Beyond Photography: The Pangaea Project As A Metaphor for Life

chasejarvis_panerai_post3 2I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the world in my relatively short life. I’ve hiked, camped, climbed, and adventured plenty on most of the continents. I’ve gone to some pretty remote places and seen some pretty remarkable stuff, but I’ve rarely been as connected to the earth as much as I’ve been in the past week. Being plucked from my daily life, the mayhem of a modern age, and then dropped into a boat with a handful of other guys on the open ocean, partly in the name of adventure and exploration, but more poignantly perhaps in the name of togetherness, and of shared, limited resources really, really hits home.

And that’s exactly Mike Horn’s goal. With the Pangaea project (a word that takes its name from the single land mass that was Earth before its continents divided) Mike Horn and his sponsor Officine Panerai seek to educate and create an experience that intimately reminds everyone that comes on board–through a highly competitive, selective process–that we are all in this together. Whether he’s hosting his youth education program with kids from every continent, or he’s hosting dignitaries and world leaders on board, Mike shrinks the world into a 105 foot boat, and everyone aboard must share and collaborate around consumption of food, water, energy–and dealing with waste–without a choice.

Mike says of himself, “I’m not a tree hugger. This is about our ability to live on this Earth and follow our own dreams, whatever they might be.” The Pangaea project is clearly more than a boat and an environmental message. In just a handful of days on board, I’ve learned that Pangaea is about creating and sharing a vision–it’s a manifestation of embracing individual creativity and expression while living amidst one another and the world. From simply “living your dreams” to pragmatically having enough space, food, water–and specifically sustainable energy–to make such living possible in the most practical terms, there is clearly work to be done. And while it’s not always easy to motivate, the results are unequivocally worth the effort.

There’s no two ways about it: in the most acute manner, the Pangaea is a magical metaphor for the world. On one hand, it’s a living, breathing reminder that we need to act sustainably around our basic human needs. On the other hand, we must do so not simply for the sake of having a cause, but rather to provide for us a place–and a framework–where we can live out our dreams.

We are often conditioned through our daily lives to dispose of our dreams as unrealistic. My experience on board Pangaea has already transcended my own documentary photography and filmmaking ambitions into a bigger theme of pure inspiration. Whether our dreams are about creating our next image or film–or deciding, like Mike has, to continually circumnavigate the world as a fearless adventurer on foot, boat, or bike–we should all be reminded that our dreams should not be tossed aside. In fact, they should be the primary things for which we live.

Based on modern life expectancy numbers we each have–on average–around 30,000 days to live. I recommend doing your own math and calculating what you’ve got left.

chasejarvis_panerai_mikehorn_post3 1

28 Responses to Beyond Photography: The Pangaea Project As A Metaphor for Life

  1. S. Allman October 6, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    Have you told Kate you’re buying a boat yet?

    • Sean October 7, 2010 at 9:51 am #

      I have 15,582 days left. I REALLY gotta get moving.

  2. Jeff October 6, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks for the post, Chase. You continue to inspire.

  3. Ben October 6, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    You can also get the iDie app for your iphone to keep track of how many days you have left on earth. Morbid but fun!

    Great post!

  4. Pangeality October 6, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Love it. Happy to read this post and to learn more about this project. The need to recognize and celebrate our interconnectedness, add the creativity and the joy with reality and documentary- beautiful.

    I named my business Pangeality in much the same spirit. The notion of one love and the original continental landmass that connected us, yet the vastly different daily experiences we have on planet earth.

    Keep up the great work.

  5. Mark D. October 6, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Beautifully written. Thanks.

  6. Serf October 6, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Thanks Chase,

    Have been enjoying following your and Jerard’s adventures on Pangaea. Hearing your experiences and knowing that you already are a huge inspirational force for following life’s passions and capturing these experiences through the lens’s of life; It is exciting to see that even from your perspective there are new levels of life’s wonderful blessing that all of us should seek out and fight passionately to incorporate into our own lives. may these experiences “sail and sail” with you long after the Pangaea has dropped you off on the main land.

    – Serf

  7. Leoraul Torres October 6, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Artistically speaking, anyone looking to follow their dreams need a reality check mechanism. Sometimes diving in can cause pain onto yourself and onto the lives around you that love you and depend on you.

    Technically speaking, I want the D7000 very bad.

    In between, that’s where I am found.

  8. G Allard October 6, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    So many things I relate to with this assignment — the sailing, the stripped down gear, the skeleton crew. Not long ago I was crew on a boat delivery from Puget Sound to Los Angeles. A 68′ boat, crew of 3, each doing 4 hour shifts around the clock. Eight full days at sea, no stops — Everything from gut-churning 16′ swell to placid sunsets and jumping dolphin. Unforgettable, life-changing and absolutely worth every minute. Enjoy, my friend. You will be changed.

  9. Cursi October 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I can’t tell how much this makes me realize that we definitely need to put our dreams in front of us and don’t let them stay behind because of all the thousand reasons we encounter in our daily lives. We only have one life to live, the time to make your dreams come true is now, and now never comes back!

  10. Sailor October 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Chase, I’ve got one serious questions. The text above is really well written as many of the other posts you’ve got here. Are you the one who writes them from start to finish? Honestly, I sense Kate has something to do with it.


  11. JerseyStyle Photography October 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Where I come to be captivated by photography, have knowledge dropped on me in a creative way, and admired skilled storytelling – visually and textually.

  12. Jon October 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    Very nice reflexions, I remember a poem that says:

    If dreams came true
    I’d wish you gladness
    and all yor days
    be free of sadness
    and as the days go by
    your whole live through
    I’d give the world
    if dreams came true.

    Van Pallandt 1960, also a sailor

  13. Sam October 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    did anyone else notice the fact that that Panerai watch is huge?

  14. a.ruiz October 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    we ushualy dont figure things untill we are in touch with nature lately i have been trying to do the same here in Puerto Rico, there is nothing greater than to explore places that take your breath away.

  15. Mark Y October 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    That’s kinda the point though, right? I mean – how many of us really know how many days we have left? It might be 15,000, or 15….or 1. How do you gauge “mid life” if you don’t know when your life will end? Maybe midlife for me was 23….

  16. Rosalind October 7, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    Lovely shot as are all your shots, Mike and team are fortunate to be sponsored by a luxury goods manufacturer wanting to inspire those with disposable income to buy their product by dangling a ‘lifestyle’ dream in front of them.

    Call me a cynic but it’s all fundamentally all about marketing and capitalism, ultimately how many watches Panerai sell. You might be seeing the shallowness of the consumerism in our world during your trip but, but, but the fact that the trip is funded by it, somehow makes it incongruous. For me at least!

    • Tim McGuire October 11, 2010 at 10:09 am #


      I must agree with you. I’m a commercial photographer and I often consider the contradictions between my wishes to be sustainable and for the world to become sustainable and those companies that hire me, the resources they and I use to create imagery for the express purpose of selling more and using more resources. The whole idea is often times unsustainable in it’s goals.

      I am envious of Chase and his lifestyle and opportunities to see and experience different places and people and at the same time I see the contradictions in it and myself at the same time. To me it always seems to come back to too many people on this Earth. As a species we are unsustainable. I’d love to hear what Chase thinks about these issues as well as Mike Horn. If everyone did what Mike is doing and used the resources he has used in his life we’d all be extinct I’d guess (same for me and most first world people). It’s a conundrum for sure with this modern society and technology that enables us to do all the stuff we do.

      Philosopher, Immanuel Kant wrote on ethics, “Act only according that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law”. I use this often in my life as a measure of ethical behavior, my own and others.

      To me that means act only in ways that if everyone acted that same way or did those things you’re doing it would make the world a better place. A tall order indeed for any commercial image maker!

      Tim McGuire

  17. aepoc October 7, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    Strictly speaking on the photos… that last one is absolutely incredible. Wow.

  18. Jason D. Smith October 7, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    Very inspiring Chase. One of these days [right?!] we’ll wake up and understand that we are wasting our lives by doing the “corporate” thing and understand that there’s much more to life and much more play time if we just “set the bricks down”! Thanks again for an inspiring post!

  19. Donnie Bell Design October 7, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    A deep post. I can’t imagine someone leaving this experience behind and not being changed by it in some way.

  20. Ulrich Schuster October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Hey Chase,

    happy for you to have such a great opportunity … a German Photographer happened to have quite a similar assignment with IWC another watch manufactur company … give the vid a sneak peak …

    greets from Germany or how did you say it in your Photokina vid ;-)

  21. Mykal Hall October 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    “Whether our dreams are about creating our next image or film–or deciding, like Mike has, to continually circumnavigate the world as a fearless adventurer on foot, boat, or bike–we should all be reminded that our dreams should not be tossed aside. In fact, they should be the primary things for which we live.”

    This is the MONEY SHOT!!!! Thank you Chase, I think you have had a life turning point and will be eagerley waitng for the next blog.

  22. Aleksander Buchardt Larsen October 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Chase, these are some good posts!
    I’m really diggin reading through this… I have one question though – just out of curiosity: why did you give the last picture so much red?

  23. Jesus Hidalgo October 15, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Thank you Chase for showing us that it’s OK to live by our dreams, and that dreams may come true. Sometimes the trees in front us don’t let us see the forest.
    Thanks for such an inspiring blog/adventure-writing.

  24. soccershoesjerseys November 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

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