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I’ve been doing extraodinarily foolish things all my life

In 1925, renowned explorer Percy Fawcett walked into the Amazon jungle with his son and his son’s best friend as his only two assistants. They were heading into uncharted regions of Brazil in search of what Fawcett called, “The Lost City of Z.” He was never heard from again. His disappearance set off a media frenzy in his day, and launched countless secondary expeditions of those who sought to discover his fate. Peter Flemming joined one such search party in 1932. He recorded this of the reactions he received from friends and acquaintances:

There were the Prudent, who said: “This is an extraordinarily foolish thing to do.” There were the Wise, who said: “This is an extraordinarily foolish thing to do; but at least you will know better next time.” There were the Very Wise, who said, “This is a foolish thing to do, but not nearly so foolish as it sounds.” There were the Romantic, who appeared to believe that if everyone did this sort of thing all the time the world’s troubles would soon be over. There were the Envious, who thanked God they were not coming; and there were the other sort, who said with varying degrees of insincerity that they would give anything to come. There were the Correct, who asked me if I knew any of the people at the Embassy. There were the Practical, who spoke at length of inoculations and calibres. There were the people whose geography was not their strong point, and who offered me either letters of introduction to their cousins in Buenos Aires or supposed that I would find a good many Aztec ruins. There were the Apprehensive, who asked me if I had made my will. There were the Men Who Had Done A Certain Amount of That Sort of Thing In Their Time, You Know, and these imparted to me elaborate stratagems for getting the better of ants and told me that monkeys made excellent eating, and so for that matter did lizards, and parrots; they all tasted rather like chicken. – Brazilian Adventure

Over a hundred men are estimated to have died in the search for those three lost souls. When I read of this, I could not help but think of the reactions people gave to me when I told them that I was moving to Hungary over a decade ago. I thought of all of my friends scattered across the globe, people who have given their lives in places like Ukraine, Romania, Peru, India, and on, and on. They have embarked on a very foolish endeavor in the search for lost souls. And I smiled in anticipation of the next foolish thing I am about to do, leading a group of teenagers to Ghana in the quest of finding more lost men and women. What better mission is there? What better way of life than, to leave ease and safety for the Prudent to enjoy? There are lost men in that jungle. Lets go find them.

PS, Thanks, Barry. I like the book.



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