ONE WAY TO ENRICH OUR TRAVELS – EVEN IN THE SPHERE OF adventure – is to look for places that encourage connections with the past. That could mean rediscovering the former occupants of a land, or those that explored it in the name of glory, science, enrichment or pure curiosity. This issue’s two biking features from Australasia do very much that. They both retrace routes across forbidding landscapes first opened up by our forebears – one by miners searching for mineral riches in the rugged hills of New Zealand’s South Island, the other by Aboriginal peoples of Australia’s Top End driven by more spiritual yearnings (see pic right). Then there are places where eons of natural selection have left us with marvels of biology that continue to excite our imagination and defy our comprehension. In our Komodo story, Mark Eveleigh discusses the famous dragons of that region and shows how even today we are still being forced to revise our ideas about them. Finally, in our climbing feature from Gansu, China, we have a story of discovery only half-written, as it were. Though tourists increasingly visit the area today for its connection to Tibetan history, in a way Garrett Bradley’s team were interested in the tourists to come – in this case, climbers. Part of the pioneering team to be the first to stand atop the area’s most significant peak, they looked beyond and saw lines of limestone yet to be reached, let alone climbed. One day perhaps, their route may be historic itself. For now, it is enough to admire the questing spirit that continues to move us to explore, looking forward as well as reaching back for inspiration.
ANCESTRAL BOND Paintings by the Aboriginal artist Najombolmi at Nourlangie in Kakadu National Park. Though done in the 1960s, they depict beings from stories that date back tens of thousands of years.
Steve White Editor-in-chief Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @Actionasiamag