Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Greatest Adventurer Alive

French adventurer Patrice Franceschi is almost unknow in the English speaking world - mostly, I suspect, due to a language barrier. In fact, as far as I know, none of his numerous books and movies are available in English. And yet, he probably is the greatest adventurer alive.

Unlike media magnets like Richard Branson, Steve Fossett and Mike Horn, to name just a few, Franceschi's exploits are less athletic feats and closer to the old spirit of adventure where exploration, discoveries, the quest for knowledge and sometimes a desire to change the World were the prime motivators for risking your life. The hardships where an unwanted necessity.

Today, we have a new breed of action heroes looking to push their limits and establish World records on ego inflated quests. The essential part, involving exploration and making the World a better place have somehow been lost in the process.

Franceschi's interrest lies more on that old fashioned side and less on the superlative record breaking artificial side required by sponsors and media; and that may also explain why he his not as widely known as I think he should be, considering his accomplishments.

After all, he mounted his first expedition shortly after his 20th birthday and set to explore a grey spot on the map of Congo. When his Pygmy guides turned back, he pushed farther down in the dark forest under 240 feet tall trees where he almost died from starvation in the floods caused by the rainy season.

In the early '80s, he fought in Afghanistan alongside the rebels and against the Soviet invaders.

He was first to circumnavigate the globe on a tiny ultralight plane. It took him 2 1/2 years.

In the late '90s, he discovered a lost tribe in Papua New Guinea.

Risking his life, he sneaked into Nagaland (east India) to film a documentary on the Naga headhunters.

Fond of exploration, Patrice Franceschi worked on humanitarian projects (Somalia, Vietnam, Romania) and became a writer and a film director. He is also President of the “Société des Explorateurs Français” and Member of the “Société de Géographie”.

He succeeded in the latest sailing expedition of his ship " La Boudeuse " between 1999 and 2001 in the Indo-Malaysian archipelago.

More recently, after the wreck of his first ship, he mounted a new expedition around the World with his second ship La Boudeuse, taking along adventurers and scientists.

Who knows where he'll end next. One thing's for sure, he will pursue his quest to bring back the spirit of adventure into this overly bored World. It sounds better in french: "Transformer le quotidien en romanesque."

More info

Short bio (French only)

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