Over the past few years while writing this blog, it has been my absolute pleasure to connect with some truly remarkable individuals. I have met climbers, adventurers, exceptional endurance athletes, and a host of other amazing people. Amongst those people are Mikael Strandberg, a modern day explorer who continues to work tirelessly to fill in the remaining blank spots on the map.
In 2012, Mikael, along with traveling companion Tanya Holm, traveled 350 km (217 miles) across the Sands of Al Mahra in Yemen by camel. That journey took them into the heart of the desert and through a country that has had its fair share of turmoil in recent years. The expedition was as much about exploring a little known landscape, as it was the culture of Yemen, a country that receives very little positive press from the mainstream media.
Since he returned from that adventure, Mikael has been busy working on a documentary about his Yemen project. That film is called 126 Degrees In The Shade, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at this amazing film. The 58 minute doc drops us right into the middle of the expedition, giving us a first hand look at what the Swedish explorer and his friend Tanya encountered while out in the desert.
Some of the challenges that they faced along the way included physical exhaustion, angry sheiks, logistical hurdles, and as the name implies, some insanely hot temperatures. But along the way, they also met some amazing people. The people of Yemen, who are not always what you would expect.
The film is enlightening, entertaining and a well crafted look at Mikael’s adventure. If you have an interest in modern day exploration, Middle Eastern culture, or simply want to see an alternative take on Yemen, then you won’t want to miss this film. It is a refreshing take on a part of the world that is largely misunderstood, despite some of the challenges that the Yemenis face.
The full version of the film will be released soon, and Mikael intends to enter it into some of the top film festivals. But until then, you can get a look at what it is like by checking out the trailer below. It is a bit of teaser for the full documentary, but you’ll at least have an idea of what to expect from the full release. If you get the chance, you’ll definitely want to see the final film.