Year 12 Forum: Travel Adventures from Journalist Simon Parker

Travel journalist, author and passionate globetrotter Simon Parker gave an inspiring talk about his adventures to a captivated Year 12 audience at the latest in the Forum series.

Mr Parker told the students how he discovered his wanderlust at a young age, spending much of his school life poring over pages of the National Geographic and dreaming of exploring the world. By the time of graduation and joining the BBC as an intern, he was forging a career in journalism that allowed him to realise this ambition. His goal of visiting every single country on the planet is now on the way to be being achieved, with over half already ticked off.

With tales of adventure, from broadcasting in -45C arctic winds and cycling across the US to the view from the top of the Andes and a perilous boat journey across the Pacific ocean’s Mariana trench, Mr Parker inspired the Sixth Formers to dig deep to discover what excites them and to pursue those dreams tenaciously. The audience was taken on a tour of some of those places most special places to him and treated to clips from recordings he has made for the BBC and Sky among other broadcasters.

Illustrated with excerpts of films made from the northern-most point of the UK in the Shetland islands to the plains of Namibia, Mr Parker spoke particularly about the integration of humans within the natural world and the symbiosis between animals and humans. One such example highlighted was the endangered pangolin in Mozambique, a gentle animal who is key to maintaining the ecosystem but hunted relentlessly for use in ‘traditional’ medicine, and who is now finally enjoying some protection.

The Q&A that followed the talk prompted many questions from the audience who quizzed the speaker on his favourite interviewees, where will his next adventure take him, what were the most remote or scenic places he’s visited, and an appropriately gruesome request for details of the most dangerous situations he’s been in.

The Colfe’s Year 12 Forum is a series of weekly talks given by external speakers, aimed at raising discussion and debate between our students and inspiring them to question their own philosophies and their beliefs in the world around them.

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