1. The Unexpected
Cities are a controlled environment. The more human control, the less likely unexpected events will occur. Wild places however, are untamed, we can control very little, and so the unexpected can occur at any given moment. This is surely one of the greatest thrills of the expedition lifestyle. You are an alien in this environment; you are controlled by the environment.
So what is the unexpected? Well it can be a dust storm in the desert, a giant rainforest tree smashing to the ground, a monsoon downpour in the jungle, or alternatively, a face to face encounter with a large wild animal, discovering a breathtaking place or experiencing a moment in time you know you will never forget.
Of course, to increase your chances of witnessing the unexpected one must sometimes go in search of it – this is exploration.
2. The Challenge
Expeditions tend to leave you stranded outside of your comfort zone. Overcoming a challenging moment may be one of the most rewarding aspects of expedition life. You may instantly be plunged into an uncomfortable lifestyle, but an ability to adjust and adapt will lead to the greatest enjoyment in the end. Embrace the difference, and make it perfectly normal. You will soon thrive off it.
3. The Culture
Everywhere has a different culture. Between two nations, and right down to the local scale, between tiny communities. I suppose on expedition, embracing local culture can often lead to the unexpected. Say yes to opportunities (within reason), and don’t be too serious – combat the language barrier with humour – laughter is a universal language that everybody understands. And perhaps you may then experience the unexpected; like a spontaneous midnight fishing trip, an invitation to dinner or an adventure to a culturally important or breathtakingly beautiful place.
4. The Wildlife
I go on expeditions for wildlife research and so naturally I embrace the wildlife encounters around me. But whatever your purpose on expedition, remember to keep an eye out for the weird and wonderful species around you. Afterall you are in their home. Take photos. Buy some field guides. Make a checklist. You will probably never see them again.
5. The Memories
Embrace the memories. I suppose embracing memories tends to occur afterwards. If possible capture the moments on camera and look through your photos regularly, but if not, reflect on the memories to keep them fresh in your mind. You never know when you may need to transport your thoughts to a fantastic moment in your life. What happens on expedition should definitely not stay on expedition. Expedition memories should remain with you forever, fresh and vivid. Exercise them.