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Documentary: Keepers

This is a short documentary I made this year where I interviewed psychiatric nurses who used to work in the old Irish asylums. I have a unique perspective on this, growing up with two parents for nurses, four nursing aunts and two nursing uncles… all except two who worked in St. Senan’s psychiatric hospital.

Keepers

 

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An Ode to the Road

To feel lonely in your own country is a terrible thing.

To have to stand still, when you want to run.

To have to put yourself out there constantly, when you know you are going to get knocked back.

That’s why I miss the road.

I miss the not knowing.

I miss the freedom.

I miss living out of a backpack, sleeping in airports and train stations, over night buses, the chaos of being lost in a country where the language is not your own, the sand on your feet, the itch of a mosquito bite, wearing shorts day in, day out, sunburn peel, sleeping in a different bed/bus/sofa/floor/tent every night…

I miss labouring in the outback, pulling pints in Perth, kayaking in Sydney, sleeping in a hammock in Cambodia, getting caught in the rain in Bali, riding motorbikes in Vietnam, eating with your hands in India, drinking iced coffee in Canada, swimming in turquoise waters in the Philippines, snowboarding in France, camping in Scotland, walking in Portugal…

But most of all, I miss the people…

oh how I miss the people.

A year back in Ireland and I’ve made four new friends tops, a day on the road and I’d make 15. I have no one to make plans with for the weekend, traipse around the mountains with, no one to surf with, or to fawn over maps with. I have had so many of these people in my life over the years … I needed to know that they were still there, somewhere.

So I decided to touch base with a few. All on one day and see where their lives had taken them, see if some would even respond, just to feel connected once more. I asked them to send me a picture of where they were and what they were doing right now…

And man, the photos flooded in. I was transported around the world, breaking the ice with people I haven’t spoken to in a long time. It wasn’t like on Instagram, the perfectly manicured images, it was real.

I was catching up, seeing the world again, laughing, talking politics, discussing their dreams and adventures, talking about their pain and difficulties. Some were brief conversations, some stayed and we talked for hours.

A constant stream of photos and conversations, people getting up, while I was going to bed, me getting up, while they were going to sleep. People chasing their dreams, travelling, struggling, stuck in an office, working their ass off to get the career. I celebrated with people, tried to help some figure out a problem or make a decision.

I wasn’t jealous when the really good ones came, the ones where people were travelling or doing something really worthwhile. I heard stories of people studying climate change, inspiring a generation of surfers, climbing mountains in South America, working their asses off in offices, preserving history in Virginia, drinking in Melbourne, watching a sunrise in Vancouver…

And I was happy for them, so happy for them all. These people that I get to call my friends, people who too, are just trying to make their way in this fucked up world… and in that moment, I wasn’t lonely anymore.

Take a look at what I got back: 

 

Ex Pro Wakeboarder Barrett Perlman Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Upcoming Action Sports Documentary ​Life After X

PRESS RELEASE: LOS ANGELES, CA – July 11, 2017

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Ex pro wakeboarder, Barrett Perlman, has recently launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for her new action sports documentary, Life After X. The film unveils the stories of the best action sports athletes on the planet as they confess the good, the bad, and the ugly of their industry and life after living under the spotlight of fame and glory. In order to illustrate how the athletes are where they are today, Life After X takes a bold look at how the action sports industry has evolved since its heyday in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Perlman, the executive producer and director, says, “As a female filmmaker and former top professional wakeboarder, I’m in a unique position to be able to tell this story about the action sports industry. I know this story because I’ve lived it.” Since wakeboarding, Perlman transitioned into a career as a television and digital producer. She has worked for some of the biggest names in entertainment including MTV, FOX, CNBC, Snapchat, and more. Through her own experience and interviews with top athletes including Travis Pastrana, Parks Bonifay, Andy Finch, Chad Kagy, Eddie Wall, Chris Pastras and many more, Perlman is bringing to light the differences between retiring as an action sports pro versus a team sports or “mainstream” pro, what mental blocks they struggle with, and the real-world challenges they have to surmount. Media coverage, consumption, and in some cases, participation, have declined over the past decade and Perlman is on a mission to unearth why.

The Life After X team has already faced pushback from several major companies in the industry who don’t want to admit or cover this decline. That’s all the more reason to tell this story. This month, Life After X launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo because Perlman needs help to continue filming this documentary. Production has halted halfway through filming because of a lack of funds. “It’s not that we planned poorly with our money, because we didn’t,” says Perlman. “A financier backed out at the last second and some of that money had even already been spent. That left us without the means to continue with many of the interviews that still need to be filmed.” So Perlman and her team are turning to crowdfunding to help raise money to get them through production. “What’s so great about crowdfunding is the sense of community it evokes. All of my favorite action sports industries are coming together to help with this project,” says Perlman on choosing crowdfunding for over traditional financing. “Plus, when every person who believes in the project donates even the smallest amount, that adds up! Hence how a crowd is able to impact the budget of a project like this.”

You can check out and contribute to Life After X on Indiegogo at: http://igg.me/at/lifeafterx. You can also follow Life After X on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @lifeafterx.

Reaching Lost Mountain

First published on Adventures Unbound Blog on May 23rd 2017. 
Rhys Fisher, seconds away from getting airborne during a training XC-flight in southern Spain — Picture taken by Jairo Pino

One to watch this summer — an expedition dubbed Reaching Lost Mountain is an attempt at a coast-to-coast Pyrenees crossing, powered only by the elements.

One of those adventures, all us sitting in the office on our fifth cup of coffee, shoes off, heads in our hands staring deadpan at a computer screen, dreaming to be up there. Flying. Exploring the blue skies, away from all the politics, corruption and routine.

To run off a cliff and not fall but soar, to feel fear consume your body but instead of crippling you, heighten your senses and elevate your game. This summer a team of 3 will attempt to hike and paraglide from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. They will combine survival trekking with non-powered flight in what they have called “the future of nomadic travel.”

Ideally, after making the best use of the flyable conditions, the team can land high up, setup camp, and rest for the next day.

The team is made up of athletes Rhys Fisher, Fons de Leeuw and Mark Baldwin. With Alice Horwood coordinating the expedition and Josh Horwood capturing it. Their experience collectively makes for a pretty impressive resume, including solo vol-biv trips in the French and Italian Alps, from Berga to Pobla de Segur, from Annecy to Nice and several paragliding competitions. Their latest adventure will see the team cover 450–550km over ten days, kicking off on the 10th of June. If the weather behaves they will fly +300km of it. Then repeat a cycle of “Hike. Fly. Sleep. Repeat”. They hope to cover +100km straight line distance inflight on the good days which would require staying in the air for over five hours at a time.

Weight and pack space are always an issue because they have to take with them everything they need to be self-sufficient. This means carrying and flying with solar chargers, GoPro cameras, GPS emergency trackers, flight instruments, and radios for communication with each other and the ground crew. A tent with down bags, air mattresses, water, camping stoves, and food. Hiking poles, and basic some lifesystems first aid kits. All in all it comes in at over 40 pounds! But when the weather is good, they can fly far in a day, making the going a little easier on the feet!

The views during a circumnavigation of la Sierra de Grazalema, Spain.

These guys have tapped into something here and we should all follow their lead and make a conscious effort to live life a little more recklessly.

“That feeling when you are hanging beneath a few kilos of string and fabric, thousands of meters up, and a random vulture flies past you and marks the next thermal which beams you to cloud base…. With modern gear weighing less, the idea of bringing some camping gear and seeing how far you can go over a few days kinda came naturally to the team.” — Mark Baldwin