journeys and expeditions, but to people whose LIFE journey is a very special one. And that definitely applies to Danny Trejo. Because he does not only PLAY the bad guy over and over again, but he WAS that bad guy: He spent his early years on a criminal career full of crime and drug addiction, and he served time in all of California's prisons for years. Eventually, he battled his demons, and upon his release, earned unexpected fame in Hollywood as a bad-boy actor with a heart of gold. Meanwhile, he has worked for decades not only as an actor but also as a drug counselor. In Los Angeles, he is as well known for his work in addiction and rehabilitation as he is for his acting. In the neighborhood of his childhood and youth, which he once terrorized with armed robberies and sheer violence, murals of his face now adorn the facades of entire buildings because people are so proud that he is one of them. It is the ultimate journey from gangster to movie star, a story about a man who changes himself and his destiny. Danny, who is now 78 years old, talks about all of this openly in his autobiography "Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood” – and in this episode of Unfolding Maps.
#31: A World in Crisis (and what to do about it) – with Jared Diamond01:13:45What can we learn from the tribes in the rainforest of New Guinea? What are the greatest dangers facing humanity and the earth today, and how can they be overcome? These are some of the many questions we address in this conversation with a leading scientist that has been voted one of the world's top ten intellectuals by various British and American magazines and who researches and writes on just about everything that makes up human existence – think "universal genius": Jared Diamond.He studied physiology at Harvard and Cambridge and became a leading expert on the gallbladder. He is also an ornithologist, anthropologist, sociologist, evolutionary biologist, ecologist, and environmental historian with expertise in archaeology, genetics, and human disease epidemiology. He is also a professor of geography in Los Angeles.And then he is also one of the most successful authors of popular science nonfiction. His works have been translated into some forty languages, and for the world bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel. The Fates of Human Societies" he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. His other books include "Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed", "The World until Yesterday" and his most recent work "Upheaval – How Nations Cope with Crisis and Change".For all that, Jared Diamond is not only a master of lab work and literature research, but he is and has been on the road himself all over the world (over thirty times in New Guinea alone), he is fluent in over a dozen languages ... So: more than enough material for a wide-ranging conversation about a unique scientific career – and about the world we live in.
#30: The Power of the Wild – with Bear Grylls40:28In this very special episode, we welcome a real survival icon: Bear Grylls has become known worldwide as one of the most recognized faces of survival and outdoor adventure.Trained from a young age in martial arts, Bear went on to spend three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, as part of the 21 SAS Regiment. It was here that he perfected many of the survival skills that his fans all over the world enjoy, as he pits himself against the worst of Mother Nature.Bear originally starred in Discovery's hit TV series “Man vs. Wild” across seven seasons, before hosting the NBC & National Geographic Channel series “Running Wild with Bear Grylls”. This show has seen him take global stars such as Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, President Obama & Prime Minister Modi of India on adventures into the wild.Bear has also hosted over six seasons of the BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 series “The Island with Bear Grylls”, as well as the Emmy Award-nominated series Hostile Planet for National Geographic and "You Vs Wild" for Netflix.He has authored 20 books, including the #1 best-selling autobiography “Mud, Sweat & Tears” and the current sequel, “Never give up”.In this episode, Bear and Erik talk about Bear’s very first adventures, the ups and downs of being famous and what being out in the wild can teach us.
#29: Shots of Adventure or the joy of surfing in ice cold water – with Chris Burkard53:17Chris Burkard, born in 1986, is many things: he is an adventurer, photographer, creative director, speaker, author, father, husband, surfer, certified yoga instructor ... and first and foremost, a storyteller. He travels much of the year to explore the most remote places on earth, capturing stories there to inspire people to rethink their relationship with nature. In this way, he seeks to advocate for the preservation of wild places all over the world. Initially, he was one of the most sought-after surf photographers in the world: his assignments took him to tropical paradises from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. Later, he specialised particularly in photographing cold places. Today, he is one of the most successful and popular adventure and outdoor photographers – he has 3.7 million followers on Instagram alone. In this Episode, he talks about how his career unfolded, what draws him to cold and rather inhospitable places, how we can travel “well” – and much more!
#27: Extreme Adventures, extreme Life – with Mike Horn59:36"One of the most amazing things about Mike Horn's life is that it still hasn't come to an end." This sentence sums up the life of this episode’s guest quite well: Mike Horn is introduced again and again as one of the world's most important explorers and adventurers of our time. What he has achieved and demonstrated in terms of endurance, determination and courage is pretty much unparalleled. He was the first person to swim solo and unsupported across the Amazon River from its source to its river mouth – six and a half thousand kilometers that he covered on a hydrospeed. He circumnavigated the globe at the equator without any motorized assistance. He was the first person ever to cross Antarctica at its widest point and undertook the very first winter trek to the North Pole – weeks in the eternal ice, in permanent darkness. He also sailed around the world more than a dozen times and climbed some of the highest peaks on Earth without artificial oxygen. Since 2015, Mike has taken on the role of survival expert for three French TV channels, where he shares his knowledge of survival with the participants of the shows. A single interview is not nearly enough to do justice to even a fraction of his world-renowned endeavors. Nor do we attempt to do so. Instead, we dig into some of the lessons he's learned from his expeditions, discussing, for example, what he sees as the power of inspiration and where he finds the value in failure.