London friends - come to the @rgs_ibg in Kensington tonight!
I'm hosting an evening of amazing films from @mountainfilm, including a little one about !! Tickets available at the door, show starts at 7pm sharp. All proceeds support @dzifoundation and Community Action Nepal.
The usual chaos. Half of the camera gear is lost somewhere between Chicago and Istanbul. Plans changed immediately and now we're scrambling to find a harness that will let us hang out the open door of the helicopter. It's barely 9 am. Life is good.
Jange Kulung stopped by on a visit to Kathmandu and got to see his photo in @natgeo!
Getting excited to hear back into the mountains this week on a super cool project following @renan_ozturk as he makes art at altitude.
But most looking forward to heading back to Saadi and sharing #thelasthoneyhunter film and magazine piece with Mauli Dhan and all of our friends there. Bringing the project full circle! Stay tuned for an exciting week. @climber.abiral
Still life. Monsoon. Kathmandu.
One of the curses of expatria is the way in which one's privilege becomes magnified. It's an uncomfortable luxury, at least for me, so long as I pay attention to the lives that surround and attend to me.
But I do not, and cannot deny it. The mangoes in my compound are ripe and sweet, the taste defies description. I strive to do good. To share. To choose kindness. To question my place.
And I fail. I keep the best for myself oftentimes. In this failure, perhaps, is some rough meaning. A reason to stay. To strive for a more difficult kindness.
Crossing inequality demands understanding that which we do to create it. Without the sour, sweetness cannot hold sway.
Kathmandu. You're kinda insane, and completely amazing. You've given me everything, but maybe could have skipped the typhoid. Here's to 19 really interesting years.
I've always been a step behind my big sister @erikaknardini - and am grateful for it. She's a dedicated mother, CEO, twitter personality and all around badass.
Now, leading @barstoolsports into the stratosphere and getting a half-page in the NYT!
I'm fortunate to have so much inspiration so close by.
For the record, I chopped more wood.
Crazy where you can get to in a day. KTM-HKG
It seems like only a few hours ago - the fireworks rising and blooming like mad flowers, above the canopy of trees. My niece, nephew, and their tiny friends, all spun out on ice cream and sunshine, watching with us.
Since then, I’ve withered away on an airplane crossing over icecaps and oceans, countries at war, the lights of small towns and cities burning in the night, to land back home in Nepal.
The world is so vast and complicated, yet so incredibly small. I’ve just crossed half of it in a single day.
What keeps us, then, from finding a balance? To live in the way we all, somewhere deep in our hearts’ imaginations, know that we are capable of living? What is this light that burns so brilliantly within us? That casts such dark shadows?
Photo by @wingwchan
I first met Maule Dhan nearly ten years ago, and his story has clung to me ever since. Thrilled to share the true story of this incredible man and his community with the world.
After years of friendship; hundreds of hours of sweating, suffering, and leeches; and months of editing I hope we’ve stumbled upon something timeless. At least for now.
@natgeo has released #TheLastHoneyHunter article online, and in the July edition of the magazine! Check out the link in my profile and do be sure to watch the amazing behind the scenes edit by @renan_ozturk linked in the article.
Our short film with @ben_knight is going to be making the festival rounds for a while - so keep your eyes peeled!
Coming back to Maine always makes me wonder why I left in the first place. But then I recall all of the adventures, misfortunes, missteps and bliss that I've found across the globe that have made coming back so sweet.
So many moments this week where my life has fallen into a strange focus. The moments where you can’t believe this is actually happening. When you see yourself from the side. A child in footy pajamas plodding down the stairs on Christmas. The overwhelming weight of one’s good fortune.
Tonight is the world premiere of #TheLastHoneyHunter, and I can’t really believe it. Overwhelmed with gratitude for @ben_knight and @renan_ozturk who have found and told the best story that I’ve yet known. Amazed at how deeply this story has now been woven into my own, along with friendships forged along the way. @sadiequarrier@taylorfreesolo@irving_matthew
Actually I’m terrified.
In anticipation of the upcoming #thelasthoneyhunter world premiere my super cool friends at @khalikhutta cooked up an amazing balm from some of the wild beeswax that I gave them.
It's available on etsy - so check their IG if you want to get some. I promise it's not hallucinogenic.
Two years. That’s half of a college education. A long time. Yet sometimes the earthquake feels like only days ago. I jump when someone slams the door. Did you know that airports, more than other buildings, shake and move constantly? I know this. It won’t go away.
I have the luxury of condensing time thus. The landscape of rural Nepal, once muted and sublime with cozy mud and stone homes, is now repainted with bright sheets of zinc roofing tin, cobbled together like junkyard fences. Loud in the rain. Cold. Dark. Sooty. Leaky. Homes worn like a ragged uniform of poverty. The type of home that slows time, lengthens nights, a constant reminder of all that is lost. This type of home turns two years into a lifetime. Or two.
Two years ago, international donors poured pledges of $4 billion into Nepal’s leaky hands. Divided into two years, that comes out to $3,800 a minute. Every minute enough to build a new home. For two years.
If you believe the Nepal Government statistics, which many do not, only 3.5% of homes have been rebuilt. 3.5 percent. Two years on.
During a serendipitous stopover in Edinburgh, I met with friends from the #royalbotanicalgardens to investigate how certain Rhododendron species contribute to the toxic honey we've been chasing in #thelasthoneyhunter project.
It turns out that, completely contrary to popular knowledge, the toxins might come from another plant entirely. The science is murky to say the least, but now I'm obsessed with finding the answer.
Check out my ig story for more!
Photo @renan_ozturk Words @jetbutterflies ~
At least the first 150 kilometers went well enough. Granted, the roads were paved for the most part and the greatest risk was finding the flat grill of a massive TATA truck squarely in your lane on a blind corner. ~
Then the road got rough, it got dark, and things got very real, very quickly. To describe the next 40 kilometers using the term 'road' would be dishonest. The rough-hewn path is wide enough for a vehicle to pass, but strewn with massive boulders and ruts. At one point @renan_ozturk put on a motorcycle helmet to protect his head during the impromptu rodeo happening inside the jeep. ~
The bikes fell over and broke down. It was pitch black, not even stars visible. We lashed the wounded motorcycle into the short bed of a passing pickup. We limped into a small town, ate, and passed out in a local lodge. Spent. Exhausted. Dreaming already of the relative pleasures of Kathmandu - only a day behind, but a universe away. ~
Today, the road got rougher and cut a thin path across sheer cliff faces with the Marshyangdi river coaxing us a thousand feet below. The injured bike struggled, then died completely. It started to rain, thin at first then in sheets. ~ I guess this is what we signed up for. Working together, suffering, taking turns navigating northward. Tomorrow, after another ten hours of riding, we will leave the bike and the jeeps and the lodges behind and walk. Our own feet stepping onto the snows and deeper into the stories of the two amazing women who have inspired the trip. Stay tuned. @royalenfield
Hitting the road. Pasang Lhamu (@pasang_lhamu_sherpa_akita) and Sareena Rai (@sodapopchamling) are an unlikely but formidable duo. Pasang is Nepal's leading female mountain guide, and Sareena is the powerhouse lead singer of Nepal's preeminent punk band. ~
But they both have a few things in common. They are unconventional and groundbreaking women - both pushing and expanding boundaries for women and girls in Nepal. They are both climbers, nurtured by the Himalayas and adventure. And neither of them are terribly comfortable on the big @royalenfield motorcycle, but are game to give it a try. ~
We're off on what might not be our most well thought out adventure - ten days of road rage and dust, then high altitude, glaciers and snow. We're riding into the hills as far as we can, then ditching the bikes to pick off an unclimbed 19,000 foot peak together. It's ambitious, maybe a touch foolish, but with these two it's more than possible. ~
Words by @jetbutterelies@yeti@thenorthface@firstname.lastname@example.org@abiral@sherpakhangrioutdoor#motheredbymountains
Photo: @renan_ozturk ~~
Been back in the dust and decadence of Kathmandu for a few days, and am on the cusp of another adventure back into the thin and cold air. ~~
Much gratitude for @yeti@bennyob301 and @nomadic49ak for allowing us to tag along and for being so open and direct about what it means to be a hunter.
Given our history as predators, it's surprising how controversial hunting can be. Given our present disconnect with our food sources, it isn't.
What I didn't expect was the degree to which this adventure would make me think about myself and my own relationship to nature, to mountains, and to meat. ~~
When all is said and done --after all the Instagram and all the trophies and all the stories retold over warm meals in sheltered places, this is why we set out. To understand ourselves.
Photo by @renan_ozturk ~
Raju Gurung crosses an obscure 15,000 ft pass in Nepal's remote Rukum district, heading back to camp carrying the skin of a Himalayan Blue Sheep after a successful hunt. ~
Just coming back into spotty contact today after a surprisingly tough expedition deep into the rugged mountains of Western Nepal, and into the lives and spirits of the men and the animals that live there. ~
To study hunting is to study what it means to be human -- equal parts crucial and cruel, laden with stereotypes and deep passions. Hunting gives us a view into our relationship with the natural world, which ultimately is about our relationship with ourselves. ~
And it kicked our asses. Stay tuned for more dispatches later this week. Words by @jetbutterflies with @nomadicak49@bennyob301@yeti@camp4collective@sitkagear@thenorthface@sonyalpha@irishgoodbye#HimalayanHunt
Detail: tantric figure, Annapurna Temple, Asontole, Kathmandu.
Flying out this morning early - the usual scrum of luggage and caffeine and the wide eyed energy of rugged men new to the dust and the dharma of Nepal.
We're off chasing snow leopards and blue sheep for a few weeks. Hoping to come back with stories of what it means to live, to take life, to understand a place on a more primal level. Death, power, spirit are all connected. Tantra. @renan_ozturk@nomadic49ak@bennyob301