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First Man to Cross Antarctica Got a Phone Call From Paul Simon Mid-Journey

Paul Simon
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Paul Simon performs onstage during Global Citizen: The World On Stage at NYU Skirball Center on Sept. 22, 2016 in New York City. 

On Wednesday (Dec. 26), Colin O’Brady completed his two-month journey to become the first-ever person to cross Antarctica from coast to coast alone and unaided by wind. Along his 900-mile journey, O'Brady turned to Paul Simon for some entertainment.

The adventurer told The New York Times he listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland on repeat for a whole day, and even received a phone call from Simon himself on day 35 of his trek (Dec. 7).

He reflected on his "FANBOY DANCE PARTY FOR ONE" on Instagram. "We had a wonderful conversation for 30 minutes over my satellite phone," he noted. "We talked about many things, but setting aside celebrity and fame, what struck me most was talking to him about his process of creativity and bringing a masterpiece like Graceland into the world." 

"I’m always so fascinated to talk to people who have worked their whole lives and put their heart and soul into striving for their highest performance, no matter the craft or canvas," he continued. "Though his expression is music and mine endurance sport, we both could relate so much on the mindset required to attempt to perform at that level."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 35: FANBOY DANCE PARTY FOR ONE. Last night a wonderful surprise occurred. @jennabesaw told me I needed to call a specific number. I figured it was an interview or something. I dialed the number and guess who answers the phone?! Paul Simon!! The man, the myth, the legend. Turns out he heard (thanks @eorlins for making the initial connection) that I had been playing Graceland as the top music pick on my journey and he wanted to reach out. We had a wonderful conversation for 30 minutes over my satellite phone. We talked about many things, but setting aside celebrity and fame, what struck me most was talking to him about his process of creativity and bringing a masterpiece like Graceland into the world. I’m always so fascinated to talk to people who have worked their whole lives and put their heart and soul into striving for their highest performance, no matter the craft or canvas. Though his expression is music and mine endurance sport, we both could relate so much on the mindset required to attempt to perform at that level. He asked me how long I had trained for this project, and I laughed and said., “Well, my whole life I guess.” Day by day I work to try to finish the quest to put my own “Graceland” into the world, not for personal glory but so that many others in the world can use it as an example to strive to do the same in their lives. Of course, I started the day cranking the album, dancing and singing at the top of my lungs “Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee I’m going to Graceland...” #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O'Brady (@colinobrady) on

Simon also posted a note on his website. "He was almost half-way through his arduous journey," the crooner explained. "I asked him if he felt lonely in the desolate landscape with no companionship. He said he spoke with his wife, Jenna, every evening. He told me that he wasn’t lonely and had a lot of time to think on all sorts of matters from the mundane to the spiritual, with more time lately on the spiritual." 

"O’Brady is 33 years old and a Yale graduate, an experienced endurance athlete and adventurer," he continued. "We promised to meet when he comes home and is rested. I’m looking forward to seeing him and hearing more about his amazing achievement."


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