17 July 2010

You Know I Should Be Leaving Soon

Many will agree that the human spirit longs for adventure. To explore the unknown. And to stare fear in the face and conquer it. That's the overarching premise of 180° South, a documentary that follows its narrator, Jeff Johnson, as he leaves his home behind to sail, surf and climb his way to Patagonia; the same trek made and documented four decades ago by The North Face founder, Doug Tompkins and Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard.

Johnson, following in the adventurous spirit of his role models (and now mentors), sought the Patagonia mountains. Finding his way aboard a small boat headed south from California, Johnson and the crew spent over a month at sea before finding themselves stranded on Rapa Nui (the small island we now know as Easter Island) for 40 plus days where they split time fixing their wounded ship and surfing.

Finally departing from Rapa Nui, the crew headed down to Argentina where Johnson would hook up with his heros, Tompkins and Chouinard, to enjoy nature and to climb a mountain. The same mountain that Tompkins and Chouinard climbed in the late 60's. The same journey that inspired those two men to donate millions of dollars in company profits to purchase millions of acres of land in the Patagonia mountains only to give it back to the Argentinian government at no cost.

This is something that they still do today, not only to protect some of the most beautiful land on earth, but to hopefully provide a place for people to escape their complicated lives and seek the beauty of simplicity.

This is a film that will inspire anyone. That will make the viewer look at their lives on a deeper level. It's beautifully shot and perfectly scored. And it's on demand on Netflix. To view this film is time well spent.

"The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It's so easy to make it complex. The solution that may be for a lot of the world's problems is to turn around and take a forward step. You can't keep trying to make a flawed system work."
- Yvon Chouinard