I’m Joel Simpson, about to take a ‘round-the-world trip with a fabulous companion, writer, professor, environmental NGO director Dr. Barbara Brodman, focusing mainly on Asia. We’re both adventuresome travelers, with lots of experience under our belts. I’ve lived in four European countries, speak French, Italian and German, and she speaks Spanish and Portuguese. My Ph. D. is in comparative literature, but I also have a masters in music, and I’ve done travel writing, and music and art reviewing. I’m no stranger to large-scale projects. I produced the Dick Hyman Century of Jazz Pinao CD-ROM in 1999, which sold world-wide; and Sun Pictures to Mega-Pixels, a exhibition of archaic process and digital process photography in 2007, that involved 125 artists.
I’ve been a serious photographer since I was 13, a professional for the past 12 years, with publications and shows of my work in the US, France, Australia, and Spain. Barbara and I have planned this trip to visit some lesser known destinations as well as some better-known ones. We want to show that it can be done at our age (she’s 70, I’m 67), and that you can go by yourself, without a group, picking your own destinations, balancing serendipity with planning, and keeping the freedom to explore with maximum contact with local people.
With both my wonderful Canon 5D Mark III full-frame digital SLR and the Noblex Panoramic (film) camera, I’ll be photographing spectacular geology and landscapes, flora and fauna, and above all the people we encounter: “environmental” portraits (in the context of their lives), where they live, shop, and conduct their spiritual and recreational lives. Plus, I’ll be interviewing many of them with the 5D Mark III and an external microphone, asking about the changes they’ve seen in their lifetimes, the problems they foresee in climate change, agriculture, water management, the role of global corporations, and how they view the Unite States. I’ve always made lots of friends when I traveled, and we will certainly be good-will ambassadors for the US, showing people that we thought it was worth it to visit them, and that we’re interested in their problems and perspectives.
In 70 days from March 31 to June 10, of this year we plan to visit the following:
•TURKEY: Cappadocia, including dawn hot air balloon ride, Istanbul
•JORDAN: Petra, Wadi Rum, Shobak and Karak Crusader castles
•KENYA: Nairobi wildlife park and city
•MADAGASCAR: Isalo and Ranomafana National Parks, plus the cities of Antsirabe and Fianarantsoa
•INDIA: the Ghats of Varanasi on the Ganges, the erotic temples of Khajuraho, and Panna wildlife park
•NEPAL Kathmandu, villages, Himalayas, culture
•TIBET: Llahsa, the Buddhist temples and mountain terrain
•CHINA: Beijing, Great Wall
•MONGOLIA: yurts, Gobi Desert (locus of dinosaur fossils), falconers
•VIETNAM: Ho-Chi-Minh City, overland the length of the country, ending in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
•CAMBODIA Angkor Wat
•JAPAN: Osaka and Kyoto
Although we won’t be traveling de luxe, the trip has considerable expenses, and I intend to produce a photography book of the best images, my own tribute to Richard Halliburton’s 1938 Book of Marvels which gave me the travel bug when I was a teenager: Marvels 2014. I’ll be keeping a blog as we go, and I’m eager to share it with anyone who wants to come along as our virtual companion. I also plan to be tweeting as we go, with photos. So follow me on the blog: marvels2014.blogspot.com
And follow my tweets at @jssphoto
And if you can help us out with expenses at the level of
$30, I’d love to send you the DVD of the interviews I collect, that will also
contain at least 200 of my best images in low-resolution, suitable for onscreen
viewing. For a larger contribution I’ll send you a signed, limited edition
print, either on paper or on aluminum, as you can see in my video. The complete schedule of perks is on the right of the video.
If we reach our entire goal of $10,000, I will publish the photo book, Marvels 2014, and include it in every contribution of $450 and over, and make it available for $50 to everyone else. It will be at least 100 pages long and contain texts based on the blog and more.
We hope that this jouney will inspire others to see the marvels of our world for themselves and to meet people on their own terms to see what problems they face, and how they solve the universal challenges of life on this earth differently, maybe even better in some cases, than we do. The world has grown smaller since Halliburton traveled by ship, plane, camel, donkey, rowboat and by foot to visit the places he went, but now more people can go. We’ll show you how you can do it. So if this appeals to you, at the very least subscribe to my blog and spread the word. You can do it through the Indiegogo share tools.
See you en route!