World's Most Dangerous Places
photo copyright © Robert Young Pelton

What do you think about adventure racing and the boom in "outdoor/adventure" markets?

Adventure racing is just masturbation in spandex. I had to cross the advancing Russian army in Chechnya while they were shooting flares and rockets at us. Now that is adventure racing! Adventure racing is just a promotional activity that lets people wear funny clothing and advertise strangers' logos. It does nothing for the country, the people or the concept of western yuppism. It would be nice to see all these affluent, healthy westerners use all those calories to dig a well or build a school!

After all these years, do you think you have made a difference somehow?
It remains to be seen. I get letters from people who thank me for changing their lives. So maybe yes, maybe no.

Many times one is often very close to danger and has no idea. Is ignorance the root of adventure?
In some cases yes, there is nothing duller than a well-planned adventure!

Having witnessed many horrors in war zones, and seeing
atrocities and victims of violence, is it possible to remain impartial?
No. I understand the reason why people fight wars I don't like the fact that civilians are on the front lines. I watched the Russians kill their own people in Grozny as they bombed apartments and hospitals and wondered why we still let this go on.

How do your daughters deal with their father's choice of work?
They are embarrassed because all their boyfriends want to meet me. But we also enjoy each other's company very much. They are very cool girls. Someday they will do great things.


Rapid Fire:

Ideal soundtrack for a Dangerous Place: Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode remixes.
Favorite souvenir from a DP: shell casings and the things people press into my hands.
Unforgettable photo you didn't take: My young Ugandan waitress staring at me with her shin bones sticking through her legs.
Worst hangover ever: Chicago...I forgot the bars closed later than 1pm.

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