The Accidental Extremist is now online at www.theaccidentalextremist.com


The Accidental Extremist 2.0
March 12, 2009, 4:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

 

Pack it up. Time to move on. Nothing to see here...

Pack it up. Time to move on. Nothing to see here...

NEW SITE LOCATION: We’ve redesigned the site and added many more features and posts. From now on, please goto and bookmark http://www.theaccidentalextremist.com. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to send in your own tales—we’re waiting!



Over The Edge [The Abyss]

 

Sometimes the sea calls, and we answer.

Sometimes the sea calls, and we answer.

           I never thought I had a death wish, but one experience on my recent travels had me reconsidering. I’d been traveling around South-East Asia by myself on a break from my studies to see the world. One day I decided go cliff jumping and snorkeling in Thailand; I’d seen signs all over advertising guided trips.  On the same signs there were also advertisements for swimming with sharks.  At first I thought it would be quite a day to do all three, but to swim with sharks I would have to get up at 6:00am. That is just not a time of day I wake up to go jump in the water with sharks.  That’s not even a time of day I’m awake to see super models swim in the water…

 

Continue reading



Fly The Fiery Skies [Sulleysque]

Come fly away to exotic locales!

Come fly away to exotic locales!

[Here’s an amazing yarn from our first octogenarian contributor, Bob Nielson, age 86…we’re not worthy! —Ed.]

Back in 1960 the Toronto Star sent me to South Africa to report black-white violence.  I boarded an American Airlines 6-propeller plane in New York, which crossed the Atlantic and stopped briefly at a few East African cities while heading south.  I had a window seat over the right wing and saw the nearest engine catch fire, shooting flames 30 feet high.  Called the flight attendant who ran to the cabin.  Turned off, that engine glowed like a red-hot coal.  We were over the jungle with no place for an emergency landing…

Continue reading



Because It Might Be There [Off the Map]
I'm pretty sure it's down there.

Yep, I'm pretty sure it's right down there.

     We don’t usually repost from other blogs, but this interview with New Yorker writer David Grann on his new book, The Lost City of Z,  for The Daily Beast is simply too entertaining to pass up. Hats off to Grann, who fell way off the map searching for clues to the disappearance of Percy Fawcett, the celebrated, ill-fated, Victorian Explorer. We’ll be leafing through the book on the way to getting lost soon. – CDB



Ski Pants Optional [Wardrobe Malfunctions]

 

So refreshing to be outside in the snow!

So refreshing to be outside in the snow!

            Growing up, my family would go on an annual spring ski vacation. It was the pretty standard variety: each year we would choose a resort and pack into a condo for a week of skiing and kvetching (my brother and I would usually spend most of the time beating the crap out of each other. And there was one time I nearly drowned in a hotel pool. But I digress). When I was 10 years old, we made a trip to Whistler/Blackcomb in March. This trip stands out for many reasons–it was my first time skiing in Canada–but also because my aunt Martha and uncle Robert (we call him Bob) came along… Continue reading



High On Nature [Close Calls]

 

Hiking is so invigorating.

Hiking is so invigorating.

A riveting tidbit from Philip James, founder of the social networking+wine site, Snooth.com. — CDB

            I don’t talk about this too much, but in 2003 I climbed Mount Everest. My friend and climbing partner broke his leg at 28,000 feet. As a result no one in our expedition reached the summit, but we did get him down safely in what became the worlds highest altitude rescue.

 

            I’d set out to become the youngest Briton to climb the North Face of Everest and had joined a small independent expedition with just 5 other climbers. After 60 days on the mountain we ended up with a 120 hour rescue that ended with a broken leg, broken ribs, dysentery, frostbite leading to several digits being amputated as well as several fatalities and multiple medals of valor.

If you want to learn more about the expedition itself, here are some news articles about the event:

BBC News article – Everest on his knees 

Manchester Evening News – Amazing Escape of Everest Survivor

Everest News – Everest North Side Expedition ‘03

Click here to download the slide show (45mb). Finally, if you want to see it in the “Tilt Viewer” format – click here.



Ne Pas Taser Moi, Bro [Dokuments Please]

          

Trains in Europe seem to move at a more stately pace of life.

Nothing beats the relaxing pace and Old-World romanticism of European train travel.

  Back in 2001, I was living in Paris, juggling language classes, a part-time job that I’d BS’d my way into and a seemingly unquenchable drinking habit. When a longtime friend — whom we’ll call Dave because he’s now a serious painter who takes himself, you guessed it, very seriously — asked to come over for a weeklong visit, I decided to add tour guide to my repertoire. With a stamp-saturated passport, a girlfriend (so what if she was my first?) living in Italy and a reputation to uphold at many a Parisian bar, I was already considering myself quite the international Casanova and so I figured, what the hell, I can show him a good time.

           The plan was to spend the first three spring days living it up in the bars, clubs and crêpe stands (real restaurants were financially out of the question) of Paris, then heading south for a long weekend of skiing in Chamonix. Following a few sleepless nights in the city of lights, including one in which I’d mistakenly lead us into a gay club in search of fine women, we made for the train station for a weekend of soul-cleansing skiing. Unfortunately, there was a train strike (one of many I’d incur the wrath of during my year abroad) and our alpine quest suddenly seemed all but hopeless….

Continue reading