180 Degrees South offers inspiration, adventure and an environmental wake up call

The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. The solution for a lot of the world’s problems may be to turn around and take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work. -Yvon Chouinard

When I started watching 180 Degrees South, I expected a typical adventure, sailing and surfing flick. I've been learning to surf and would love to learn how to sail, so the action peaked my interest. Usually surf/adventure movies are just beautiful footage, with not much of a story or a point. 180 Degrees South is in another league. Anyone will walk away from this movie inspired by its intense adventure, call for simplicity and environmental messages.

The movie follows a crazy (in a good way) mountain climber and surfer, Jeff Johnson, as he aspires to repeat the legendary 1968 journey of Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Doug Tomkins (co-founder of North Face) to Chilean Patagonia. Johnson drives to Mexico with plans to sail to Chile. He ends up shipwrecked at Easter Island and eventually makes it to Patagonia for mountain climbing and interviewing his heroes. Along the way, since that's not hard core enough, he surfs some incredible waves and meets up with a few friends.

You might be thinking, "how is this different from a typical surf/adventure movie?" Well in some ways it's the same, only more intense. I wish I had just a tenth of the courage these adventurists have (not fair!). After watching this movie, I'd think my short hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway and paddling out in knee-high waves were a joke if doing so wasn't so fun and good for the soul.

What makes 180 Degrees South different is that along with the adventure, you see parts of the world where simplicity and nature still rule. Unfortunately, you also see how pulp mills and dams are taking over those precious areas. The movie shows a direct link between our overconsumpution and the remote wilderness at the corners of the Earth. If you are not inspired by the adventure, you will be inspired to be a better steward of the environment and to live a simpler life. (And if nothing else, you will love the soundtrack, lots of Modest Mouse.) Check out this movie to see world, to respect nature, to see the beauty in a simple life and to get inspired.