About my latest book Remote Experiences.

About my latest book Remote Experiences.

I’ve devoted the greater part of my life to seeking out remote places: regions outside my everyday experience as a European citizen, far beyond the tourist trails that criss-cross our world. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than swapping skyscrapers for steppe, streetlights for snow glare. Those moments where it’s me, my camera and an otherworld. 

The images and essays that follow are an exploration of what ‘remote’ really means in our modern reality. Because it’s no longer as simple as getting away from it all. Newspaper headlines and the social-media circus follow us to nearly every corner of the globe. Even without the white noise, there is still the evidence of your own eyes: natural disasters, deforestation, rising sea levels, war. That African safari park, teeming with game, is intensively managed. A visit to Antarctica comes with so much red tape that every movement is catalogued. Even the Arctic – about as ‘remote’ as you can get – is a hotbed of geopolitical manoeuvrings. The region’s ownership is deeply contested among world powers greedy for a slice of its vast oil and gas reserves, including Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

There is no such thing as pristine. Yet there is still beauty, on a dizzying scale. Places where the balance between people and planet speaks of potential, not destruction. In Upper Mustang, I see hope in the way a vibrant people thrive in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. In Abruzzo, the southern Italian sheep migration, a generations-deep tradition, is a reminder of the quiet we can still find in a life lived slowly. In Papua New Guinea there is joy in the fierce pride and strong belief systems nurtured over thousands of years. In Botswana’s Okavango Delta I see the passion with which humans are still motivated to protect what is good in our world. It is on the fringes of our world that I find optimism for our planet’s future. 

Yet the ecosystems in which I find myself are fragile. In travelling to these precious remnants of wild ó and sharing them with you – am I contributing to their decline? In looking for the ‘remote’, am I exoticising someone else’s reality for my own fleeting moment of escape? There’s no easy answer. But I believe that it is through experiencing pockets of remoteness, and seeing the evidence that balance can still exist in our world, that we are motivated to protect it.
So I continue to seek the remote, travelling with a manifesto stamped into my brain: to travel thoughtfully, gently, deeply and with respect for the place I’m visiting.

To be aware, above all, that ‘remote’ is a privilege that can only exist as long as we protect it.