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February 22, 2021 Monday 11:01:34 AM IST

Immersive Exploration

Life Inspirations

Each time I challenge myself, challenge my limits whether physically or mentally, I find I am reaching new heights. That is why I love adventures- Sarah Begum

She calls herself an explorer, a journalist, and an anthropologist. At the age of 21, Sarah Begum took a year off from her graduate studies in TV and Journalism to journey to Ecuadorian Amazon rainforests for her very first documentary Amazon Souls.

"I was hunting with warriors, gathering with women and they got me naked and made me queen. They married me to a warrior in an initiation ceremony." She also took time off to wrestle with an Amazon warrior, a video that is trending on YouTube. She had to overcome the barriers of language, lifestyle, customs, and traditions and immerse herself in the lives of tribals in whichever forests she went to.

Her second journey was to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to live with the Berber tribe of Ourika Valley. She was adopted by a Berber woman Khadija and granted the honour of becoming the first person ever to take this extraordinary woman's photograph. Her adventures also took her to Caracas in Venezeula considered the crime capital of the world as an undercover journalist risking her life to understand the political and economic struggles the nation was going through. Seven years ago she also directed and modeled a mad scientist experiment known as “Adventurion 3D-360’ considered to world’s first 3D UV chromadepth bodypaint film and entered the Guinness Bok of World Records. It represented the future of space exploration whilst focusing on conservation of tribes and indigenous forms of life.

Now in her 10th year of world exploration and also a Fellow of National Geographic Society, she shared her quick thoughts on the environment, the sustainability of Planet Earth with Pallikkutam.

What are the insights you have gathered from immersing with indigenous tribes and the life of these people cut off from the mainstream?

To enjoy the simple and natural beautiful moments in life that we do often take for granted. It could be the sound of a bird, the views from a mountain, drops of rain, the smell of your favourite meal, or the smile on your loved one’s face.

We always hear about the prediction of the destruction of Amazon rainforests. What can be done to save it?

Deforestation and oil exploitation have negatively impacted the forests, the plant and animal species and the communities in the Amazon. Oil companies need to do the transition to sustainable fuels so that we can all survive for generations to come. The situation is a lethal game of chess where we are on the losing end.

Despite all the climate change or environmental destruction, pandemics, disasters, what is emerging on the horizon which may be quite positive?

The positive changes emerging is the move to sustainable fuels, the banning of fossil fuel cars and awareness of humanity about themselves and the importance of uniting with and understanding others in an effort to produce these solutions in a peaceful way.

Offlate you seem to be fascinated with space missions and their role in sustainability?

Yes, I’d love to be part of sustainable space efforts but also it’s my ultimate dream to explore space!

Why did you choose an adventurous career at a young age and going into places and meeting people which many women may not even think of?

I chose a different path wanting to save the trees on our planet from extinction thus saving humanity’s extinction. And I was also curious to know how these indigenous tribes lived deep in the beautiful pristine rainforest.

You did a documentary on Buddhism. And presently how do you see the Buddhist principles being practiced in South Asian nations and their relevance?

I believe meditation is relevant now more than ever as it will help people find themselves, look inside for the answers which they seek, relax the mind, alleviate stress or anxiety, promote peaceful sleep and so many other things. Buddhism is a fascinating religion and I hope to learn even more about it

Sreekumar Raghavan

Sreekumar Raghavan is an award-winning business journalist with over two and a half decades of experience in print, magazine and online journalism. A Google-certified Digital Marketing Professional, he specialises in content development for web, digital marketing and training, media relations and related areas. He is the recipient of MP Narayana Pillai Award for Journalism in 2001 and holds a bachelors degree in Economics and Masters Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kerala University.





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