Flying South
A Pilot’s Inner Journey
Text by Barbara Cushman Rowell
Photographs by Galen Rowell & Barbara Cushman Rowell


Ten Speed Press (2002)
304 pages

Hardcover:
Out of print,
unavailable at this time

Softcover:
Out of print,
unavailable at this time

Includes over 100 stunning photographs by Galen and Barbara Rowell.

Adventure travel through Latin America doubles as an inspirational manifesto for women trying to find their own direction in life.

Barbara Cushman Rowell is a role model for every woman who longs to nurture her own aspirations.

“When I’m in the air on a clear day, I don’t want it to end. When I’m on the ground, I can’t wait to be back up in the sky.… The cascading sensations of feeling vulnerable and exhilarated at the same time are much like falling in love.”

Barbara Cushman Rowell appeared to have everything she could possibly want: a famous husband, a successful and exciting business, interesting friends, and the opportunity to travel around the world to photograph glorious landscapes, wild creatures, and vanishing cultures. Yet after nine years as the driving force behind world-renowned photographer Galen Rowell’s career, supporting his passions and desires while putting her own on hold, she was desperate for an adventure all her own. Challenged to look inside herself to find out what she would most love to do–no matter the cost, no matter how much time it took–one thing soared to the top of the list: learning to fly.

Call it love at first flight: through piloting her own plane, Barbara found the means of achieving the inner fulfillment and sense of self she’d longed for all her life. “When I think about flying,” she wrote in Flying South, “my only regret is not learning to do it sooner.”

With more than 100 stunning full-color photographs, Flying South is the hair-raising, reflective, and ultimately inspiring story of Barbara’s trip of a lifetime–a 25,000-mile, 57-leg journey through Latin America and the recesses of her soul, discovering unrealized self-confidence, irrepressible resourcefulness, and vast reserves of emotional and physical strength. And what a journey it was: she recounts landing in the middle of a coup in Panama, narrowly escaping disaster when key flight instruments failed over Peru, flying herself to an oral surgeon after a mouth-smashing accident on Chile’s Bio Bio River, fighting plane-shredding winds over the Andes, and surviving (just barely) a life-threatening tropical storm off the coast of Brazil–all while navigating the pervasive and demoralizing chauvinism of the aviation world. But even more than a harrowing adventure you won’t forget, Barbara’s candid tale of finding herself through flight inspires us all to go after the experiences we long for, and to live the lives we dream of.


BARBARA CUSHMAN ROWELL was the president of Mountain Light Photography, a stock photo agency, fine-art gallery, and small press co-owned with husband/partner Galen Rowell, as well as a former director of public relations for the North Face. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic, Outside, and Plane and Pilot, plus countless travel catalogs. She flew a Cessna Turbo 206 fitted with custom photo windows for aerial photography. In her spare time, she volunteered her flying skills for environmental organizations whose projects range as far afield as the Yukon and Central America. She and Galen lived in Bishop, California.

GALEN ROWELL was a world-renowned nature and adventure photographer and explorer. He was the author-photographer of seventeen illustrated books. When not on assignment for National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, Audubon, or other publications, Galen could be found writing, climbing in the High Sierra, teaching workshops, or working in some other capacity as the co-owner of Mountain Light. He was the recipient of the Ansel Adams Award for his contributions to wilderness photography, the Lowell Thomas Award for travel photography, and a National Science Foundation artist’s and writers grant to photograph Antarctica. Photo assignments and climbing expeditions have taken him to both poles and on more than fifty other international journeys to the wildest mountain regions in the world.

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