Showing of “Norway: Quest for the Viking Spirit”

Richard Bangs in Norway

Richard Bangs in Norway

Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose, a new, one-hour special from American Public Television, will air on KCTS Seattle at 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 7.

Hosted by Richard Bangs who is often called “the father of modern adventure travel,” Adventures with Purpose “Norway: Quest for the Viking Spirit” is a new documentary in this series of adventure travel, eco-conscience, and historical specials. According to Bangs, “Adventures with Purpose not only quicken the pulse and fire the synapses, they are also journeys of enlightenment and discovery—odysseys that make a difference.”

Adventures with Purpose is produced by Small World Productions, the makers of Smart Travels—Europe and Pacific Rim with Rudy Maxa and Travels in Europe with Rick Steves. The special is co-produced by KCTS/Seattle, and Richard Bangs Productions of Marina del Rey, California.

A thousand years ago Vikings set out from the fjords of Norway striking fear across Europe. Yet today this ruggedly beautiful country is the home of the Nobel Peace Center, of explorers and adventure travelers and one of the most eco-friendly countries on earth. Bangs’ quest is to discover how such a progressive nation grew from such a violent past—if modern Norway is a result of its Viking heritage or a reaction to it. This time Richard’s adventures take him the length of Norway on a Quest for the Viking Spirit.

In 793 AD long ships with dragon-headed bows and square sails crossed the North Sea and landed on England’s shore. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “The ravages of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindesfarne.” Since that time the name “Viking” has been synonymous with pirates, violence and terror

But today modern Norwegians are active in peace and conflict resolution on a global scale. Norwegian women have one of the highest political participation rates and are active in gender equality issues worldwide. Norway is proud of its successful ecology efforts at home and actively supports ecology solutions in developing countries.

So why is there such a discrepancy between the ancient stereotype of marauding pirates and modern, civilized Norway? The Viking age ended over a thousand years ago. So why does it still resonate today? Could it be a romantic revision of a grisly past or cynical pandering to a growing tourist trade? In this documentary special Bangs explores the Viking Spirit and how it survives today in modern Norway.

Richard’s Quest for the Viking Spirit begins in Oslo and travels to the extreme northern tip of Norway with stops in Alta, Kirkenes and Lofotr. Like early Vikings he sails from Tromsø down the western cost and experiences the beauty and majesty of the mountains and fjords with stops in Trondheim, Bergen, Flam and Sognefjord before returning to Oslo.

Ultimately Bangs concludes that in many ways the Vikings are an abstraction bloodied. But whatever their violent deeds they were acutely in touch with nature. As few others they understood and respected the sea, and its currents, its moods, its elegance and they used that intimate knowledge to explore where none had gone before.

Host and co-executive producer, Richard Bangs is a pioneer in travel that makes a difference, travel with a purpose. He has spent 30 years as an explorer and communicator, and along the way led first descents of 35 rivers around the globe, including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in Southern Africa. Richard has published more than 1000 magazine articles, 18 books, a score of documentaries and CD-ROMs; and has lectured at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club and many other notable venues. He writes a semi-regular feature for the NY Times. His latest books include Adventures with Purpose, Quest for Kaitiakitanga, Quest for the Sublime, and Quest for the Kasbah, companion books for episodes in the Adventures with Purpose television series.

DVDs of “Adventures with Purpose: Quest for the Viking Spirit” are available from Small World Productions. Each DVD contains the complete show and more than two hours of value added bonuses: Richard’s adventure travel tales, never-before-seen bonus footage, and behind the scenes glimpses. Richard’s Adventures with Purpose books and DVDs are $24.95 each plus shipping. The book and DVD together are $44.95 plus shipping. Viewers may order online at www.AdventuresWithPurpose.TV or call the order desk at 800.866.7425.

Small World Productions, Inc. of Seattle produces Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose. KCTS/Seattle and Richard Bangs Productions are co-producers. KCTS is the presenting station. ExOfficio Travel Apparel provided partial support for production and distribution of this special. HDTV versions of Adventures with Purpose will be up-linked on the public television HD satellite transponder. An NTSC, or standard definition, “letterboxed” version, will air on more that 270 public television stations as well. Digital audio is transmitted in stereo.

For 44 years, American Public Television (APT) has been a prime source of programming for the nation’s public television stations. APT distributes more than 10,000 hours of programming including JFK: Breaking the News, Simply Ming, Globe Trekker, Smart Travels—Pacific Rim, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, Battlefield Britain, Jungle, America’s Test Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen and classic movies. APT is known for identifying innovative programs and developing creative distribution techniques for producers. In four decades, it has established a tradition of providing public television stations nationwide with program choices that enable them to strengthen and customize their schedules The APT press contact is Dawn Anderson at 617-338-4455 ext-149 or via email: For more information about APT’s programs and services visit Check your local public television station to find a showing near you!

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