The Age of Exploration

 

The Age of Exploration

Today, the 27th of January, marks many various landmarks in recent history. The birth of television in 1926, the end of the siege of Leningrad, the end of the Vietnam War and my wife’s birthday. I would like you to cast your minds back to two events just before my wife’s birth date, namely the tragedy of Apollo 1 and more optimistically the signing of the Outer Space Treaty, both in 1967. This was the age of extreme exploration and as a result excitement. It was an age in which – perhaps I am viewing it through the nostalgic perspective of history – we embraced uncertainty.

The spirit of this age was poignantly brought home to me when I recently watched the excellent documentary film ‘Deep Water’ – do so before the Colin Firth feature film comes out. I was struck not so much by either the hubris, naivety or desolation of one man, but more by the fact that fifty years ago you could sail the planet and no one would know where you were. I caught a small taste of this frisson as a young traveller: being out of touch too long for maternal comfort yet being able to enjoy the joys of reaching a destination where I could pick up poste restante letters.

I, like many of you (and certainly my teenage girls), am a slave to my phone. How refreshing is it when we leave them (the phones, not necessarily the children) behind and truly explore. As I said in a recent talk, “Don’t be driven by what scares you. Be driven by what inspires you. Embrace uncertainty. Be a Collector of Worlds.”