I had the great pleasure of interviewing Adam Davies on two occasions while co-hosting the old Internet radio show The Paranomalists, which some of you who are reading this may remember. It was one of those rare times that I’d actually read our guest’s book in its entirety before the interview, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Adam was, without question, my favorite guest of all the many wonderful authors and researchers with whom we had the privilege of speaking. Perhaps because Adam is a genial, good-humored guy like myself who works a 9-5 job during the day and enjoys a few pints at the pub a couple of nights a weeks, I felt I could relate to him on a level that I didn’t always with some of our other guests, as much as I may have enjoyed speaking with them.
However, the similarities between us end there. While I retreat to the safety and comfort of my home office to simply write about those things which I find interesting, Mr. Davies, when he is not working at his job in his native England, devotes himself to the search for the mystery animals of this world. This passion for the discovery of undiscovered species, or cryptids, has led him to such far-flung places as the Congolese jungles in pursuit of the legendary mokele-mbembe (a sauropod-type dinosaur reported to be seen in the swamps and rivers of the area) to Sumatra — on several occasions — in search of the orang pendek, an upright-walking ape or hominid that has been seen in the area numerous times by the native inhabitants of the jungle.
Adam has also been to Mongolia in search of the legendary “death worm”, Loch Ness (a much shorter trip, at least, from his home in Manchester), and to Lake Seljord in Norway in search of the Seljord Serpent, an aquatic beast that reportedly inhabits that lake. Since the writing of Extreme Expeditions he’s been on several other journeys, including Russia, in search of the apelike Almas; the Himalayas in search of the elusive Yeti; and again most recently to Sumatra, where he has gathered his most compelling data yet for the confirmation of the existence of the orang pendek. I should mention that all of these expeditions have been made at his own personal time and expense, and frequently (usually) involve quite a bit of risk of personal injury. In fact, Adam was recently hospitalized for a severe case of dysentery that he contracted on his Sumatran expedition.
Besides being enormously entertaining and frequently riotously funny, Extreme Expeditions is, I felt, a very moving account of a man that is motivated by both a fascination for these creatures and a deep concern for their safety and preservation. I came away from reading Adam’s book with true respect for the his sense of purpose and sheer determination. The logistics alone involved in traveling to and through an area like the Congolese jungles or the Mongolian desert would be enough to stop me in my tracks. Once there, however, Adam and his crew have faced all manner of danger and hardship. It’s a rare opportunity and privilege to meet someone who consistently puts himself in harm’s way to pursue his passion, and I finished Extreme Expeditions with a true admiration for Adam Davies.
Regardless of whether you have a belief or interest in the mysterious and legendary creatures of the world, Adam Davies’ Extreme Expeditions is simply a wonderfully entertaining travel diary that can be easily enjoyed by all audiences (over 18! — it’s somewhat explicit in parts). Extreme Expeditions is published by Anomalist Books and can be ordered through their website.