I’m living a hectic lifestyle at the moment! One minute I’m sat at my laptop muddling over where to buy 12v batteries and acetone in Oman, then I’m driving to the Lakes and Derbyshire for expedition briefing weekends, and then I find myself head to toe in white emulsion, painting ceilings in my Grans’ new house in Dorset (she is 80 and decided she needed a renovation project!).
I have entered London for several weekends in a row now, something I don’t try to make a habit of. I find the hustle and bustle wearing, people living life at light-speed, and yet there are good reasons to be there. Our capital city is a hub; it’s a place of progress, where ideas are realised, and ultimately goals can be achieved. People do business face to face; a cultural phenomenon I adore when working in developing nations. So I admit it’s not all loud noise and smog any more; perhaps I could say it’s charm is growing on me. After all, there must be a good reason why 8 million people call it home.
So imagine an event of national (in some ways international) proportions, designed for adventurers and field scientists to simply meet face to face and talk, perhaps organise the odd life-changing expedition here and there. Well it flourishes in the form of ‘Explore’; the annual RGS-IBG expedition and fieldwork planning weekend. This was my first time and it has left a lasting impression on me. From meeting adventuring celebrities like Sarah Outen and Ed Stafford, to discussing the ins and outs of achieving conservation progress in Madagascar’s diminishing natural ecosystems, it was a delight to be present. The weekend ran with military precision as I moved from workshop to workshop learning about GIS, photography equipment and how to comfortably poop in the jungle (it turns out it’s all about having the right ‘shit-kit’). I didn’t come away with any concrete expedition plans as such, but the weekend certainly instilled a feeling of prowess; proud to be moving through life in the same direction, and with the same motives as such an inspirational and high-achieving collection of people; proud to be living life to the full.
And so here I am back at the laptop (showered and now without white hair, well almost, but that’s au naturel) with ‘oman’ and ‘coleoptera’ typed in multiple tabs, beer in hand, and preparing for Sunday in London…