Travel Hero? But isn’t he the wildlife guy? David Attenborough is certainly most recognised for his wildlife documentaries, but in order to film all those amazing beasties he has to travel to all the far-flung points of the earth. I love that he does in fact go to all those places and gets ‘down and dirty’ in understanding their various lives – not like the various compilation documentaries that simply have a voice-over to bring them together – we know that David was actually there.
David Attenborough (or at least his documentaries) have always been a part of my life – eagerly anticipating the next spectacular series. What is amazing is that he was also a hero for my mother when she was a girl and I remember one of my nephews when he was just 4 wanting to watch all my ‘animal movies’. What an amazing career! That one man can be a hero across 3 generations and still be going strong and travelling well into his 80s is outstanding.
I have collected his books and more recently DVDs whenever I could afford them. I love going back and rediscovering them from time to time, and they are just as magical now. I don’t by any means have all of his repertoire: he has over 60 years worth of material, but I have amassed a reasonable collection.
Sometimes when I am visiting more remote places and being amazed by the wonderful wildlife, I like to imagine what it might have been like to have had a career like his, to travel the world in search of these things. When I came back from Galapagos, I was delighted to see that he had a series on Galapagos that was about to hit the screens in NZ and wondered whether I would be able to see him ‘retracing my footsteps’. Whilst that would have been fun, it turned out to be even better because he visited all the parts of the Galapagos that we hadn’t visited, so I got to see a whole lot more while still fully appreciating the environment he was in and the things he was seeing and experiencing.
Whilst he focuses on the wildlife for his series, he must have also met the peoples of these far-flung lands and I wonder at all the stories he has that are still untold. A little clue to another side of his interests comes from his 1976 series The Tribal Eye where he investigates the making and use of tribal art in some of the more remote areas that are largely untouched. My DVD set of this also includes a series of his on the peoples of Bali from 1969.
Over his career too, he has seen some great changes. Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild gives a fascinating look at development in film technology, advances in science and the impacts of human civilisation on the environment. As well as the changes in film technology, I think about the changes to transport over his lifetime and how relatively simply and quickly we can now travel the world. When he first started out, some of his documentary quests would have been full blown intrepid adventures taking months and months of travel.
I feel very privileged to have had David share his insights of the world with me, and thank him from the bottom of my heart for helping me to really appreciate some of the amazing wonders of this planet.
Intrepid Travel (a range of different travel styles – see my post on travel styles)
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
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