We just saw Tim Cope onstage accepting the Grand Prize in the 2013 Banff Mountain Book Competition for his book On the Trail of Genghis Khan, part of which he wrote during a Paul D. Fleck Fellowship here in our Leighton Artists’ Colony. Tim is an Australian adventurer who spent three and a half years travelling 10,000 km on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary to discover the modern-day spirit of nomadic people. In between prizes and presentations, I talked to him about isolation, creativity and the long process of writing a book.
Did you know you were going to write a book and make a film before you embarked on this trip?
No I didn’t, I was actually offered a book contract before I left Australia, but I said no…I wanted the adventure to be authentic. I didn’t want any deadlines or pressure hanging over my head. To me that would have eroded the authenticity of the trip as a true journey because with any journey, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
To me, writing and filming are inseparable from the journey itself. Part of the core value of any trip is to record and share and document. The actual process of writing is a learning journey in itself. For me I couldn’t do a trip without writing.