62. Norwegian Explorer Erling Kagge; The Two Poles, Everest, Polar Bear Attacks and Life’s Long Walks - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 62
April 4 , 2019

62. Norwegian Explorer Erling Kagge; The Two Poles, Everest, Polar Bear Attacks and Life’s Long Walks

A life-changing solitary walk to the South Pole led to Erling Kagge writing best-selling book Silence; in the Age of Noise and the Norwegian explorer has a new book out about how walking can change and indeed save your life. He was the first person in history to reach ‘the three poles’, he’s explored New York’s sewers – sleeping in tunnels and meeting wonderful characters who lived there, he’s been attacked by a polar bear and won and confounded even the scientologists who thought he was crazy. With philosophies about life, happiness and how walking is almost a time machine to really get you thinking. 


On this episode we cover:


How growing up in Oslo

Norway inspiring his love of the outdoors

His father believing cars and TV were societal diseases

All of us being born explorers

Kids wanting to climb before they can walk

Wondering what’s beyond the horizon

Being the first ever person to reach ‘the three poles’: The North Pole, The South Pole and Everest

Kids exploring the world with devices

Never losing the explores spirit

The human urge to explore

How we shouldn’t waste our opportunity to have a rich life

His expeditions

Walking to the South Pole in total solitude for 56 days

The importance of silence

How silence can be a good friend

How silence can also be brutal

Humans needing more silence within

The physical challenges of reaching the South Pole

The incredible mental challenges of reaching the South Pole

Even a mouse can eat an elephant

Taking one step at a time to reach the South Pole

The life-changing solitary expedition

Being ‘almost born skiing and walking’

Feeling that you become part of nature

Starting to have a dialogue with the environment

Not needing to go to the South Pole

His books on silence and walking

How sadness and loneliness come from having lost touch with nature

How relating to man-made environments and phones is making people unhappy

How the snow and ice takes on beautiful hues and nuances

Learning to appreciate small helpings of beauty

Antarctica’s blue summer skies

Antarctica is a continent circumnavigated by oceans

And the Arctic is an ocean circumnavigated by continents

Where the names for the Arctic and Antarctic come from (bears!)

Penguins and birdlife of Antarctica

Antarctica being the world’s greatest desert, drier than the Sahara and with more sun than California

City life and London life being ‘not normal at all’

How humans adapt to circumstances

His new book Walking: One Step at a Time

His previous book Silence: in the Age of Noise

How walking can improve health and make you live longer

How walking helps you to get to know yourself

Walking being the greatest means of exploration

Lisa’s urban walks (and friends thinking she’s mad)

How walking beats driving every time (except maybe for speed)

Time passing so much faster inside a car

Time not being as linear as people think it is

How walking is like creating a time machine

How we all spend too much time on screens

How the average Brit could spend 90,000 hours watching TV

Making time to read

How walking makes us more curious about other people

His expedition to the North Pole being the toughest

Trekking in minus 58 degrees Centigrade

The shocking attack of a polar bear

Killing a polar bear at close distance

The fear he felt afterwards

Being one to one with something that wants to eat you

Whether there’s a flag at the poles

The American base at the South Pole

The emptiness after an expedition

Life being so fantastic with so many things to do

The people who live at the South Pole base

Taking rocks for granted

Carrying 98 rocks to the South Pole

Climbing Everest

Being in a rush to complete the ‘third pole’

Finding climbing Everest ‘tough’

How dying in the mountains means you stay young looking

Young mountaineer Mollie Hughes (former Big Travel Podcast guest)

Being too tired to worry about the dead people

The exhilaration of getting to the summit

The incredible view of the Himalayas

How the British called Everest the third pole because we failed to get to the North and South Poles first

Sailing across the Atlantic and down to Antarctica

Steve Duncan American urban explorer

Criss-crossing New York through subterranean tunnels in the sewers and tunnels

The beauty of the New York sewers

The people he met living in the tunnels

A girl called Brooklyn who’d lived there for 28 years

How Brooklyn was happy with what she’d got

The ‘happiness industry’ because humans are hard to satisfy

A walking expedition of Los Angeles

Lisa being checked for walking in LA

Prostitutes, junkies and walkers

Deeply fascinating to see the city from a different angle

Visiting the Church of Scientology on Sunset Boulevard

The scientologists thinking they were crazy (but salvageable!)

How LA is about ‘moving up’

‘Wonder being the very engine of life’

How there really ain’t no mountain high enough

How we all need to keep striving for our goals

Life being a long walk