Royal Robbins ambassador Gerry Moffatt recently completed his Roof of the World film expedition after 108 days and 4,000 miles, in which he overlanded the entire length of the Himalayas on motorcycle, foot and kayak. From the high plateaus of Ladakh, across Nepal, to Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon – it was truly an old fashioned adventure. Below is a recounting of the expedition in his own words…
Adventures are life-affirming experiences, each unique and separate, and not to be grouped into the sum total of daily life. Solo kayaking 180 miles of whitewater on the remote Tsarap Chu and Zanskar rivers, in the midst of one of the most severe storms to hit the region in 50 years, is an experience that deserves to live on its own in the adventurer’s memory. As does motorcycling 17,000-foot Himalayan passes, wandering around the abandoned, jungle-covered Beatles ashram in Rishikesh, trekking the Annapurnas during their worst avalanche disaster, interviewing inspirational social entrepreneurs in Nepal, and understanding the truth behind Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness. Nothing written, or filmed, can ever completely capture the whole experience. It must be lived.
Alone for countless miles under the stars, sleeping on the banks of a mighty Himalayan river – I remembered that the comfort of a campfire and warm sleeping bag can’t be underestimated. I recognized how much traveling, exploring, and getting away from the familiar helps us make better sense of our lives. I felt grateful and alive.
My journey only proved to me how connected we all are on this planet. Despite outward appearances – and whether someone lives in Leh, Rishikesh, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Paro, Punakha, Delhi or Sun Valley, Idaho – I was shown time and again how common our desires are as humans. How common are our passions, dreams, hopes, and happiness. And how equally common are our shortcomings – our fears, greed, thoughtlessness, selfishness and ignorance. It helped me to understand that our challenges are indeed global, and that our solutions must also be global.
I’ve enjoyed 32 years of working and living in the Himalayas as an expedition leader and guide, but now – at the age of 50 – I feel acutely aware of my responsibility to protect the resources I’ve used and help change things for the better. In the end, Roof of the World is a story about change, reflection, and finding the inspiration to create meaning in what we do.
Though the dust is still settling, we are well into logging and editing our film footage now. If all goes well, in another 5 to 6 months we’ll have a beautiful film and story to share with the world.
We are deeply thankful to our friends at Royal Robbins – our expedition sponsor – for their support on this unforgettable adventure, living their mission and helping me to truly Go Everywhere.