HTSI editor’s letter: gone fishing...
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Years ago, in Cork, Ireland, I worked with a man called Jack Power. In an exceptional piece of nominative determinism, Jack Power was indeed a giant of a personality. He had forearms as thick as hams, a head the size of a football and a temper that could singe your hair off. A massive, hulking myth of a man, he was surprisingly patient, regularly offering gruff advice on the basics of journalism and art direction.
Come springtime, however, he would start to fidget. As the days grew slowly warmer, his gaze would wander to the windows, and he would become distracted and more distant. Then finally, something would snap. Walking to his desk one May morning, we would be greeted by a Post-it – “gone fishing” – stuck to his computer.
This being the early 2000s, this being Ireland and it being a paper that indulged the ebbs and flows of its community, Jack’s absences were treated with a benign shrug and the certain knowledge that he would one day return, his face a deep nut colour untroubled by SPF protection. For those raised near Cork’s rivers and fishing holes, the salmon season is regarded with a near-religious fervour: the fishing is considered among the world’s finest and most exclusive. And so it was that every year, a dedicated tribe would crack open the Post-its and take a leave of absence – “gone fishing” to their secret eddies and restorative streams.
I was reminded of Jack when reading David Coggins’s account of his fly-fishing trip in Montana. His description of what propels the desire to catch trout on these waters recalls the same deep physical need I once observed in Jack. It’s a passion – and patience – I’ve always slightly envied. It also introduces the theme of this week’s issue, “Escape”, in which we have focused on trips that signify something more profound than simply travel. This week’s stories examine those adventures that fill the soul.
When Lotta Klemming lost her way while working in the fashion industry, she refound her equilibrium swimming in the Swedish sea. She is now Sweden’s only professional female oyster diver, based in Grebbestad on the west coast. As part of her determination to raise awareness around sea farming, today she takes people out on coastal safaris where she teaches them about the business and culture of oyster fishing and cooks and camps with guests. Often, she finds, the excursions must navigate unexpected personal subjects. “There’s been a lot of emotions around the campfire,” she tells Victor Johansson. “Things come to the surface.” She makes a compelling case for oysters as a delicacy, a livelihood and an unlikely cathartic aid.
No one needs persuading of the cathartic lure of a two-wheeled adventure. In “Moto Heaven”, Simon de Burton sets out across Tuscany on a 1974 Moto Guzzi 750S for an expedition that fellow motorbike enthusiasts must dream of. Meanwhile in “Austral Weeks”, Igor Ramírez García-Peralta pedals past subtropical forests, grasslands, glaciers, lakes and arid landscapes in Chilean Patagonia, on a trip that proves to be as transcendent as it is tiring. For those less “adventure”-minded, however, we head to Hydra with our cover star, the model and actress Małgosia Bela. Because what could be more invigorating or restorative than plunging into the Aegean Sea?
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