On wings of dis­cov­ery

Ar­du­ous treks led to an amaz­ing find, writes Chanel Par­ratt

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - Celebrity Escape -

MORE than 38 years ago, Catalina Aguado and her hus­band Ken­neth Brug­ger an­swered an ad in a Mex­i­can news­pa­per placed by Dr Fred Urquhart. The ad read: Wanted, vol­un­teers to tag but­ter­flies and if pos­si­ble dis­cover their des­ti­na­tion.

Af­ter two years spent look­ing for where the monarch but­ter­fly flies in win­ter, Aguado and her hus­band made the dis­cov­ery and life hasn’t been the same since. Aguado says what she can’t ex­press in words, the film – Flight of the But­ter­flies – catches in im­ages.

What was it like to fi­nally dis­cover the but­ter­flies?

It was like walking into a cathe­dral with a shim­mer­ing or­ange car­pet that ex­tended to the sky. The tree trunks were cov­ered in crin­kled gold and or­ange silk.

How did you feel?

At first I felt like I had walked into a sa­cred place and dis­turbed their pri­vacy. I was afraid to talk or breathe in fear of scar­ing them away. I also felt very sad be­cause I had to give away their se­cret place and yet I kept wish­ing that the whole world could see them through my eyes.

Have you had an­other travel ex­pe­ri­ence that com­pares?

No, never.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while trav­el­ling?

Freshly picked morel mush­rooms cooked on an open fire.

Where is your favourite place to travel for a hol­i­day?

My favourite place is a for­est with moun­tains and streams where I can hear only the sounds of


How did it feel watch­ing the movie?

It was strange to see and hear the in­ter­ac­tion of my hus­band and I played out by the ac­tors. It was nice to imag­ine my­self be­ing 25 years old, in the moun­tains again with the but­ter­flies and Fred and No­rah Urquhart – kind of re­liv­ing my youth.

What do you do to re­lax when you’re at home (in Texas)?

I work in my veg­etable garden, have long dis­cus­sions with my son, play with my dogs and watch the 30 or so deer that come to my front yard.

Where is your next hol­i­day?

My next hol­i­day is in my veg­etable garden.

What do you grow?

In the spring I grow sev­eral va­ri­eties of heir­loom to­ma­toes, zuc­chini, squash, mel­ons, corn, green beans, sweet pep­pers, hot pep­pers, onions, gar­lic, tomatil­los, car­rots, herbs, peaches, plums, figs and berries. In fall, greens like spinach and kale and cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles. I grow milk­weed for the monar­chs, some flow­ers for the but­ter­flies and hum­ming­birds and let­tuce for the deer.

What has travel taught you?

Travel has taught me to look far, wide, to the ground and to the sky, and al­ways take new paths.

Is there any­thing you can’t travel with­out?

My glasses be­cause I need them to see where I am­go­ing.

Flight of the But­ter­flies 3D opens to­day at Imax Mel­bourne Mu­seum.

JOUR­NEY OF WON­DER: Catalina Aguado (right) with Stephanie Sig­man, who plays her in the film Flight of the But­ter­flies; and one of the monarch but­ter­flies that Aguado and her hus­band tracked to their Mex­i­can sanc­tu­ary (left).

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