Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Made You Think

Jul 13, 2023

“The ordinary traveler, who never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten route is carried by others, without himself doing anything or risking anything, does not need to show much more initiative and intelligence than an express package."

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're discussing The River of Doubt by Candace Millard, a story that follows the expedition of Theodore Roosevelt as he explores the Amazon river in Brazil. Though faced with many hardships along the way, Roosevelt finds purpose in this monumental journey after losing the 1912 election.

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • The explorer spirit and the drive to explore the unknown
  • Theories of how long humans have been in the Americas
  • How the crew was able to form relationships with uncontacted tribes
  • The progression of travel methods in comparison to the early 1900s
  • What were in the cards for Roosevelt and Rondon after they returned

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

Links from the Episode:

Mentioned in the Show:

Books Mentioned:

People Mentioned:

Show Topics:

(1:09) In this episode, we're talking about The River of Doubt. After losing the 1912 election, Roosevelt traveled to Brazil to explore the Amazon river, which was largely unknown at that time. 

(4:17) The explorer spirit and the urge to explore something that people haven't seen before. While there's not much else for us to discover for the first time on earth, there are still many unique things to go see that only few have.

(8:52) Roosevelt and the crew seemed to underestimate what they were getting into, and though underprepared, it ended up being an overall success. 

(14:21) We talk a bit more about Rondon and his backstory, as well as what life looked like for him after the expedition. He had contact with tribes that were otherwise cut off from the rest of the world. 

(18:26) The relationships with the tribes they came across and how the tribe leaders had to mutually agree before a course of action was taken on Roosevelt's crew. At the time, it was not known that the tribe they had contacted were cannabalists. 

(22:37) There's a theory that the Amazon is man-made or at least man-influenced. While there’s evidence of humans in the Amazon from at least 13,000 years ago, how long have humans really been in the Americas? 

(27:50) Seafaring canoes and the possibility of natives reaching new land via canoe tens of thousands of years ago. It's also a mystery how many journeys have failed throughout time, as there is likely no record of their expedition at all.

(31:29) The drive to explore is in our DNA. Do we feel that need for evolutionary purposes? 

(37:40) We talk about the description of the surgery on Roosevelt’s leg during the journey and the backstory behind it.

(42:07) Sickness and the prevalence of malaria during the trip. We give some stats on the fatalities of malaria, and the lethality is less than we expected. 

(44:19) Roosevelt brought his son, Kermit. Though Kermit didn’t want to go, he went so he can watch out for his dad. Back in this time, going on a trip for months or even years meant you wouldn't have any contact with people back home for that whole span.

(48:55) Stories of Roosevelt when he was visited by ambassadors in the White House, and other humorous presidential stories. 

(52:32) There have been several amazing stories and documentaries describing the journies of different adventurists and mountain climbers. It goes to show just how important pacing yourself is and knowing how to pack the appropriate supplies. 

(1:00:51) Why the crew hardly saw any wild life during their time in the Amazon. Though you're surrounded by them, they're extremely hidden.

(1:05:58) Rondon's leadership along the way and how he managed to keep order, despite one of the crew members causing trouble. 

(1:14:19) When we think about Roosevelt's journey and compare it to today, we see how far we've come. We can now reach the other side of the world at much quicker speeds and have the potential of seeing more growth in this area during our lifetime, too. 

(1:19:53) Stay tuned for our next episode... Episode 100 of Made You Think! What has been your favorite episode so far? Let us know!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS@adilmajid@nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

You can now support Made You Think using the Value-for-Value feature of Podcasting 2.0. This means you can directly tip the co-hosts in BTC with minimal transaction fees. To get started, simply download a podcast app (like Fountain or Breez) that supports Value-for-Value and send some BTC to your in-app wallet. You can then use that to support shows who have opted-in, including Made You Think! We’ll be going with this direct support model moving forward, rather than ads.

Thanks for listening. See you next time!