It’s hard to define the greatest trip of all time (read the article here) for someone who really loves to travel, but for me, this trip to the Tambopata Research Center deep in the Peruvian rainforest, defined travel for me on a new level.
For most of my life traveling was about going somewhere to experience something new and relating it to something I was familiar with. How another country’s food was different than mine, how their music was unique, how their language sounded strange and wonderful. Here though, travel took on a new meaning; it went far beyond difference, and transcended a new experience. In short, it was the journey that was the trip, and when I arrived, it was no longer a place, but a perspective I found. It is something I measure all travel against now, and for better or worse, haunts my travel dreams.
The Tambopata Research Center is not easy to get to, and that truly is what makes it magic. It is a three day journey down a cocoa river that is both extremely dangerous and serene. Here is a passage from the article I wrote for Get Lost Magazine: “Tambopata Research Center is located in a region of south-eastern Peru known as Madre de Dios or Mother of God. Tens of thousands of plant and animal species, from macaws and monkeys to jaguars and giant turtles, thrive in this protected tangle of forest. The wildlife is so prolific that while I’m here my guides discover two new species of spiders – and that’s just on the walk from the boat to the lodge. Visiting this jungle is like stepping into God’s messy kitchen. “
The lodge itself seemed to be made from my wildest dreams. Absolutely remote, both romantic and rustic, with an open air bar and cheap drinks, you are surrounded by a handful of adventure tourists and scientists. Over cold Cusquena beer you make new brilliant friends, and if lucky enough they take you out at night on one of their research missions, where you see nature like never before; raw, frightening, and awe inspiring. During the hot part of the day you may swing in the hammock in your three walled room as you update your journal feeling very much like the men and women that inspired you decades ago when canvas, pith helmets and lust for wonton adventure was in style. There, alone in the heaving jungle, as the howling monkey howl and your sweat and air mingle, you realize that you are no longer traveling, you are experiencing another world on earth, without tourism, without instagram, without any need to share it with anyone. It’s the closest I have ever felt to what some people consider God, and it has never left me.
I wrote an article about it, and took a series of photographs that are some of my absolute favorite. This film however, is different than most of the ones I produce. It is just the natural sounds I found there, and the rare moments I remembered to be filming what I saw. It is a fractured look at this magical, remote place, but it brings me back there immediately in a supernatural way. I hope you enjoy it, and moreso, I hope you find your TRC.