Broadening that horizon

There's a real positive, in the expedition world at least, which has resulted from the tightening budgets of companies and funding bodies: variety. People are cycling in every direction, rowing new routes and finding the craziest ways to travel on the (relative) cheap. I know this might appear to be variety within an incredibly narrow niche but it really is a significant widening of the expedition spectrum.

Many classic expeditions to remote and fabulous corners of the world, such as round-the-world sailing, skiing to Poles, climbing big Himalayan peaks and diving to deep-sea trenches are astronomically expensive. There's no simple way to avoid this for the most part - chartered aircraft and one-of-a-kind equipment doesn't come cheap. However, all it takes is lateral thought and the desire to not give up at the first hurdle and a new set of opportunities present themselves.

I often get emails from people asking 'how do I get sponsored?' - a question there is no reliable answer to. The way round the problem is not to take the easy option or well-trodden path. 'Do I really need that £30,000 flight charter?', 'Do I really need another new £5000 sledge?' These are the questions that will often lead to finding new solutions and walking around the wall instead of head-butting it. This may lead to added hardship, more months in the field and more challenges - so be it. That's what it takes.

Mountaineers, polar travellers, cyclists, rowers and many more are rolling with the punches and saying where there is no clear path - forge one.

It isn't however a new thing to aim for slightly off-track expedition goals. It's in fact a return to normality. In the 18th and early 19th century, a period of great progress in polar exploration, only a fraction of expeditions were targeted towards the symbolic and otherwise useless North or South Poles. Most were dedicated to geology, biology, mapping and searching for shipping and travel routes. Areas of coastline in the Antarctic and obscure islands in the Canadian Arctic were explored at great human cost on expeditions which would bore an average modern-day Marketing/Sponsorship Director to death. Cherry Apsley-Garrard's epic tale of his Worst Journey In The World didn't involve a Pole but it did involve hardship on a massive scale and team-work at its best. If it was good enough for the pioneers, it should be good enough for us. Perhaps re-education is the only cure. So, whilst confirming plans for attempts on high-profile polar goals, I will announce expeditions over the next 12-18 months which encompass this return to unusual expeditions - unashamedly obscure but the reason some of us decided to take this expedition malarkey on full-time.

Stay tuned!

Alex Hibbert2 Comments