I took part in the Royal Geographical Society’s ‘Explore’ convention last weekend, for the second time in the last four years. The first time I did so, I was a wide-eyed newcomer to the world of expeditions, and I remember quite powerfully the realisation that, relative to the assembled speakers and delegates, mine ranked fairly low in the list of nutty expedition plans.
This time around, it was an absolute pleasure to spend the weekend as one of the advisors, reassurers and bring-down-to-earthers that have helped to launch so many dreams. Nobody who holds out for the entire conference can fail to be moved or inspired by the sheer breadth of outlook that can be accessed through the simple act of striking up conversation with random people found wandering the halls of the RGS-IBG building at this annual autumnal event. Each individual within the deceptively normal-looking crowd seems to harbour a goldmine of ideas, if not actual experiences and insights, that should properly reside in the realm of childish daydreams, adventure storybooks and regional news bulletin featurettes. Yet this collection of people somehow manage to do it all for a living!
The point of this post is to leave an open invitation to anyone who missed out on Explore to get in touch with me if they need advice or ideas regarding long-term bicycle journeys. I am afraid I’m limited to those topics, as my expedition experience goes no further at the time of writing (though plans are afoot to do something about that!). Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, but email is OK if you’re shy or not in the East Midlands. I’d like to invite intelligent questions — i.e. ones that Google really can’t answer!
Contact me here. Stay tuned for news on where to find me over the coming weeks and months as I transition to new endeavours and creative outlets. Finally, I don’t often indulge in the proliferation of famous quotes, but I want to end with an appropriate one for the dreamers and Explore delegates who are now preparing to put plans into action:
“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”