COM­MENT

Action Asia - - CONTENTS -

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: stevew@bluinc­me­dia.com Twit­ter: @Ac­tionasia­mag

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