Our Interview With Jason Lewis, Explorer And Author Of The Expedition Trilogy

Jason Lewis Boat

Jason aboard Moksha on the River Thames, London. (Thames Flood Barrier in the background) Source: Kenny Brown/Expedition 360

In a world where everything seems to have been done already, Jason Lewis has pulled off something entirely unique: circumnavigating the globe using only human power. No planes, motors or metal–just mental and physical endurance, along with the help of total strangers.

Since his 13-year, 45,000-mile journey, Lewis has written a series of award-winning books documenting his travels, with the latest installment slated for release in May. Perhaps more importantly, though, he’s returned with a renewed perspective on the environment, humankind’s interaction with it and the importance of living within Earth’s biophysical limits. I recently sat down with Lewis to discuss his trip and what he’s learned.

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ATI Neighborhood Tours: Chinatown, NYC

Buddha statue in Chinatown, NYC

The Buddha statue at the Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Chinatown, NYC.

Found on the Lower East Side of Manhattan next to Little Italy, Chinatown, NYC is not for the faint of heart. As a visitor, you will be chum to the hungry frenzy of vendors eager to sell their ubiquitous wares for a quick buck. They will tug at your arm and wave at you frantically to corral you into their open-air shops, selling good luck statuettes of Chinese folk heroes side-by-side with the same twenty t-shirts they all sell.

“Good price, sunglasses, t-shirt, handbag” is a mantra repeated over and over, spoken in the same memorized monotone as the Buddhists’ chants down the street at the Mahayana Temple. The smells of asphalt, fish, hand-picked herbs, and sweet pastry cling to you in Chinatown, but nothing else sticks around for long– the speed of Chinatown is the speed of commerce, and if you’re not buying or selling, then you are in the way.

Chinatown, NYC, as filmed in 1986.

Sick Of “Smart” Phones? This Short Doc Is For You

Chinatown, NYC, as filmed in 1986.

In “Phone Life”, documentary filmmaker Ivan Cash explores the social dimensions of owning a smart phone in one of the United States’ tech capitals: San Francisco. Following two characters, a young, smart phone-obsessed girl and a tech designer who’s never owned a cellphone, Cash questions the worlds we create and deny thanks to the emergence of “smart” technology. Definitely a “first world problem”, but a problem nonetheless.

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The Opposite of Still Life: Alexa Meade

In true opposition to many great classical painters, Alexa Meade doesn’t hope to recreate reality in her paintings; she wants to paint reality (re: people) and then flatten it so it takes on an “artificial”, painted appearance. If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Basically, Meade transforms three-dimensional subjects–be they people, food or other objects–to to two-dimensional “works” through paint, and then flattens them by photographing them. And it’s absolutely fascinating.

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