HITS AND MISSES:TODD SAMPSON

Herald on Sunday - - PERU - Todd Sampson is the host of Body Hack, TVNZ 1, from Tues­day, Au­gust 29.

HIT

Well this was a hit both fig­u­ra­tively and lit­er­ally. In film­ing Se­ries 2 of my show Body Hack ,I em­bed­ded with the Iraqi Spe­cial Forces in the bat­tle of Mo­sul. Our goal was to ex­plore the hu­man body and how it adapts in one of the most vi­o­lent and dan­ger­ous en­vi­ron­ments on earth. What I dis­cov­ered was the in­cred­i­ble beauty and heart of an an­cient city that had been re­duced to rub­ble and de­stroyed by war. Even within all the de­struc­tion I couldn’t help but be over­whelmed with the in­cred­i­ble hos­pi­tal­ity and warmth of the Iraqi peo­ple. I’m ashamed to ad­mit that most of what I knew about Iraq had been broadly de­fined by the me­dia, yet what I ex­pe­ri­enced was com­pletely dif­fer­ent. The war was cer­tainly ugly but it was the pock­ets of hope and colour that were a re­minder of the amaz­ing cul­ture be­neath it all

— a cul­ture and coun­try worth know­ing. I hope the war in Mo­sul ends soon and they get to re­build their lives and this re­mark­able city. When they do, I highly rec­om­mend a visit.

MISS

I was re­turn­ing home from a month climb­ing Mt De­nali in Alaska and stopped on Easter Is­land. The is­land it­self is oddly beau­ti­ful but once I re-boarded the plane to Syd­ney things started go­ing wrong. The plane took off at midnight and I was ex­hausted from the climb so I fell asleep im­me­di­ately. Sud­denly my ears were pop­ping as we started to de­scend quickly. I looked out and, alarm­ingly, we were also dump­ing fuel. It looked as though we were fall­ing into the dark­ness of the ocean, no land was in sight. Con­fu­sion set in. At first they said it was an elec­tri­cal prob­lem, then they hes­i­tantly an­nounced there was a po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive de­vice on board and an emer­gency land­ing was nec­es­sary. Time seemed to slow down and I re­mem­ber think­ing: con­cen­trate on breath­ing slowly. As you can imag­ine, there was chaos, we landed hard and the doors were off quickly. I re­mem­ber peo­ple hys­ter­i­cally grab­bing their lug­gage, hav­ing been told not to, af­ter see­ing the re­sponse team, all in silver suits like space­men, at the doors; then pas­sen­gers run­ning ran­domly down the tar­mac into the dark­ness. It turned out to have been a false alarm and as a re­sult I was de­toured to Tahiti for two days — which I rec­om­mend if you need a break, and by that stage, I cer­tainly did.

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