Excuse me while I gush. I am in love. Completely obsessed with Voyagers Without Trace. I have been thinking about it non-stop since watching and I catch myself daydreaming, smiling and even crying when coming out of my reverie. It is beautiful. I wish I could think of a better word, but I just can't.
Bernard and Genevieve de Colmont and Antoine de Seynes
In 1938, on the brink of war in Europe, three French friends set sail to America to become the first to successfully kayak the Green and Colorado Rivers. The route begins with the team launch in Wyoming, cuts through Colorado and winds for the bulk of the trek through Utah. They bring with them wooden/canvas kayaks, tents, cameras and, of course, beer.
More than 75 years later, Ian McCluskey comes across a photo on a vague roadside marker marking and decides to go on his own expedition to find out what happened to these three explorers. His research leads him to Europe, where he discovers the French team had actually taken video footage of their journey. It is here Ian decides that in order to understand what they went through, he must make the exact same kayak trek that they had those 75 years earlier. As Ian and his team retrace the French voyagers' journey, they discover an intimacy with each-other that can only be found in the isolation of those canyon walls. As each day passes and each milestone is conquered, they become more and more profoundly connected to the lives of three brave Parisian explorers.
For me, the beauty of this story is the lives of the three French friends, Bernard and Genevieve de Colmont and Antoine de Seynes. Bernard and Antoine are best buds, they climb mountains together and ski down said mountains...but like, the extreme falling down cliffs kind of skiing you'd see in today's X-Games. Bernard and Genevieve are newlyweds, not only madly in love and also share an obsession for adventure. While watching their reel footage, I can help but feel like I'm watching scenes from a classic romance film starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. Their wild love for each other and their mutual lust for the next expedition follows them throughout their lives and the lives of their children. From the rapids of the Desolation Canyon in Utah to Nazi-occupied France, these three adventurers show no fear. Who could have known at the time that these three and their boats would play such a huge role, not only in the future of kayaking, but in the history of World War II and the liberation of France.
I would consider myself to be "outdoorsy", to an extent anyway. I love camping, hiking and I've recently become quite attached to kayaking. The first time I ever went kayaking was in Canada, right off Vancouver Island. I still can't put into words (although I have tried) the overwhelming feeling I had that day on the water. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, eagles circling above and baby seals swimming up to our boat, curious to meet new friends. No sound but the paddle hitting the water, the wind and waves. Then and every time I've been kayaking since, the closeness, the oneness I feel to nature, to God is just...unattainable in any other venue. I dream of adventure and at times, long for it. But honestly, when I think of harsh realities and discomfort of adventure, like what these explorers went through, I shy away. I want to be more brave. I want to be unafraid to experience the world in ways no one else has. I want to be like the Voyagers Without Trace. Genevieve, you are my hero.
Set in the rugged canyons of Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, Voyagers Without Trace is visually stunning. The team's vintage footage, letters and diaries are masterfully woven together with beautiful cinematography, vibrant colors and a touch of Wes Anderson-esqe wit. This film is classic romance fused with danger and adventure as both teams traverse wild rivers and rough terrain. Emotional and genuine. Romantic and exciting. I laughed. I cried. I am forever inspired.
Now I'm off to cover my walls in posters of my new heroine...Genevieve. Seriously, I love her.