Artist, adventurer and international activist Sean Lee-Davies shares the inspiration behind his passion for travel in the wild, as well as his vision for adventure on the ocean and beyond.
What do you love in life?
I love the visual arts, nature, the wild, film-making, travel… I’m just trying to do what I love, plus a little bit of something to fix today’s environmental situation.
Where did you get this passion for the natural world?
Growing up in rural Hampshire, in my early days, it was just the simple act of going down to the local river in the summer and seeing the fish in the water. As the Editorial Director of a luxury lifestyle magazine, I had a great few years in Asia promoting the very best in life, but then seeing the rampant air pollution, and the degradation of the waters here in Hong Kong, it spurred me on to do something to try and counter it. And then, of course, I met some inspiring people along the way, like David de Rothschild, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Bonham; all people doing incredible things.
Tell us about your travels; where has moved you, what does travel mean to you?
India is a phenomenal place. Rajasthan, for example, is a human and animal safari combined; so many religions, so many types of people, and animals, all intermingling, which is very rare. There’s something magical about it. In terms of incredible wilderness, the Leuser Ecosystem in Borneo is the only place where you still get rhinos, tigers, elephants, orangutans, all still living in one eco-system. It’s one of the lungs of Asia, just an incredible place. Sri Lanka as well, is amazing. And because it’s been through a lot of conflicts it’s kind of stopped tourist developments and it’s allowed the animals to remain. It seems where humans don’t go, it allows nature to flourish.
“Adventure is really about the unknown… you’ve got to be outside of your comfort zone.”
You have a real love for the water, too.
Yes, I do spend a lot of time in and around the ocean. It’s one of those unique spaces. I’m a free diver and a scuba-diver, so I’ve taken a lot of my photographs under the water. I’m also a keen sailor and paddle boarder – I have a little boat here in Hong Kong. I was actually out paddle boarding recently, with my two dogs, and we came across either a bottlenose or a spinner dolphin in Deep Water Bay, which is highly unusual. It was really an incredible moment.
An ocean holiday sounds as if it was made for you! Do you think a luxury cruise would be a good way of making special occasions?
Luxury cruises are a particularly great way to celebrate special occasions as they are a one-of-a-kind experience with unlimited leisure options to make your time extremely unique. What better way than to wake up with a panoramic view of the ocean, let alone a different view every morning?
What does adventure look like to you?
I think it’s really about the unknown. It’s doing something with a goal attached to it; you’ve got to be outside of your comfort zone, there’s got to be a light at the end of the tunnel, so you have to suffer a little bit to get to that goal. And usually doing it with other people. So, we’re doing another Kilimanjaro climb early next year to raise money for some charities, and that’s the perfect adventure. You don’t really know if you’re going to make it to the top because of the altitude; you’re traversing every eco-system on the planet in the seven days you climb; you’re just in an incredible environment that’s hard to beat.
Photographer Pierre Dal Corso
Art Director Harriet Gregory
Stylist Tasha Ling
Hair and Makeup Gloomy Kwok