There is an old worn out table at the front of the stage. Since this is an evening of talks about adventures I feel it is fair to assume the table is there to hold the various exhibits of snakes and shrunken heads and stuffed exotic birds… that’s the kind of things adventurers carry around, right? Fascinating Adventure and Expedition Talks (FEAT) did not conform to any of my stereotypes.
Out of nowhere three guys in muscle shirts started jumping, leaping, break dancing and spinning around the stage. Actually I’m the one spinning, as I have run out of verbs to describe what they do and the gloriousness with which they do it. Parkour is a discipline whereby you use innovative ways to get over obstacles. An unexpected beginning to an evening with “Talks” in the title.
‘Fascinating’ is one of those words that has become a favourite with the sarcastic. Maybe FEAT will be the event to reclaim the word to its former glory. Listening to ordinary people pushing their bodies to the extremes, overcoming physical and mental obstacles was truly, thrillingly, properly fascinating.
I tried to understand how Hanli Prinsloo, a pretty girl in a flowing maxi-dress could be a free diver, who can hold her breath for six minutes. I was impressed with Allyson Towle who hit the gym after a divorce and then undertook a cycling expedition in Chile with her personal trainer Marc Booysen. Then there’s the professional Braam Malherbe, who ran the length of the Great Wall of China in 98 days – an equivalent of a marathon a day. He does not have a ‘real’ job, and he could not have it any other way.
The world is pretty much mapped out but there are still adventures to be had and people diving in, ready and willing to discover more about the world and about themselves. It was enormously inspiring to hear them. One day… maybe… I could be one of them. So far the only mountains I’ve conquered have been made of chocolate.
By Jana van Heerden