The immortals - Food and Travel
A travel feature looking at five areas of the world with unusually high life expectancies. The aim was to explore what aspects of the food and culture they have in common, and to provide lots of practical tips for readers to take away and work into their own lives. I was careful to work in specific characters and vivid decriptions of the destination to ensure the piece was also an enjoyable read in itself. Read the full story here or get a sense of it from the excerpts below.
Although it’s part of the Cyclades, Ikaria has a history of self-sufficiency. It flourished as an independent state for seven months in 1912 when it broke free from Ottoman rule and there’s still a sense that they do things differently here. Independence, you could say, breeds a joie de vivre.
Take a walk into Sardinia's hills and you’ll spot octogenarians and nonagenarians rambling rough footpaths after their flocks. Ask them when they plan to retire and they’ll look at you blankly. People here carry on working until they are physically unable to, unlike in the UK when the current state retirement age is 65 for men. Scientists may recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity per week but Sardinian shepherds hike 8km or the equivalent of 100 minutes every day, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Haenyeo divers, sometimes called ‘the last mermaids’, have farmed the pristine waters around Jeju for 400 years and exemplify this matriarchal society perfectly. Without oxygen tanks, they dive up to 20m, expertly combing the seabed for conch, urchins and seaweed, before heaving their saturated sacks ashore for their menfolk to sort.