An investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker, and television host, David Adams has retraced the voyages of Jason and the Argonauts, hunted for the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia, sought the Disk of the Sun in Peru and followed the last footsteps of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Bolivia for his 13 part Discovery Network series “Journeys to the Ends of the Earth.”

Image: David Adams Films

I CAUGHT UP with David as he gears up to release his new project “Oxus: Riddles of an Ancient River” a expedition into Afghanistan to probe the mysteries of the fabled Oxus river and the evidence of cataclysmic climate change in ages past.

Myself, MatadorTV intern Eric Warren and community member Dustin Johnson asked various questions.

But first, some facts on David Adams:

*First trip abroad: 9 year old – PNG – Sepik River, Mt Hagan, Lae, Goroka Port Morsby
*Favorite books: Kim – Rudyard Kipling / Eastern Approaches – Fitzroy McLean
*Most memorable destination: The Wakhan, Afghanistan
*Last song listened to: Burn Your Name – Powderfinger
*Favorite historical period: Bronze Age
*Heros: Plato, Mandella, Zheng He, Jim Corbet, Richard Burton (not the actor) and of course Ghandi

Dustin Johnson: How do you acquire all of the background information on the areas you visit? Books, local people, archives, internet, magazines? Do you research while on your adventures?

DA : I tend to be drawn to places that I have studied or are intrigued by and then research as deeply as possible before I travel.

In all of the places you have been, where are the Western perceptions of a people the most contrary to the reality of those people?

Afghanistan, the Islamic world in general, the perception of the 3rd world; its direction, needs and what it requires from the West!

Eric Warren: History and mythology seem to be a major inspiration on your travel video work. What was the inspiration on your first real travel destination, and how did that evolve into what you’re doing now?

I traveled to PNG with my parents when I was 9 (1973) and became aware of a very different world, largely enlightened by my parents, their passion and their delight in educating me about a the ancient / alternative world which they respected deeply.

When you’ve been traveling in the footsteps of some historical figure or event, what was a discovery you’ve made that really surprised you?

TS Elliot can best answer this ..

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river …

Adams sails by dhow from Lamu to Zanzibar, stopping off on the beaches on East Africa to haggle and barter for his sea passage. Sinbad lives again!

Joshywashington: What kind of a crew do you operate with?

Generally up to five, over the last 3 years in Afghanistan just a camera man and myself as more than one vehicle poses problems.

Does your crew also have to be good traveling partners and are they as adventurous as you?

DA : The most important thing is to be able to get on well, exchange creatively and laugh a lot. Greg Nelson is the Director of Photography I have worked with for the last 5 years and he is far less fazed about goings on than I will ever be!

What journey is at the top of your bucket list?

DA : Searching for, discovering, preserving and expanding the last fragments of ‘wildness’!

Community Connection

Look for the debut of “Oxus: Riddles of an Ancient River” in a few short months and in the meanwhile keep up with Adams and his crew at MatadorTV.