George Vlad travels to and explores wild and remote places to capture soundscapes. Doing his best to avoid man-made sounds to grasp the purest of sound, his expeditions have led him all over the world from glaciers to volcanoes – providing him with an inspiring and positive view of adventure and conservation along the way.
In this episode, we discuss unique encounters with wildlife, recording poachers and illegal mining, the importance of positivity, expeditions to capture sound, pairing sound capture with expeditions, escaping burnout of 100 hours per week to the Romanian mountains, capturing sound from glaciers to rainforests to volcanoes, and so much more! This one is a must listen.
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Taking A Different Angle Towards Expeditions
Something that becomes instantly apparent in the interview with George is the philosophical depth he brings to adventure by simply shifting the view from sight to sound.
Many of us will already spend our adventures listening to sound, whether that be wildlife in the Americas to the beginning of a wind gust across the mountain near you.
But, George switches from passive efforts to an active effort to hear the sound around him. For him, one of the biggest challenges he faces on his expeditions is trying to escape man made sound so as to capture a true and whole soundscape; recording pristine nature.
Even in the most remote areas, George has still unexpectedly encountered man-made sound, and in fascinating ways. In the depths of Peru, he speaks of illegal mining and usage of the river under cover of night interrupting attempts to capture nature in its purest and in Borneo of hearing poachers shooting.
Encountering Wildlife in a New Way
On this note, within the first ten minutes George talks of how he has had unique interactions through setting up microphones and leaving them for a day. From baboons breaking his kit to search for food to a family of inquisitive elephants – the latter of which he also had a camera trap set up and managed to get footage of them checking out his equipment.
More simply than this though, George has taken a liking towards bird calls in the wild and identifies the different species on both local walks and expeditions. A simple switch from passive to active listening, and his entire outdoors experienced is enhanced tenfold.
The Lesson of Positivity
Having heard George speaking about matching your mindset to reality, I wanted to explore this further with him. Asking about the importance of positivity, he – naturally – agreed on it. Of all the people I have been fortunate enough to interview on this podcast, George nails this question the most.
There really is nothing you can do about reality, the only thing you can change is your perspective. Diving straight into the examples, George tells us about his fixer on a particular expedition who was just borderline bi-polar; one day he’d be upbeat and be there, the next he wouldn’t show up. Did this stop the expedition? No. Adapting to the situation and taking a lesson in unconditional acceptance they continued on and, eventually, the fixer began joining them too more reliably due to the positive and unstoppable approach.
More to the point, George talks about a friend who would literally shift his perspective to make the most out of a situation. If something was going wrong or he had hurt himself, he would say “I’m really enjoying this, this is so good!”. It really is a way to break down those barriers, remove anything between you and the environment, and experience the immersion.
Sitting and chatting with George was truly inspirational. Hearing all about a different approach to expeditions, his fascinating experiences with wildlife, insightful view on positivity, and cool approach to challenges has only grown the fire in me to explore, and I hope it does for you all too.
You can follow his adventures or even join George by checking out his website here, listen to his work and soundscapes on YouTube here, or to keep up to date with his photography you can do so here. Plus Twitter and Soundcloud.
Lastly, I mention in the podcast two other shows George has featured on which explore the technical aspect more. They are here, both are great:
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