Many people gathered in the Student Center Ballroom to listen in on Marty Essen’s “Around the World in 90 Minutes” lecture, hosted by the Student Center Programs Council (SCPC).

Essen’s Lecture was full of stories about his adventures trekking through the globe.

Essen, a self-taught photographer, decided to go backpacking with his wife and ended up loving the occupation so much that he kept returning.

Eventually, he decided to collect all his experiences in a book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.

The lecture was accompanied by Essen’s colorful photography slide which showcased a myriad of beautifully shot photos of animals and wildlife from all over the world.

“Get down and appreciate the little things,” Essen said as advice for travelers.

He showed the audience pictures of creatures from his travels, including a little poison dart frog.

He recounted his firsthand tales of facing caimans, lace monitors, which are a kind of lizard he encountered in Australia, wolves in Canada and glaciers in North America.

“[It was] an interesting discussion on the misconceptions of ‘dangerous’ animals. He talked about how many animals stereotyped to be extremely dangerous are actually not as harmful as rumored and beneficial for our environment,” said Christianna Madson, a second-year BME major who attended the event.

One of the more extreme experiences that Essen mentioned was when he and his wife were canoeing down the Zambezi river, and their boat was attacked by a hippopotamus.

he animal lifted the boat high in the air, dumping the vessel and the Essens on the riverbank. Though it was a near-death experience, both the Essens were relieved to be alive and laughed it off.

In the spirit of exploring the little novelties in such new areas, the Essens traveled through Spain visiting castles as well.

They also discovered that many of the generally accepted facts were actually incorrect. In fact, red belly piranhas which are “known as the most ferocious” are actually fin eaters.

The Essens tested this by jumping into a lake full of red belly piranhas without any injuries.

Marty Essen was also the first person to ever photograph a species of spider in the Amazon which he called an Orchid mimic spider.

Essen is now promoting his new travel book by traveling around colleges and venues across the country.

Originally, Essen wrote stories of his adventures in newspapers in Montana where he lived.

In his book, Essen said that not only did he get to see the planet and its wildlife, he also was able to see and meet people of different nationalities.

He developed a sense for both the environment and the political nature of protecting wildlife. The novel was published in 2007.

Apart from photographing natural life across the seven continents, Essen travels to colleges and universities to deliver lectures about his travels and the photography from his book.