Wild Love, a romantic documentary


At the heart of any great adventure story are the passionate souls who risk life and limb in pursuit of their dreams. Today modern explorers seem compelled to put themselves under dicy circumstances just to see what’s over the next horizon. But have you ever wondered what inspires them to return home? The new web series Wild Love gives audiences an intimate view into the lives of leading adventure athletes and the relationships that bring greater meaning to an otherwise solitary existences. Having premiered three episodes at the 5Point and Mountainfilm Festivals this romantic-documentary starts a run this week online at National Geographic Adventure.

Filmmaker Andy Maser said this series of short films was born out of personal experience.

“I live a pretty crazy life—not infrequently putting myself in relatively dangerous situations,” he wrote in an email exchange. “Those experiences affect me and they affect those who care about me.”
A series of dangerous projects for National Geographic, including big expeditions to the Amazon and Congo, sparked a conversation between Maser and his loved ones. They wanted to know what it’s like emotionally, for both the adventurer and those closest to them. Whether that’s a lover, a parent or a group of friends the filmmakers wanted to explore some of the motivation that makes someone put themselves in harm’s way and what motivates those who love them to support them through it all.

“We felt like these were questions that lots of people in our community were asking themselves but not really talking about,” Maser wrote. “With Wild Love, we hoped to spark that conversation.”

The discussion begins with Wende Valentine and her husband professional mountaineer Jake Norton. A working mom with two kids Valentine struggles through long separations. As if the challenge of parenting weren’t hard enough she also has to deal with worry over Norton’s safety as he climbs some of the highest peaks in the world. In another episode Amee Hinkley stands by her climber boyfriend Renan Ozturk after he’s severely injured in a devastating skiing accident. She faces tough emotions as he recovers only to head out again to ascend the unclimbed the Meru Shark’s Fin, a 20,000-foot summit in the Himalaya.

Through these and other stories Maser wants the the outdoor community to ask questions about critical issues that people regularly deal with and think about but rarely explore together.

“Outside of the outdoor community, we hope that these stories will help make adventurers more relatable and show that we’re not just thoughtless thrill-seekers,” Maser wrote. “We have many of the same dreams and fears and experience many of the same joys and hardships.”

Upcoming episodes of the series will include the story of climbing personality Timmy O’Neill and his girlfriend Amanda Salzman. Plus we’ll learn about the strength and balance ultra distance runner Krissy Moehl receives through her many friendships within her hometown community. Not limited to the dynamics of romance Wild Love demonstrates that passion in adventure comes in all forms.

The Joy Trip Project is made possible with the support sponsors Patagonia, Rayovac and the New Belgium Brewing Company

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.