Exodus Travels has selected four explorers as the recipients of this year’s ‘Exodus Exploration Without Boundaries’ grants.
Designed to help fund projects that advance the global understanding of the social and natural world through cultural, scientific, and conservation fieldwork, the grant was developed in partnership with The Explorers Club, whose mission it is to "encourage exploration without limitations."
“We know the ability to explore and travel is a privilege, and is something that is not accessible to everyone,” says Robin Brooks, Marketing Director at Exodus Travels and Explorers Club Member. “These grants were made on the belief that explorers are extraordinary individuals who set themselves apart in the pursuit of knowledge and that these individuals can come from all backgrounds and walks of life – these four champions exude just that.”
The Exodus Exploration Without Boundaries 2022 Recipients:
Krithika Varagur & Tyler Varagur - India: If These Walls Could Talk: Documenting the Chola Dynasty’s Inscriptional Past
Varagur is an award-winning American journalist, author, and essayist. Richard is a scholar of Tamil and Sanskrit literature at Harvard University and the University of Texas at Austin. Their project traverses the disciplines of archaeology, history, and epigraphy (the study and interpretation of ancient inscriptions).
They plan to travel to India, where they have several on-the-ground research partners, to survey the Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple complex. There they will photograph, transcribe, and translate the copious medieval Tamil inscriptions from the Chola Dynasty, which ruled much of South India 1,000 years ago. Upon returning home, they plan to create an open-access database of temple inscriptions translated into both English and Modern Tamil.
Varagur and Varagur’s project aims to lay the groundwork for a larger-scale effort to preserve, digitize, and translate the Chola history contained in over 1,000 stone temples scattered across the Tamil-speaking world, for the benefit of both scholars and the general public.
Bhavita Bhatia - A Documentation & Conservation Project on the Lives of Nomadic Himalayan Horse Traders
Bhatia is a storyteller, explorer, ecofeminist, and horse conservationist, with over a decade of experience around the communities of the trans-Himalayan region in India, Bhutan, and Nepal. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Explorer’s Club, and The New Yorker.
She recently partnered with the National Geographic Society on a 5,000-kilometer foot traverse across northern India, walking back toward the world’s most isolated nomadic communities – off the edge of Mt. Kailash – home to some of the most sacred ranges of the Himalayas.
Now based out of Kathmandu, Bhatia is working to build a grassroots project to study the lives of yak nomads, horse herders, and their ponies, bringing awareness to their way of life trekking across the remote highlands of the Himalayas. The grant from Exodus will allow her to continue her research and will help fund the creation of a multimedia and conservation project designed to bring more attention and support to the lives of these horse traders on the highest passes on earth.
Felipe Proano - Peru: High Altitude Archaeology Canals of Rurec
Exodus describes Proano as one of Ecuador’s "most motivated" mountain climbers since 2003, exploring and finding new climbing routes such as the columns of Tangánand the Towers of Simiatug.
His project, Canals of Rurec, combines archaeology and advanced mountain sports to identify, count, map, and understand the purpose of the ruins found in Peru's Valley of Rurec. These ruins have been spotted by climbers in the area, however proper field research has not yet been conducted.
Proano will produce a short film including content from his exploration of the area in 2018 through his research in 2022 using tools such as aerial technology, satellite imagery, and modern climbing techniques. Felipe aims to investigate these structures to better understand their purpose and share his findings.
Yvette Gonzalez - Germany: Sky Indicators x Climate: A Noctilucent Cloud Observation Mobile App Toward Climate Monitoring
Gonzalez is an atmospheric and bioastronautics researcher, spacesuit technician, and human resiliency expert.
According to Exodus, she has over 22 years of humanitarian, disaster response, and international development experience rebuilding communities in an active war, conflict, natural disasters, and epidemiological outbreaks. Gonzalez plans to travel to Germany to collect high-quality images and videos of noctilucent clouds from one of the best locations in Europe. These clouds have been appearing more often and further south, due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane.
She will design a mobile, citizen-science application to document and track noctilucent clouds around the world. This project’s intention is to produce valuable findings on these clouds and the potential to monitor and predict climate changes in the future.
For more information on Exodus Travels, visit its web site.