The power of awe in extreme environments

Yosemite Valley, 2014 (Emma B)

Yosemite Valley, 2014 (Emma B)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir The Yosemite (1912), page 256.

In recent talks (at Futurefest and Words by the Water) I mentioned that one of the most common features of accounts of extreme environments – and one of the many motivations for choosing them – is the experience of being in natural landscapes. And not just any natural landscapes – landscapes that inspire awe.

Alongside fear, awe is one of the most powerful and profound emotions experienced by individuals in extreme environments.


Talking Extreme: Some speaking engagements this Spring

I’ve neglected this blog somewhat over the last few weeks as I’ve been busy participating in various publicity activities for Extreme, including preparing for talks at a number of events this spring. Last week was the first – a talk and Q&A at the Words By the Water literary festival in Keswick, in the heart of the UK’s Read more about Talking Extreme: Some speaking engagements this Spring[…]

The Surprising Personality Traits of Extreme Adventurers

We were delighted that Discover Magazine wanted to feature an extract from Extreme. They suggested the section on personality and extreme environments from Chapter 12, and we think it makes a good standalone feature. Here’s the beginning. Click through to read the entire extract on Discover’s site (posted 4 December). When considering extreme environments it is easy to make Read more about The Surprising Personality Traits of Extreme Adventurers[…]

An interview in The New Republic

My last few weeks have involved fielding numerous requests for articles and interviews, following up UK publication last week and in anticipation of the US publication of Extreme in a few days. Here’s one of the interviews, with Alice Robb of The New Republic. Her article appeared a couple of days ago. Here’s the start – click through for the Read more about An interview in The New Republic[…]

3 things to help you thrive in extreme situations

Last week I had the pleasure of talking about Extreme with the lovely Ajaz Ahmed and his colleagues at AKQA London. It was a really enjoyable gig and I’m very grateful to Richard Kilgarriff and Izzy at Bookomi for setting it up. Bookomi followed up with a ‘3 Things’ feature about Extreme. Here’s an extract – click Read more about 3 things to help you thrive in extreme situations[…]