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


Dive Into Paradise [Wardrobe Malfunctions]

  

 

Nothing like a refreshing dip in the pool!

Nothing like a refreshing dip in the pool!

           In March, 1997, I traveled to Puerto Rico with four of my freshman college girlfriends for Spring Break.  After a nasty winter in upstate NY, all we wanted was sun, sand and drinks.  We arrived and after getting a tour of our friend’s condo and the lay of the land (i.e., location of the pool, closest bar and the keys to get to the beach from our private, gated condo complex), we set off for some of that much-anticipated sun, sand, and drinks on the beach. 

            That night, our first, we decided it would be a good idea to finish off a bottle of tequila by doing numerous rounds of shots which got us in “party mode” for the beach bars [Ed: Always a sound plan! ]. After arriving at the Holiday Inn, hoping to find a club so we could dance to that popular Spice Girls song (hey, we were 19 and in college) and not finding anything resembling that fun club, we had the brilliant idea of going skinny-dipping instead… 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



Dumbo Strikes Back [Call of the Wild]

 

They say an elephant never forgets your face.

They say an elephant never forgets your face.

Gabon, New Year’s Eve, 2002:

She was about seven feet at the shoulder, with sixteen-inch tusks, and weighed two tons. I used to have zero fear. Zero. I could walk up to any elephant I saw. So when she charges, I bluff back, but it doesn’t stop her. I run to get between her and the group I’m with, including my girlfriend. The elephant’s got her head down, ears tucked, doing this kind of shuffle. I’m thinking, I’ve got about a second to stop this thing. She’s thinking, I’m going to kill you. Do I straight-arm her, or do I run? But when she gets within three feet, I take three steps to run and — boom — I trip and hit the ground.

I immediately turn… 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.



Is Just Like Amerika! [Off the Map]

Who needs a Eurail Pass?

Who needs a Eurail Pass?

 

In 2000 writer Brad Wetzler penned an hilarious report from the Czech Republic on a curious phenomenon, a kind of Old West mania, in Outside Magazine. Here’s a taste. Thanks Brad — CDB 

IF IT’S TRUE that you are what you eat, then I am a big, greasy kielbasa. I brought this on myself: For the past week I have been camping with a dedicated band of carnivores who favor canned meat and an alarming variety of sausages. We’re deep in the Brdy Hills, a rolling patch of beech forest as charming as a dream, about 30 miles south of Prague in the czech Republic. The air is full of the smell of honeysuckle, the buzzing of bees, the chirruping of bluebirds, and the sizzling of meat. The only human tracks within sight are our own.

            But this is a curious bunch. There is Jerry, the frequently drunk prankster who gets his kicks hiding pinecones in our sleeping bags. He whispers that his real name is Vladimir, but tramps are only supposed to go by their tramping names. Which is why “Jerry” is tattooed in boldface on his right forearm. George, a starry-eyed guitar player, can do a rendition of “This Land Is Your Land” in czech that would make anyone homesick for the hills of central Bohemia. Ace is a private in the czech army who always wears a Daniel Boone–style coonskin cap; he sucked down too much rum last night and, while dancing to George’s intoxicating music, fell into the fire. Lucky for him Sheriff Tom was still sober enough to pull him out. A one-armed bear of a man, Sheriff Tom is, at 45, the oldest hobo, and he happens to own the biggest bowie knife, making him the logical choice to be the group’s chief law-enforcement officer… Continue reading



Spin Cycle [Love on the Road, Love on the Rocks]

 

I just feel so safe with you.

I just feel so safe with you.

On Valentine’s Day 1998 I decided to surprise my new boyfriend with what I imagined would be a romantic and unforgettable helicopter tour of the Mile High City. 

           It was on the way to the airport that I learned of his terrible fear of heights. What should have been an amorous 35-mile limo ride from Boulder to Denver became nothing short of a ledge-talking scenario, but I did my best to reassure him while he nervously chugged champagne from the bottle.

            Our pilot, a sweet man in his mid-50’s, assured us that he would give us a night we wouldn’t forget. As we ascended, I glanced furtively at my boyfriend only to notice his white knuckles clutching both knees. We circled downtown Denver for 30 minutes before our pilot took us west towards the lights of Golden and Central City. By the time we reached the foothills, we were met with winds so fierce that our pilot radioed to his supervisor to request permission to land at a nearby airport. No sooner had he done this than all of the lights went out in the cabin, the engine cut off, and we started to fall for what seemed like an eternity.

           I always thought if I were ever in an accident that I would be a screamer. But instead I was silent—we all were… Continue reading