— The amazing people I work with.
I thank the good lord for my parents. My father and mother deserve great credit for having raised us (me and my five siblings) with a most unique perspective on life. We all are non-conformist bohemians who value independence, free thought and the pursuit of knowledge. Looking back over my years I realize that what drives me is intricately linked to my parents. My mother instilled in me a great love for learning and my father a great love of nature and travel. Both taught us about hard work and perseverance.
Today even after hundreds of expeditions around the world the thrill of discovery never ceases. Each day that the god gives promises me to be another one of full of intrigue. I would not be who I am without the influence of hundreds of souls who have taught me, who have listened to me, who have criticized me and who have been generous with their time and friendship. If I succeed at carrying the torch and bringing my passion to others—so that they too stand in awe at the wonders of nature—I will feel that all the effort will have been worth it!
My little brother is one hell of a man. It is hard to explain why he is so unique, but I will try. Unlike me, Patrick has a heart of gold for all. The underdog homeless man and the rich man are equal in his eyes and he proves it. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times the rest of us sit and wait for Patty to finish a conversation with someone! Almost everyone he meets somehow becomes a friend. Patrick leaves such an impression on people that even people who have met him once remember him and ask about him. Patty pierces the hearts of people with his sincerity… he really cares. Top that with his audacious looks (girls swoon for him), and his “life force” and you have one unusual character indeed.
Patty started going on expeditions with me decades ago, but it has only been in the last 8 years that he has truly become a global explorer in his own right. After traveling to countries as diverse as Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Botswana, Australia, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Dominican Republic and Namibia Patty has really made a name for himself as an explorer. He has discovered species new to science (still waiting to be described and named) and he has made expeditions to some of the most dangerous jungles on earth. His favorite? An expedition into the deep treacherous jungles of the Darien Gap in search of an only recently described new palm; the magnificent and appropriately named, Sabinaria magnifica.
Our brother-in-law Jake, has been a part of the family for most of his life. I first encountered Jake when he was at my house visiting. I had already started the life of being a traveler and was back home from college. Jake was super interested in my travels and he would ask questions. Years went by and he had his chance to join us.
One of the first trips that Jake took was a solo trip to Kenya. I bought him an airplane ticket, set him up with some equipment and wished him the best. Jake ended up living in a travelers camp on the outskirts of Nairobi. The place he stayed was famous among backpackers; the wonderful domain of Ma Roche. Ma Roche was beloved by all, she took Jake under her arm and helped him out just like she did with so many of her guests. Jake’s most vivid memory of Nairobi has nothing to do with a matronly polish woman, rather it has to do with him being chased with a madman wielding a machete. Jake has been on expeditions all over the world with Team Simcox and a trip with out Jake is like a trip without sunshine!
Yu is a lowlife, that is not an insult but in modern Japan actually a cool thing to be. With millions of millennials working endless grinding jobs in offices and factories the allure of the country life is becoming something chic. Yu grew up as the quintessential Japanese urbanite, the son of a corporate shipping manager. His dad’s job took the family from the Tokyo suburbs to Los Angeles when Yu was fourteen. Yu spent four of his teenage years in America and learned English very well. He moved back to Japan and he studied graphic arts. Still he was not enchanted with the prospect of corporate life and he yearned to get closer to nature. Over a decade ago he met Mr. Noguchi owner of Noguchi Seed Company outside of Tokyo, it is a small company that specializes in rare Japanese heirloom varieties. Yu started working for Mr. Noguchi and has done so for the last ten years or so.
That is why I met Yu, I wrote a letter to Mr. Noguchi, who speaks no English, and I received a wonderful reply back from Yu Onochi! After some organizing, I was invited to visit. After that visit Yu generously offered to help show me and Irina around Tokyo, we happily accepted and over a period of a couple of weeks became good friends.
We started to discuss the prospect of writing a book on weird edible plants and within a couple of days Yu had introduced us to the Editor of Straight books. A day later we had an agreement. Soon the book: “ Bizarre Edibles… Unknown Delicacies” will be printed in Tokyo. Yu is a co-author of that book, and has been instrumental in its development and translation.
Since we met almost a year and a half ago, Yu has joined us on some amazing expeditions including to rural Japan, Sulawesi, West Papua, Argentina, Peru, Chile and a cross country US Christmas visit that included botanizing in Arizona and West Texas.
I consider Yu an extraordinary loyal friend and colleague who I believe will help change the future of humanity due to his love of nature. It only takes a passionate Japanese lowlife…..
Anthony B. Rodriguez
I met Anthony in 2014 at the Comstock Ferre & Co., spring festival. He came up to me after a talk I gave and said, “That was really sick!” (‘sick’ by the way means really cool.) I chatted with him for a couple of minutes and then as a group was standing around invited them all into the Belden House at Comstock so that I could share with them rare heirloom seeds. After that I gave them all my email, and it was not long before I received an email from Anthony thanking me for entrusting such rare seeds to him. He had also shot video during the visit and posted it on his blog: “Revolution of Thought”.
Not long after that Anthony returned to Wethersfield and spent hours shooting photos of beans for an article that I wrote for the Heirloom Gardener Magazine. Anthony was delighted to have an opportunity to be in a magazine and his photos turned out awesome. I stayed in touch with him, always asking him if he was up to travel, I said “Don’t be surprised if I call you one day and offer you to go on an expedition the next!” That day finally came in February 2015, I called Anthony and said, “Do you want to film in the Peruvian Amazon?” He asked, “when” and I said “tomorrow!” He said, “Hell yeah!” and the next day we were on our way to Peru. Anthony worked 15 hour days during the Peru expedition, he impressed all the team with his adaptability and resilience. We were not so impressed by his repugnance to eating jungle grubs, but we overlooked that flaw.
Since that time he has been all over the world with our team, including, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Germany, Norway, Surinam, Curacao, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Italy and Mexico.
Anthony is gearing up for some major collaborative efforts. He is working on his own Documentary series and also working with our team to produce some amazing to be revealed films. I expect that he and my son-in-law will team up to be an incredible film production team, as both of them have been building their equipment inventories to meet the highest tech standards of the day.