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Asylum: Majd's Perilous Journey
Beirut
By Transterra Editor
19 Jun 2015

When we talk about the problems that face the world, we often discuss them in magnitude and numbers. We speak of millions displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, and many wounded.

However, what is often lost below the melee of statistics and news headlines are the stories of the individuals who endure these tragedies. Their personal experiences are what humanize all of the numbers and talking heads.

22-year-old Majd Bayoush was driven out of his hometown of Kafranbel, Syria by war. Desperate to start a new life abroad, he was smuggled to Europe via a long and dangerous underground railway.

He first travelled overland to Turkey, and then took a dangerously overloaded inflatable boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. Once in Greece, he was registered with the Greek authorities and held in a migrant detention center.

After his release from the migrant detention center he began a perilous and exhausting overland journey from Greece to Germany. He trudged on foot over mountains and through forests in the bitter European cold.

Despite his tribulations, Majd was one of the lucky ones. He reached his destination of Hamburg…alive.

Majd’s story is just one of millions of stories about migrants risking their lives over sea and land to have a chance at a better life.

June 20th marks World Refugee Day. The commemoration is an opportunity to pause and consider that, with 50 million displaced people worldwide, today's refugee crisis is the biggest since World War 2.

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Inside Volcano: A Journey in the Cent...
Reykjavik
By Steven Wassenaar
31 Jul 2014

Iceland: a journey in the center of the Earth

A journey to the centre of the Earth

Who has ever dreamt of exploring the centre of the Earth? In Iceland, this dream

came true. For two years, a team of mountain-climbers and engineers has

designed an open cable lift, which goes down inside volcano 130 meters deep.

Located an hour’s drive from the capital Reykjavik, the Thrihnukagigur is the only

dormant volcano in the world which has an old magma chamber, an

underground pool where the lava used to gush during eruptions (the last known

eruption took place 4,000 years ago), that can be visited. Discovered in 1991 by

the Icelandic spelunker Arni Stefansson, the ground space is equivalent to

almost three full-size basketball courts. The height is such that it would be easily

fit a 40-storey building. When Arni went to the bottom of the volcano for the first

time with a cheap rope and a motorcycle helmet, he never imagined finding such

a treasure, “No one had ever seen a place like this before. The magma chamber

is often referred to as the heart of a volcano. It’s there that the liquid rock waits to

find a way through the surface, causing a volcanic eruption. This volcano is a

rare exception because the magma seems to have disappeared.” Inside the lift,

secured by two cables tied up to the crater, the alighting starts. It is not suitable

for those who suffer from vertigo. After seven minutes, we begin the exploration

inside the bowels of the Earth. We are alone inside the world in a science fiction

setting. On the walls, sculpted by the lava, the yellow, black and red colors look

like Hell. Inside the Thrihnukagigur, the molten rock could reach temperatures

over 1000 degrees. The temperature is now more clement (8 degrees all year

long) but there is neither fauna nor flora, just a mineral chaos with basaltic rocks.

“During the last eruption, we assume that there was a huge landslide that

recovered the chamber and pulled the magma deep in the Earth”, Arni says. Has

the Thrihnukagigur revealed all its secrets? Most probably not. After an hour

visiting the volcano, it’s time to rise to the surface and dream that one day we

can go down deeper.

Islande : un voyage au centre de la Terre

Qui n’a jamais rêvé d’explorer le centre de la Terre ? En Islande, ce rêve est devenu réalité. Depuis deux ans, une équipe d’alpinistes et d’ingénieurs a mis au point un système d’ascenseur, permettant de descendre à l’intérieur d’un volcan. Situé à une heure de route de la capitale Reykjavik, le Thrihnukagigur (qui signifie les trois cratères) est le seul volcan au monde où il est possible de visiter l’ancienne chambre magmatique. Grâce à une nacelle qui descend à 130 mètres de profondeur, i lest aujourd’hui possible d’accéder à l’endroit où se formait la lave il y a 4000 ans, date de la dernière éruption. Découvert en 1974 par Arni Stefansson, un spéléologue amateur, la largeur du site équivaut à trois terrains de basketball et sa hauteur, à un immeuble de 40 étages. Lorsqu’il est descendu au fond du volcan pour la première fois, munit seulement d’une simple corde et d’un casque de moto il y a 40 ans, Arni Stefansson était loin d’imaginer découvrir un tel trésor: “On n’avait jamais rien vu de pareil. La taille de la chambre magmatique était immense. Ceci n’existe nulle part ailleurs sur Terre”, dit-il. A l’intérieur de la nacelle, arrimée par deux filins à l’entrée du cratère, la descente commence. Il ne faut pas avoir le vertige. Un gouffre noir, profond, silencieux, effrayant; voilà la première vision de cette exploration dans les entrailles de la Terre. Après sept minutes de descente, nous foulons enfin le sol volcanique sur lequel personne, auparavant, n’aurait imaginé marcher. Nous voilà seuls au monde dans un décor de science-fiction. Les parois rouges, ocres, jaunes les noirs temoignent de l’enfer qui régnait jadis à l’intérieur du Thrihnukagigur. En fusion, le magma pouvait dépasser les 1000 degrés. La température y est aujourd’hui plus clémente - 8 degrés toute l’année - mais aucune vie n’y subsiste : ni faune ni flore, juste un chaos minéral de roches basaltiques. « Lors de la dernière éruption, on suppose qu’il y eut un gigantesque éboulement qui recouvra la chambre et entraîna le magma dans les profondeurs terrestres », confie Arni Stefansson. Le Thrihnukagigur a-t-il livré tous ses secrets ? Probablement pas. Après une heure d’exploration, il est déjà temps de remonter à la surface et rêver qu’un jour, on puisse descendre encore plus profondément.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 23
Montevideo, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
08 Feb 2014

Three Spanish workers arrive at Dolce Vita Hostel in Montevideo. They have come to Uruguay for 6 months of temporary work. They left their families in Spain after the financial crisis to take on temporary jobs around the world.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 11
Del humedal, Montevideo 12600, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
04 Feb 2014

Aniceto, his daughter Andrea and his grandchildren pose in a small fishing village called Santiago Vasquez just 30 minutes from Montevideo. Aniceto's family is part of the Afro-Uruguayan community (more then 10% of Uruguay's population). Andrea is a medium who practices Umbanda an Afro-Brazilian religion originating in Nigeria and Benin that blends African religion with Catholicism, Spiritism, black magic and indigenous lore. Umbanda has spread across southern Brazil and parts of neighboring countries like Uruguay and Argentina.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 08
Curtina, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
29 Jan 2014

Carlos, a mechanic, poses with his sons for a portrait in Tacuarembo. Of African descent, his roots in Uruguay trace back to the slave trade. In the late 18th century, Montevideo became a major arrival port for slaves, mostly bound for Spanish colonies, like the endless fields of Uruguay.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 09
Curtina, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
29 Jan 2014

Uruguayan anthropologist Walter Diaz (66) drinks YerbaMate and takes a rest with Don Ulisse Gonzalez (80), an old gaucho. Mr. Diaz works on a rural education development and training program with the Uruguayan "Escuelas Rurales" (rural schools).

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 10
Brigadier General Fructuoso Rivera, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
29 Jan 2014

A closed "quilombo" or "prostibulo" alongside route 5 to Tacuarembo. "Quilombo" originally meant "brothel" in Lunfardo, a form of slang popularized by criminals in the early 20th century. Prostitution in Uruguay is legal for persons over the age of 18. It is commonly practiced in major cities, tourist resorts and rural communities.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 12
Cabo Polonio, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
14 Jan 2014

People ride on horseback down the beach from Valizas to Cabo Polonio, a remote and completely sustainable village between the Atlantic and a desert landscape of shifting sand dunes. The village is a bohemian outpost just south of the Brazilian border, where squatters have been developing a "green-village" without electricity or running water since the 60s.

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What a Trip - Around Oz Episode 5
Australia
By Maximilian Semsch
24 Sep 2013

Episode 3 of 9 from the documentary "What a Trip - Around Oz". Maximilian and his team cycled around Australia on E-Bikes. 16.000 km from Sydney to Sydney.

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Dambe - Promo
Bamako, Mali
By Dearbhla Glynn
03 Apr 2013

This is the musical story of two talented Irish musicians covering thousands of miles
of stunning yet arduous terrain from Bamako in the south to the mysterious ancient
city of Timbuktu, from which point they enter the Sahara. The film captures Mali in
all its magic and beauty, celebrating culture and the power of music. This film is a
musical journey into Mali, West Africa. Renowned Irish musicians Liam O’Maonlaí
(The Hothouse Flowers) and Paddy Keenan (The Bothy Band) travel thousands of kilometers through Mali, to discover why it is known as the heart of Africa.

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The Pilgrimage (19 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
31 Dec 2012

Pilgrims rest in the evening near the holy rock churches of Lalibela. In anticipation for the coming Christmas celebration, thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians set up camp in the days leading up to the event. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (14 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
31 Dec 2012

A pilgrim returns to the camp near Lalibela's rock churches. Thousands of the pious will sleep on the fields in anticipation for the upcoming Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas celebration. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (17 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
31 Dec 2012

Pilgrims descend towards of Lalibela's 11 stone churches. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (16 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

A pilgrim reads from the bible along the steep walls of Lalibela's stone churches. Originally built in the 12th and 13th centuries as a second Jerusalem for Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians, pilgrims arrive to the site each year to celebrate Orthodox Christmas. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (13 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

An Ethiopian Orthodox Christian priest greets pilgrims as they descend upon Bet Giyorgis, the iconic cross-shaped church. The church, along with 10 other rock churches, make up Lalibela's pilgrimage site. Inside each church is a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, which is viewed only by the priests and deacons. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (23 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

Clad in tattered robes and blankets, pilgrims follow a priest into a rock church in Lalibela's holy complex. The pilgrims descend from all parts of the country to take part in the prayers during Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (21 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

Pilgrims make the journey back to their camps in the late afternoon. Coming from all parts of the country, the pilgrims rest on the grass outside of the church complex during the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (20 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
30 Dec 2012

A pilgrim leaves the rock church Bet Giyorgis in the late afternoon, prior to the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas Celebration. Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (15 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

A pilgrim enters one of Lalibela's rock churches. Hewn from the mountain, these churches were originally built below ground to evade detection. Called the 'Petra of Africa' due to its striking similarity to Jordan's Petra complex, this site relatively unknown (outside of Ethiopia) draws thousands of pilgrims each year for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas celebration. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (5 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Serenity and fulfillment consummate one's spiritual journey. For the pilgrims transfixed in prayer, the experience has been a voyage both into the depths of the earth as well as the depths of their own faith. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (2 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Rows of pilgrims from villages all over Ethiopia file down paths on their way to be blessed by priests and visit the holy site of Lalibela. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (1 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Pilgrims make their way through a key-hole opening in the rock churches of Lalibela during an annual voyage for Orthodox Christmas. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, in the small town of Lalibela, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (10 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

Religious iconography is carved into the stone of the many rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Perched high in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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The Pilgrimage (9 of 29)
Lalibela, Ethiopia
By Leyland Cecco
29 Dec 2012

A pilgrim prays against the wall of Bet Giyorgis, the cross-shaped stone church in Lalibela. Bet Giyorgis is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for one of the oldest Christian sects in the world, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Lalibela, Ethiopia. December 2012.

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What a Trip - Around Oz Episode 4
Australia
By Maximilian Semsch
01 Oct 2012

Episode 3 of 9 from the documentary "What a Trip - Around Oz". Maximilian and his team cycled around Australia on E-Bikes. 16.000 km from Sydney to Sydney.

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"Living the Love" - Documentary about...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Gloria Kurnik
08 Feb 2012

In depth portrait of the Hindu Thaipusam festival held annually in Malaysia in January. A unique take on the events through the eyes of a participating couple.
This short documentary is produced in a "personal journey" or "character driven" style.

Synopsis:
Piercing the body out of faith is a custom in most of the oldest religions. Though it may induce fear, doubt and anxiety, it is also associated with a certain sense of mysticism and spirituality. The viewer witnesses here the Thaipusam - the magical Hindu festival where devotees in a state of trance, painlessly carry offerings in the form of heavy burdens and/or have a range of intriguing attachments hooked to their body.

But beyond the images of unbelievable crowds and fanfare, the viewer can also witness the love, trust and devotion merging into an expression of faith through self-sacrifice.

For many, Thaipusam is all about the flourish and the obscure customs. For many tourists, it is the defining evidence of the unique multi-cultural life in Malaysia. For many amateur photographers, it’s one of those places where you capture that ‘one’ unforgettable picture. For some it's a story of love...

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What a Trip - Around Oz Episode 2
Australia
By Maximilian Semsch
01 Oct 2011

Episode 3 of 9 from the documentary "What a Trip - Around Oz". Maximilian and his team cycled around Australia on E-Bikes. 16.000 km from Sydney to Sydney.

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What a Trip - Around Oz Episode 7
Australia
By Maximilian Semsch
01 Oct 2011

Episode 7 of 9 from the documentary "What a Trip - Around Oz". Maximilian and his team cycled around Australia on E-Bikes. 16.000 km from Sydney to Sydney.

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What a Trip - Around Oz Episode 5
Australia
By Maximilian Semsch
01 Oct 2011

Episode 3 of 9 from the documentary "What a Trip - Around Oz". Maximilian and his team cycled around Australia on E-Bikes. 16.000 km from Sydney to Sydney.

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Protest Journey
Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil
By Kirk Ellingham
01 Jul 2009

A two month journey following indigenous protests from Paraguay to Bolivia in 2007.

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What a Trip! Cycling from Germany to ...
Germany, Tschech Republik, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore
By Maximilian Semsch
02 May 2008

In 2008 Maximilian Semsch at the age of 24 cycled from Munich to Singapore to find out more about himself and to go on a real adventure, as life must be more than just working. He did the journey all by himself, without the help of a professional camera team. As there was no one to talk to, his camera became his best friend during the trip. His journey started in May 2008 in his hometown Munich. His route took him through Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine into Russia and further on to Kazakhstan. Semsch then did hit rock bottom, as he was refused a visa and couldn't enter China. After days of consideration he did decide to skip China and flew to Thailand. His route through south-east Asia took him from Thailand to Cambodia back into Thailand and via Malaysia he finally reached Singapore, after 211 days and 13.500km on his bike. Semsch recorded everything on his trip. The nice and helpful people he bumped into, drinking vodka in Russia with complete strangers and its aftermath of a hangover the next day but he also tells about his fight against loneliness, heat and extreme headwind. He always does it in a very personal way that gives the audience the feeling of sitting on the back of his bike.