Looking for Wonder with Aaron Millar

Looking for Wonder with Aaron Millar
Looking for Wonder with Aaron Millar

Sep 21 2023 | 00:38:19

Episode September 21, 2023 00:38:19

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

On this episode of the Audience podcast, Stuart and Aaron Millar discuss his travel and adventure podcast, Armchair Explorer. On his podcast, Aaron showcases some of the world’s greatest adventurers. He shares their stories and their journeys to help inspire his listeners.

Today he talks about how he curates each topic and episode, shares his message and motivation behind Armchair Explorer, and talks about how we don’t have to go out to the Gobi desert to find adventure. Pulling great stories from your interviewees doesn’t always come easy. Aaron shares how he is able to get the best from his guests.

If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to Castos.com/podcast. And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! Never miss another show by subscribing at castos.com/subscribe.

Today you’ll learn about:

  • Where Aaron’s love of adventure came from
  • The development of Armchair Explorer
  • How great explorers and adventurers can inspire 
  • How Aaron sources his topics for episodes
  • The journey is a vehicle for other stories
  • Facing dangerous extraordinary moments
  • Our responsibility, as travelers, not to imprint our own values on other cultures
  • Conservation projects and looking for adventure in your own backyard
  • The importance of “just going for it”


The Blue Dot Perspective: https://www.thebluedotperspective.com

Armchair Explorer: https://www.armchair-explorer.com 

Castos Academy: https://academy.castos.com/ 

Castos, private podcast: https://academy.castos.com/privatepodcast/ 

Castos, website: https://castos.com/ 

Castos, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/castos  

Clubhouse video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8729ZpWpmIw 

Stuart's Other Podcast:  https://obscureballpod.com/


Episodes of Armchair Explorer sampled:

If I live Until Morning


Hitchiking to Pamplona 


Kayak the Kwanza 


View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: There's this thing called the overview effect that until recently I had never heard of. So I'll let Aaron Miller explain it. [00:00:08] Speaker B: I interviewed an astronaut and he talked about the overview effect. I don't know if you've heard about this, but it's an actually studied psychological effect that when astronauts come back from space, they come back kind of fundamentally changed about their perception of the earth because they've seen it as a whole. [00:00:27] Speaker A: Next, Aaron takes us inside his travel and adventure podcast, Armchair Explorer. My name is Stuart and this is Audience, a Castos original series where we go behind the scenes of all different kinds of podcasts to uncover their creative process. Before we get to the creative stuff, just a quick note for all the podcasters out there, the creative process is the most important part of the process and without it your podcast probably won't get very far. But you also need a support system, aka Money. We can help you there. Casos lets you monetize all of your episodes, even the old ones, with a press of a button. There's no chasing sponsors, no extra editing work, none of the headache. You can even tap into your support network. Let your audience directly support your podcast through onetime or recurring donations with Castos commerce. Check out the links in our show notes for more. Okay, let's get back into it. [00:01:30] Speaker B: I kind of blagged my way into travel writing in my late twenty s, and for my American friends who may not be familiar with that slang word it's a British slang word. It just means kind of talked my way into it with no deserving credentials at all. But yeah, absolutely fell in love with it. I've obviously always loved traveling and cared deeply about it and kind of got into travel journalism and have been lucky to have been doing that for about the last 15 years or so. [00:01:58] Speaker A: Aaron's love of travel goes back to his childhood when he'd go on hiking trips in Switzerland with his family. [00:02:04] Speaker B: And I remember just absolutely falling in love with the Alps. Like if you haven't been to the Swiss Alps before, it's like the chocolate box perfect picture of what a mountain landscape should look like. And we used to just go hiking all day, every day and that really got me kind of hooked into nature and adventure and kind of immersing yourself in that know. Obviously I read a lot, I read a ton of adventure travel magazines, just plowed through them, fantasizing about all these places I would go to and travel one day. [00:02:35] Speaker A: Now Aaron is an award winning travel writer and his work has appeared in National Geographic, the Times of London and The Guardian, just to name a few. So it's no surprise that his podcast would be equally successful. Armchair Explorer has been nominated for two Webbies and won the 2022 British Guild of Travel Writers broadcaster of the Year. Each episode features some of the world's greatest adventurers who share tales of their journeys. Aaron employs his immersive storytelling ability and in a way, takes the listeners all over the world. Jean talks about her near death experience on a mountain. Oscar kayaks the length of the Kwanzaa River, and a comedian named Andy Smart hitchhikes his way to Pamplona. And that's just a few of them. From the depths of the ocean to the peaks of mountains and everywhere in between, aaron and his guests bring us along on these adventures. [00:03:30] Speaker B: I really loved the travel and adventure books that would kind of synthesize some of the kind of deeper ideas. So Joe Simpson Touching the Void is a very famous book. Beautiful writer. I was really attracted to people that were writing very eloquently and beautifully and could really put you in that place, but at the same time could expand from that. And it wasn't just about the A to B or we did this, we did that, it was about something deeper than that, it was about the experience and what they took from that. And that's really what I tried to take into travel writing as well, was how can I put people into a moment, a peak moment of experience? That's what great travel is all about. When you go away, what's that one story? You come back to the pub and your mates ask you, what was it like? What's the one story you tell? And that story is where I always try and drop people straight into, whether it's writing or podcasting, and just give them a glimpse of what it feels like to be there for real. And I think audio is really powerful at doing that. [00:04:37] Speaker C: The concept of your show, I think, is a continuation of a legacy that I think is extremely important. And I'm going to Ratle off some names here. Anthony Bourdain, David Attenborough and Jacques Gusteau are people who come to mind because, let's face it, not all of us can see all of the world. No one person can see all of the world and some of us can't see much of it at all. And those presenters bring the world to us. [00:05:02] Speaker B: Yeah, those are great names, great examples. And I think know, I started the show just as COVID was hitting and I used to work in the music industry before becoming a writer and I'd always thought about, how can I tell these travel stories in audio? Wouldn't that be amazing? It's a mix music and sound and ambience into it. And then COVID hit, the travel industry collapsed and I finally found myself with the time to try and do something like that. And I think it really hit at a good time. People were all stuck on lockdown and they really were craving something of that escape. There was a phrase I used at the time, which is, when the world closes the door, open your mind. And that's what good writing, good audio can do for you, I think particularly good podcasting, but good audio in a way, it's very intimate, it really can come alive in your imagination. So I think, yeah, it began for me in a similar way of wanting to share the world with people, wanting people to have an escape and an escape from myself to produce it. But I do think those sorts of names, those big names that you mentioned, absolute legends like David attenborough such an incredible effect on the world. Here's someone that's bringing places like Africa into our living rooms and showing us the beauty of that amazing continent and what it feels like to stand there during the great migration of the wildebeest crossing the river. I think that those things can have a powerful impact on us. And one of the things I've always tried to do in a much smaller way with the show is try and create stuff that inspires people to go out and see the world for themselves, to celebrate the diversity of the world, to understand what an incredible planet this is. And I think a lot of times we're surrounded by bad news, right? Especially now. And it's easy to forget that this is an amazing world, there's so much good that's happening around here, there's so much beauty and we can kind of get stuck into our ruts a little bit too. A lot of the guests I have on talk about wanting to break out of this mold. I think sometimes we can feel that we grow up in these cliques of modern life where dictated by the country and society and school and friends and family we come from. But those cliques don't always work for us forever, right? Then they don't always fit who we are inside. And sometimes there's a yearning, whether it's like screaming at you out loud or it's just a small voice inside that you want to break out of this. And I think for a lot of people, the people I've had on, it's an answer to that call in a way to say, how can I go out and live my life for myself? How can I go and live my life to the full? And for me, a big part of that is just the pure joy of exploring the planet. And there's a phrase I say at the end of every episode, which is the more you look for wonder in the world, the more the wonder of the world becomes a part of who you are. And that's something I'm really passionate about because I think it's about the veil in which you see the world. And if you're looking for those incredible moments of wonder and transcendence that you get from standing on top of a mountain or being in the middle of an incredible festival or whatever it might be, if you're looking for that everywhere around you, then the world becomes filled with that. [00:08:31] Speaker C: And there's something about hearing a person tell a story as opposed to reading it. And obviously the print medium is extremely important and we need it. But there is something about hearing a person's voice, especially when they're at a very poignant moment. Some of these episodes and some of these stories, people have brushes with death. And there's just something that happens with your voice when you tell that part of a story that doesn't come across on the page. And not to mention the magic you can work in post production with the sound design that really kind of helps elevate that story. [00:09:09] Speaker B: Yeah, 100%. And our ears just naturally unconsciously pick up on that authenticity and that passion and you can't fake that. And it's like taking it in on another level. And I really got into podcasting because there's something intimate about hearing someone just write, like whispering in your ear. There's something very close about that and it's as if the person is speaking directly to you rather than you're in an auditorium listening to someone give a talk. So it's very, very powerful. And so translating some of what I was doing in travel journalism into audio ended up for me becoming, wow, this is taking storytelling to a new level. It's adding depth to it. Not just in that hearing that passion or that moment, what it felt like a little bit in the kind of quaver of that person's voice. But like you say, music works on a similar subliminal level. And what I've always been interested in is the way that music can enhance those emotions or even sometimes work against them to try and create a bit of space for you to fill in what that might mean. And we're doing some on location episodes now where we kind of recorded on location, going on a journey. And for me, that's all about capturing that natural ambience and the sound. And I think those things can place you into an environment even more powerfully than words and they do the similar sort of thing, which is we're incredibly visual as a people, right? And that's great. It's amazing to see an incredible photograph or to watch an incredible video of a place. It can be really awe inspiring incredible, but it's prescriptive, it's showing you what you need to see. Right? Whereas what I think good writing does, and what audio does even better, is it has to come alive in your imagination. It has to work. It only works when what you're saying and talking about and putting out there interacts with that listener's imagination. And in that space you create something that the listener owns that's theirs. If you read a great novel, those characters are somehow they come alive in your imagination and they're probably a little bit different than the way they've come alive in everyone else that's read that. And because of that, you own it in a way that you can't own a video that everyone sees and it's exactly the same. So that's really the power of writing. And that's where audio, I think, can take it to another level. [00:11:35] Speaker C: And with storytelling, I mean, adventures to me are just obviously the perfect canvas for storytelling. I mean, you have your natural beginning, middle and end. You have your protagonist, you have the plot that's moving them along, but that doesn't mean everyone can do it well. So you do do it well. I think you do it. [00:11:54] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:11:54] Speaker C: Yeah, you do it phenomenally well, I'll even say. But I am curious, what are you looking for when you're sourcing stories? [00:12:02] Speaker B: Yeah, I guess there's the kind of sourcing of the story, like, who's going to be a great guest, what are the great stories they have? And then there's the execution of that story, which has different stages. And then look for stories that kind of lead to something interesting to think about. And you mentioned near death experiences. We did a story called If I Live Unto Morning, which is based on a book that's written by Jean Munchcraft, which is about her experience on Mount Whitney, where she actually broke her back descending Mount Whitney and had to find a way down. And she talks about this feeling of being in a tent and this feeling of death as a presence just hovering above her and her just clinging on. And it's those moments where if you could meet someone and they could tell you that most profound moment of their life just to you in that moment, then that's also what we're looking for. And then also crazy fun stuff, the stuff that is just going to make people laugh, whether it's the Rickshaw Run or Hitchhiking running the balls in Pamplona or whatever, it might be stuff that people can have fun with. So looking for a range of stories, but they've all got to be something exceptional, so they've all got to offer something. And then when it comes to the pulling it together, obviously it begins with the interview, with interviewing a guest and speaking to them. And a lot of people that might have their own podcast might do an interview show. And that's great. And there is definitely an art to it. You're a fantastic interview. I've listened to your episodes. You're a great interview. You get a lot of good stuff out of people. But that also takes a bit of practice, too, because I always say that the most important thing when you're interviewing someone is listening. Just really, really listening and being curious. And if you're doing those two things, you're more than likely going to do a really interesting interview. So I always try and do that and I always try and come in really prepared with the kind of thing I'm looking for. And then it's about how can I best tell this story? And that begins with the structure, and part of that is beginning, middle and end. And it can be surprisingly complicated sometimes to figure out the middle. And part of it always for me is always trying to find a deeper thread that can be woven throughout it, like a deeper element, something that we can think about, something that we can take from something that this guest maybe learned. And that's where you're really trying to tell a linear story while at the same time kind of weaving in these deeper threads that can hold it together and can give the whole thing some depth. So from a pure storytelling piece, that's what we're looking at. And then a big tip for me with anyone is pace. What I like about your show, one of the things I like about it is you kind of mix some scripted narrative voiceover elements with interview. And what that does really well is it helps the pace, right? Like, you can summarize what might take five minutes in conversation in 30 seconds, and then we just get jumped back into the meat of the interview where the guest is saying something really fascinating that you want to hear in their voice. And so I think it's also always about considering pace and being quite judicious with the edits you're doing and making sure that things turn over quickly and one thing leads to another thing leads to another thing. There's a famous saying in writing, which is like, easy reading is hard writing. And that's true. To make something that's easy to read, that flows, takes a bit of time. You got to craft it, you got to work at it. It doesn't come out in the first draft. And that's what I would encourage everyone to do, is push the boundaries of their own creativity a little bit. See where you can take this and think outside the box a little and see where that story takes you. [00:15:53] Speaker A: Another episode from August of 2022 featured travel author Oscar Scaffiti about a month long journey he took with his friend they kayaked the entire length of the Kwanzaa River in Angola with very little prior experience or expertise. [00:16:08] Speaker D: Eventually the hippos appeared on the other side of the river and as soon as they saw us, they just started swimming towards us as quickly as they could, which is, again, very concerning, very aggressive behavior and not what we'd seen prior to this stage. The guys just screamed at us that we needed to get to the other bank and get up into a tree as quickly as possible, which we didn't ask questions, we just followed them and did what they did, but we ended up up a tree. But our kayak was still in the water at the base of the tree and the IPPOS came right up and were kind of sniffing around the kayaks and trying to work out where we'd gone. [00:16:39] Speaker B: I suppose that story is a good example of looking for the moments of real drama and trying to get that sense of emotion and subjectivity as well. Different people tell stories in different ways. I was very lucky to interview, like a hero of mine, Conrad Anchor, who's an incredible famous mountaineer, and he was telling the story of climbing Mount Maru, which is the hardest mountain, by many accounts, to climb. And it's amazing. But, you know, the thing about really good mountaineers is they're very straight down the middle. So he told that story step by step by step, and that was fantastic. But oftentimes what I'm trying to do is also get a sense of what did it feel like to be there? What did it feel like to look down and see a hippo charging you and knowing that you can't get out of the way? What's that feel like? And so I'm always trying to find a balance of the objective story and keeping that story ticking along and then the subjectivity of what it feels like for that person there. And then hopefully by picking out those right moments, that's when you can kind of have that emotional connection too. And also, I think an important piece is about kind of zooming in and zooming out, right? Like you can't zoom in and tell everything in minute detail because it would take too long, it would be so slow, it would get boring. But if you don't zoom in at all, if you don't really go in on that film camera close up and show people those details, then it's hard for that picture to really come alive in people's imagination. So another thing I'm looking for are what are the scenes that I really want to zoom in on? And I really when I'm interviewing the guy, the man or woman who's done this trip, what are the questions I need to ask them to get out those details? And with someone like Conrad, who's absolutely amazing, complete hero of mine. But we had to work a little bit. I had to find multiple ways to ask the questions to get those details. And I think it came out really well in the end. But people tell stories in different ways. So I think you have to be prepared for the scenes you want to tell, the bits you want to zoom in on, and how you're going to make that come alive. And in terms of what am I curious about? Well, I'm always curious about the lessons that people took from something and also the deeper meaning of stuff. There's been a lot of history in Angola that was an important part of this story. So the journey becomes a vehicle for sometimes telling deeper stories. [00:19:21] Speaker C: I was thinking earlier a lot of times because I listen to a couple of hours of podcasts just about every working day, and I have to multitask when I do them. I'm a multitasker, first of all. And second of all, I would never get anything done if I just sat here. That said, your podcast on more than one occasion kept me on the edge of my seat. Kayak in the Kwanzaa was one of them. And you mentioned earlier, but if I live until morning and your story was incredible, being in the tent with her husband, and she just asking him to stay awake with her in case she dies. I don't know how as a human being, I just don't know how you face that moment. I can't even fathom. [00:20:05] Speaker E: And I felt it kind of floating above my body, almost like in intimate contact, almost as if it was going to kiss me. And I knew it was death. The raw reality of death was literally in my face. I think what I was feeling with hindsight was my life force leaving my body. And that's when I made this vow to myself, if I live until morning, I will live my greatest dreams. [00:20:29] Speaker B: And that thought was like an anchor. It pulled her spirit back from the brink of death, from that entity hovering over her like a lover waiting for a kiss. That's something that in one way or another, we will all face that moment one day. So to hear about it through someone else's eyes and experiences and an extraordinary experience, too, is really powerful and can be really moving, I think, if you get it right. And it can also be really insightful, too, and helpful to how can you take some of these things into your own life. And Jean is an example that through that, she got into Buddhism, and that experience gave her a sense of the fragility of life, and that moment changed her life forever and ultimately for the good. Ultimately, she said it was the worst moment of her life and the moment that made her life. So there's a lot of interesting pieces like that that come up and hopefully are Edgier seat and also maybe linger a little bit afterwards as well. Yeah. [00:21:32] Speaker C: And I think touches on that theme of finding a broader lesson, too. [00:21:37] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. [00:21:38] Speaker C: As well as maybe some safety tips. If you decide to go ski. [00:21:43] Speaker B: Don'T ski Mount Whitney in winter unless you're really good at cross country skiing. [00:21:48] Speaker C: Yeah. I mean, there is something, though, about tragedy that really spawns a sense of adventure and wonder. In know, you hear those stories about surfers who get attacked by sharks and come away with, like, a profound respect and love of sharks and want to get back on the surfboard. And I think about the episode below Another Sky where oh, God. [00:22:10] Speaker F: Yeah. [00:22:10] Speaker C: And where the fellow lost his best friend on a climbing adventure and goes back 20 years later with his daughter. I mean, some people you think about it, some people might never want to be on a mountain again. And, man, that was a really powerful one. [00:22:27] Speaker B: Yeah. Rick Ridgway and that was one of the episodes that actually, when I was interviewing him, he made me cry literally when he described this moment of his best friend, they got hit by an avalanche and he survived. He was seriously injured and he went over and found his friend and held him in his arms while he died. And he talks of watching his last breath and seeing something leave him. And the way he describes that, I mean, it brought a tear to my eye because he told that with such emotion we're talking 50 years later almost. And he told that with such emotion as if it happened yesterday. And yeah, then to bring this guy Jonathan, his best friend's daughter, back to find the body and bury it is an incredible story. [00:23:22] Speaker A: Some stories are a bit less emotional. Like that comedian Andy Smart who decided he was going to hitchhike the Pamplona. [00:23:29] Speaker F: There was very little entertainment in the late 70s. There was only three TV channels. And so we made our own fun, really. And I was in the pub in Liverpool one night with some friends and we were making each pint last an hour and we didn't really have much money and I'd just been the weekend before I'd hitched to a party in London and then hitched back on the Sunday and did it all in about it was about 4 hours there and 4 hours back. So I was sort of bragging about this and they said, well, where do you reckon you could get to and back in two days? And I said, Well, I don't know. And someone said, what about Ben Nevis? And I said, all right then, yeah, I could do that. I could get to Ben Nevis and back in 48 hours hitchhiking. [00:24:11] Speaker C: I think that fits squarely into the maybe poorly thought out, misadventure category. [00:24:18] Speaker B: Like intentionally poorly thought. Like. There's a great bit in the beginning of that where he tells a story of he made a bet in a pub that he's like in Liverpool, which is northern England, and he makes a bet that he can hitchhike. To Scotland, climb Ben Nevis, which is the tallest mountain in Scotland, which is quite remote Scotland, and come back down and back to the same pub in Liverpool in 24 hours without spending, like, more than a pound. And it's like, this is who this guy is. And he went and did it. He finished his pint, walked out the door and hitchhiked to Scotland, literally. And he had so many funny stories of the people that picked him up and things like that. And I love that too. I just love that's not necessarily me. I love that spirit of fun and adventure, but I'm not Andy comedian crazy guy. And so I love being able to step in and see the world through his eyes. That's just magical to me. [00:25:19] Speaker C: And you made a really good comment in that episode, too, because he does go running with the bulls in Pamplona. And you make a great comment about how that practice is kind of frowned upon by a lot of the world, and maybe with good reason. But then you also kind of contextualize it with like but it is part of their culture. And sometimes people from another culture look at the world through a very different lens. And I think having that perspective, just in general, I think is really important that you can be critical and respectful of someone at the same time. [00:25:57] Speaker B: Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up, actually. I was really in two minds of whether to do that episode for that reason. I've written about a lot of African wildlife conservation projects. I'm a huge supporter of that. And so there's definitely conflict going on. But I do think that we have to be careful as travelers not to imprint our own judgments and our own values onto society. And this is an example of something that's been going on for many, many years. It's really important to the culture there. And so the flip side of that is it's part of keeping that culture alive and maybe for them to decide on how they do that, I don't know. I don't know what the right answer is to that, but I feel like it was a good story to tell and to raise that issue and people to think about that issue, and they can come down any which way they want on it. [00:26:52] Speaker A: In April of 2021, a deep sea explorer named Rory Golden was featured on an episode called Diving the Titanic, where he recounts his experience diving to the Titanic and a tiny submersible, a story that, given recent events, has some new context. [00:27:10] Speaker C: And I'm curious, how do you feel about that now? Because you're right. I mean, I think what happened with the Ocean Gate expedition, I think it brought out a lot of really, I think, complicated narratives. [00:27:22] Speaker B: Yeah, it did. Yeah. And I think it's important to bring that think. And Rory Golden, by the way, has worked for Ocean Gate as well, so it's even more kind of interconnected than all of that. And I think the complicated thing with that is when you turn that dangerous exploration into a tourist business and advertise it as totally safe, when it can't be, no matter what disclaimers are signed, perhaps that opens the door for criticism. But at the same time, I do believe it's people's choice to do that. And I don't think it's right that only extremely rich billionaires can afford to do this kind of thing. But I do really believe in the power of taking people to incredible go. Most of us are never going to go to the titanic or the bottom of the ocean or anything like that, but if you can go to a year or so ago, I was lucky to go to a place in alaska called sheldon chalet, which is, like, right in the middle of the ruth glacier, surrounded by the entire alaskan range. In the east face of Denali. And it was one of these, like, flying in. There was like, oh, my God, I didn't know there was wilderness like this in the world. And that was a view that completely changed me. And I think there is a power in taking people to places and letting them feel that. And one of the things I'm really passionate about with my writing and podcasting is, for me, I think the first step in conservation, for example, is falling in love with the natural world, and many of us are disconnected from that. And so I think that a lot of conservation projects begin with there's all these dangers and disasters, and we need money to prevent that. And that is absolutely right. And I'm a supporter of many of those charities and written about them. But I think there's a step before that oftentimes, where it's like letting people just feel this, fall in love with it and connect with it, and that's when they care, and that's when those next steps happen and become easier to take. And so I think that taking people places, extraordinary places, has bigger, broader impacts potentially, than just that one moment. The kind of looking through the window at the Titanic. [00:29:56] Speaker C: I always would argue for just looking for adventure, even in your own backyard or your own town. [00:30:03] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:30:04] Speaker C: I know where I live in North Carolina. Our city has a really great trail book that they put out, and it's awesome. It's amazing, these little urban oasis that are just kind of tucked away, and they're right in your own town. And I live near the Appalachian Trail. And to just go hike to one of the summits there and it's not quite like going to outer space, but it still gives you some perspective and you still feel pretty small in a good way. [00:30:36] Speaker B: Absolutely. And you're absolutely right. It's about looking for those moments, those moments of awe or whatever you want to call it, where whether it's being alone in nature, having an incredible cultural experience, or just whatever that might be, you can find those everywhere. And definitely not everyone's going to do these big, crazy adventures. But hopefully they can be a seed of inspiration for you to take on the adventure that's right for you. Maybe that is just in your backyard. Maybe that's backpacking around South America for a know, whatever that is. Maybe it's learning to scuba dive. We did a show about free diving recently, and it's definitely not something I'm going to do, but it might be it's something other people are going to do. [00:31:17] Speaker A: Every episode of Armchair Explorer is unique in its own way, and Aaron gives each one a special touch. But he made a point of recommending an episode from June of 2021 called The Lost Tribes of the Kogi. [00:31:32] Speaker B: This episode, I think that one of the powerful things is if you can go to I've tried to do quite a few different indigenous stories, and I find them all really powerful in different ways. But this story is just kind of incredible. It's with a filmmaker called Alan Herrera, and he was the first person to kind of make contact with this tribe. They had remained in isolation in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Columbia pretty much since 500 years. And so this kind of intact civilization from that period, and they came out of this kind of self imposed seclusion from the world, to give the world a message. And they came out in 1991 and said, guys, do you know that your activities are harming the planet and you should stop? And they thought that we didn't know. And as soon as they told us, we would stop, of course, and they wanted to reach the most people possible. So they found through this series of circumstances, they found Alan, who's a BBC filmmaker at the time, and he went and lived with them for six weeks. And they recorded this message and a short film about their way of life and him telling this story of just living with these people, being immersed in this culture that's so far removed from ours, so untouched by the modern world and this kind of poignant message. For me, that was a really powerful episode and one I was really proud of, to try and a share that message in a small way, but also to give people a glimpse into a completely different way of life. I think it's like by seeing those different ways of life, that we can begin to see our own in a different way, too, going back to that idea that our values and the way we choose to live our life is dictated by where we grow up and who we grow up around. But culture shock is that experience of that being blown away, instantaneously landing in a market in the middle of Morocco or something like that, that blows all that history away. And by seeing how other people live the world in these completely different and often extraordinary ways, I think can help you see how you might choose some of that to live your life too, and choose your life for yourself rather than have it completely dictated to you. And I think so those little things, I think are just really valuable and things that have really inspired me, and I've tried to take something from and put it into my own life, too. [00:34:25] Speaker C: And you're also working with Wanderlust magazine to produce another podcast, aren't you? [00:34:30] Speaker B: Yeah. I love wanderlust. I don't know if you know it, but it's a fantastic magazine. It's a British travel magazine, but they're out in the States now, too, and their tagline is The Road Less Traveled. Taking the road less traveled. And it's just a beautiful magazine, and we do a show with them. I pulled off the page, so I interview writers from the magazine to go into deeper stories about the articles that were in the magazine. Because as a writer, what you get given is you go on a trip for maybe a week and you come back and you have 2000 words to tell that story. And it's never enough, right? You always have to cut things out or shorten things. And so this is an opportunity to have an hour, 45 minutes conversation with one of the writers and allow them to tell those stories that didn't quite make it into the piece. And to your point about the power of audio, hearing it is so different to reading it, hearing it, hearing their excitement and their voice, and that, wow, when they're telling this moment is so powerful and very different from the experience of reading it. [00:35:32] Speaker A: I really meant what I said when I compared the work Aaron does to that of Anthony Bourdain or David Attenborough. Or maybe another analogy is that part in The Hobit, when Gandalf regales Bilbo Baggins with tales of his adventures and then Bilbo trades in his quiet life in the Shire for one of adventure. You don't have to go chasing dragons or exploring oceans, but when you listen to Armchair Explorer, you'll probably want to go on your own adventure, no matter how big or small. At least I did anyway. Full episodes of Armchair Explorer can be found at Armchair explorer.com or anywhere you get your podcasts. And time now for our podcasting Tip, where our guests share some wisdom with the rest of us. [00:36:17] Speaker B: Hey, I'm Aaron Miller from the podcast Armchair Explorer, and my podcasting Tip is don't wait for perfection. So many people wait to start a podcast. They think about it. They're trying to figure out the best, most perfect way to do it. And what I always say is, if your 10th episode is as good as your first episode, you've learned nothing. So your 10th episode is always going to be better, no matter what you do. So don't wait for perfection because it won't arrive by not working. It's going to arrive by sitting down and writing and talking and having fun and being loose and open and just going for it and speaking your message and your truth and finding and chatting with interesting people. Don't make it perfect. Just make it happen. [00:37:05] Speaker C: Dude, that's golden. I like it. [00:37:12] Speaker A: Audience is a Casos original series. Our founder and executive producer is Craig Hewitt. Production assistance is provided by Issel Brill, Jocelyn DeVore and Marnie Hills. Our website and logo design is courtesy of Francois Brill, our head of product here at Castos. This episode was written, edited, narrated, and produced by me. I'm stuart barefoot. Check out Audiencepodcast FM for more episodes or just search for it anywhere you get your podcasts. Next time on Audience I chat with Melissa Hall from the podcast, gravy about the kinds of stories that food can tell. [00:37:49] Speaker G: We tell the stories of the changing American South through the foods we eat. [00:37:54] Speaker B: Great. [00:37:55] Speaker G: Gravy Storytellers showcase a south that's constantly evolving. That Gravy Storytellers are using food as a means to dig into lesser known corners of the region. They're complicating stereotypes, they're documenting new dynamics. And they are giving voice to the unsung folks who grow, cook and serve our daily meal.

Other Episodes