Saturday, February 18, 2012

Around the World in 13,140 Days (36 Years)

Traveling has always been a passion among people from around the globe. But if adventure is added to it, it become, thrilling, exciting, fun and a bit dangerous too. 

There was a film that was made in 1956 with the title of 'Around the World in 80 Days.' The film was based on fiction, a novel written by Jules Verne. The star studded film, directed by Michael Anderson, had the main characters of the film performed by some of the famous and finest actors of the time including David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine and Robert Newton. The supporting roles were performed by equally famous performers like Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, Trevor Howard, Buster Keaton, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Rober Cabal, Charle Boyer, John Mills, Melvine Cooper and many ohers.  John Wayne turned down an offer for the role of the Colonel leading the Cavalry charge, which was later performed by Col. Tim McCoy.

The film revolves around an interesting plot wherein an English gentleman Phileas Fogg (David Niven) claims he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days somewhere in 1872. He makes a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) with several skeptical fellow members of the Reform Club, that he can arrive back within 80 days before exactly 8:45 pm. And then the fun starts. The films takes off from Paris in a helium balloon and then takes you around Spain, India, Hong Kong, San Fransisco and through the wild West before culminating in the Reform Club. 

There was another movie with the same name made in 2004, wherein a bet pits a British inventor, a Chinese thief, and a French artist on a worldwide adventure that they can circle the globe in 80 days. The story is different from the story in the book written by Jules Verne, but this movie had its own  peculiarity as filmed in other places with different adventures. Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan and Jim Broadbent were the main stars of this version of the Around the World in Eighty Days. You may watch the trailer of the film here.

Motion Picture Around the World in 80 Days: 1956 (L) - 2004 (R)
And yet again there has been an adventure of a real kind in which Kien Lam from San Francisco has ventured an 'Around the world in 6,237 photos and in 343 days.' Kien Lam captured over 6,000 photos taken from his Panasonic Lumix GF-1 camera of the 17 countries he visited and traveled in 343 days. When he returned, he joined together these thousands of beautiful photos edited in Adobe Lightroom, Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro. He then transformed the photos in a 290 seconds long time-lapse video which I shared awhile ago at Jaho Jalal and can be seen here.

While the earlier two movies were based on fiction, the short time-line video of 290 second by Lam has realism in it as it is actually been traveled and photographed, though there is not induced adventurism or drama in it. But it can be called as the most modern use of travel means and photographic gadgets and techniques to capture the place visited and traveled.

Bill And Laurel Cooper: Around the world in 36 Years - Bill and Laurel (L: 2005), Laurel  (R: 1981)
But what I am going to talk today is another real-life travel spread over some 36 years or we can say 13,140 days. This is the journey by a couple Bill and Laurel Cooper who in 1974 decided to sail to different and distant places around the glob and continue doing so till they thought it was enough of a fun. In 1974 Bill was almost 48 years and still energetic to undertake this adventure with his wife Laurel.

Their odyssey spanning  more than three decades and 100,000 miles, berthing in 45 different countries, has finally ended with the docking of their third boat at river Medway at Kent, UK. 

During thier almost lifelong sailing, they have docked at the ports of Gibraltar, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Crete, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Sicily, Sardinia, Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Canary Islands, Caribbean islands, Rhode Island, the US coast, Portugal, Cadiz, Morocco, Greek islands, Monaco, Azores, Lowestoft, Corsica, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Tunisia and Cambrai.

However unlike the fiction journey of the Jules Verne, they did not come to Asia or Australia. Their journey mostly centered around Europe and coming to Turkey at best in Asian continent. 

Summarizing their 36 years on the sea, Laurel Cooper, now 82 says:
I’m like  a cat, I can be comfortable anywhere – it’s how I have survived all this time. Bill’s a brilliant sailor. He was very much the captain and I was the mate – he would always steer and I dropped the anchor. We have had an absolutely amazing life. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.'
Read more at Mail Online about this amazing journey around almost around the world by this now elderly couple who devoted their life at sea, visiting places and destinations many have only dreamed of.