He may have just become the first person to cross Antarctica but one of the most amazing parts of Colin O’Brady’s trip had to be when the legendary Paul Simon gave him a call.
Halfway through his 54-day coast-to-coast Antarctic trek, O’Brady revealed that he had received an unexpected phone call from the “I Know What I Know” singer on Dec. 7.
Earlier that week, the New York Times had reported that the 33-year-old had played Simon’s Graceland album on repeat for an entire day during his trip.
“We had a wonderful conversation for 30 minutes over my satellite phone,” O’Brady shared in a post on Instagram. “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.”
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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
Shortly after O’Brady’s post, the 77-year-old musician shared via his personal website what it was like to speak to the man racing across Antarctica.
“I asked him about the landscape — entirely white with no visible landmarks, although he was climbing to an altitude of 8,000 feet,” Simon recalled in his note.
“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 added. “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.”
Read what else Simon had to say about his conversation with O’Brady here.