BWW Interview: National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki is Living the Sweet Life

BWW Interview: National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki is Living the Sweet Life
Ahead of his lecture at Houston's Jones Hall on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, climber and explorer Mike Libecki talked to BroadwayWorld, giving
us some insight on himself, his travails, and his National Geographic Live presentation CLIMBING DREAMS.

"This is the Libeckis. The time is now. Life is sweet," says National Geographic Explorer Mike Libecki on his answering machine message. In person, the climber and explorer reiterates, offering a slight variation in phrasing to clarify. "The time is now. Life is sweet. And we have to live a fucking sweet life," he says with a laugh.

Lewis and Clark would be proud. Though Libecki has undertaken 70 expeditions, visiting Afghanistan, Antarctica, Madagascar, among many others, and made first ascents on every continent, the native Californian still retains the laid-back attitude of a surfer-dude, the environmental consciousness of a granola hippie, and the lexicon of both.

In life, Libecki classifies experiences as either joy or pre-joy. Cookies, cupcakes, and kittens? Joy. Every event in Alanis Morissette's "Ironic"? Pre-joy. "To even have a reality, to even ponder is a gift. So optimism seems normal, as part of nature." We're not grizzly bears, he says. But we are animals. We are part of nature. And by nature, we are explorers.

"Every single one of us is in our own exploration and, if nothing else, we are related to the explorers that went all over this planet to be where we are today," says Libecki. "Everyone comes from a deep root of exploration."

He travels the world living and preaching this gospel. In between expeditionary adventures, he participates in speaker series like National Geographic Live ("Climbing Dreams"), TEDx ("Why Ration Passion?"), and Talks at Google ("From Antarctica to Afghanistan").

Currently, the adventurer is in Houston as a guest of National Geographic Live and the Houston Symphony. He will deliver his multimedia presentation CLIMBING DREAMS at Jones Hall where audience members will accompany him to Greenland, Afghanistan, and the jungle of the Marquesas Islands by way of narration, photography, and video. Libecki promises "culture, flora, fauna, mayhem."

"It's all the best photography. It's all the best editing. ... And it also goes behind the scenes," says Libecki. "For this day and age, [it's] the most cutting edge remote expedition for climbing, adventure, culture, and science that you can do."

"This is also exploration into storytelling," Libecki adds. The anecdotes, photographs, and video in his live presentations do more than recount events. They give audiences the opportunity to experience events.

Since Libecki is a contemporary explorer, he'll soon conclude his speaking tour to go on expedition in Peru and Greenland. But this Memorial Day Weekend, he will serve as judge and speaker at the 2017 Telluride Mountainfilm festival in Colorado. For the festival, he will join filmmaker Zac Barr and mountaineer Conrad Anker to discuss the legacy of Swiss mountain climber Ueli Steck. Steck, only 40-years-old, recently died after falling more than 3,280 feet on the Nuptse mountain in Nepal.

He is scheduled to return in the fall with a presentation on virtual reality for the National Geographic Live speaker series.

For more information about National Geographic Live, see To learn more about CLIMBING DREAMS, visit

high res photos

Mike Libecki, above, is the 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Photo credit: Andy Mann

Mike Libecki on boat to Skjoldungen Fjord, Greenland. Photo credit: Mike Libecki

Mike Libecki is also a writer, photographer, videographer, and multimedia editor, which comes in handy for his presentations as well as his expeditions. Above, is a self-taken photo of Libecki on a climb. Photo credit: Mike Libecki

Mike Libecki masked. Photo credit: Mike Libecki

Mike Libecki in Antarctica, National Geographic Expedition. Photo credit: Keith Ladzinski

In 2017, the Men's Journal included Libecki, above, in its "25 Most Adventurous Men of the Past 25 Years" article. Photo credit: Andy Mann

Photo credit: Andy Mann

Photo credit: Andy Mann

Photo credit: Andy Mann

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