For adventurer, public speaker and author Jon Turk, there is a certain ‘magic of vulnerability’ that he feels when he tackles mother nature head on.
“It’s about letting go and not being in control,” Turk said. “I think the the whole problem with humanity is that we decided that we could dominate nature. Once you let go of that, even if it could mean you’re going to die, then you put yourself in a different headspace. I think that’s a wondrous headspace to be in.”
Turk was in Golden Oct. 16 to give a presentation and tell a few of his stories of adventure, including a circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island in Canada’s arctic and a bicycle trip to the Tibetan plateau in search of the birthplace of the Dalai Lama. On his trip in the arctic, Turk, along with his partner Erik Boomer, encountered a wolf, polar bears and an ice field that delayed them for a couple of weeks. At the end of the 104 day expedition across one of the harshest environments on Earth, Turk joked to Boomer that they should go again and try and break 100. He wasn’t joking about another lap of the world’s 10th largest island for long, however, as soon after his re-arrival into civilization, his body broke down and he had to be evacuated to a hospital in Ottawa.
“What crossed my mind was how amazing it is that you can push yourself to the brink of death by sheer willpower. On some level, that was pretty cool,” he said.
The aircraft carrying Turk arrived at the hospital just in time to save his life. At the time, he claimed that he was done with adventuring, but that just couldn’t last.
“It’s in my blood,” he said.
Turk sees one big difference between his lifestyle and the lifestyle of Christopher McCandless, who died on his Alaskan adventure and was made famous by the book “Into the Wild”, along with the movie of the same name.
“I think you can go into the wilderness as an escape, or you can go into it as a positive thing. If you go in as an escape, you are kind of headed in the wrong direction, then you aren’t paying attention to what’s going on and that’s when you get in trouble.”
Turk has authored three books about his adventures, including his most recent publication “The Raven’s Gift”, which is about a trip through the Siberian wilderness, and “Cold Oceans: Adventures in Kayak, Rowboat and Dogsled”. Turk is currently working on his fourth book that is due to be published in the near future. His current tour began with his presentation in Golden and will take him to numerous other communities in B.C.