First of all, I know that our trip was a risky experiment and in some way egoistic.
However, if you have a difficult aim, you just must not think so much about the
risks involved and about failing. A mountain climber also must not think about what
might happen if he makes a wrong step and falls down. He has to concentrate his
thoughts on how he can achieve his aim, otherwise he has already lost before
starting. Adventures don't happen if you're too afraid.
It does nevertheless take a good deal of courage and determination to work your way up a glaciated mountain, but the idea that there is no safety net or that the climbers do not think what will happen if things go bad is very misleading. It is perhaps the single most pressing topic of thought for any mountaineer.
In the same way that nauseating conversation can disrupt a meal, I've had a few of my attempts at technical bouldering problems disrupted by friends conversing nearby about climbing injuries. In one case, hearing talk about dislocated shoulders and elbow injuries while I was working on a problem involving odd shoulder and elbow orientation made progress very difficult.
I feel that the danger of doing this trip was probably miss represented, overwhelmingly the experience of people who undertake huge journeys tends to be that the majority of people the world over are kind and generous. This is often truest of people who have the least.
Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.
I don't disagree that maybe that's the type of person the traveler is, but I don't think mountain climbing is an apt analogy. Danger is always being assessed and never being ignored.
It’s unlikely that you actually know anyone or are related to anyone working in agriculture in Germany (only two percent of the labor force are working in agriculture compared to 36 percent in North Korea) but I don’t think that the area used by agriculture has gone down in Germany. We still need all that food, it’s just that we have become super-efficent when it comes to farming it. Very few people can today farm huge swaths of land when they have the right infrastructure.
Nice to see it show up on the front page.
But, the French speaker was especially surprising, and I would have expected more Chinese influence than there seemed to be (linguistically).