I got an email out of the blue the other day from an expedition I’d heard about some time ago: Atlantic Rising. They were awarded the Land Rover ‘Go Beyond’ Bursary for their very cool idea to travel around the Atlantic Ocean overland along the one metre contour line. This is predicted to be the new coastline of the ocean in 100 years if seas continue to rise.
Lynn Morris, one third of the expedition team, kindly wrote these ten handy tips for anyone planning expedition.
For the last eight months (and probably the next eight) my two friends and I have been living in a tent on top of a Land Rover while running an environmental education project. We have driven more than 12,000 miles through 15 countries and crossed the Atlantic by container ship. We are currently in Brazil, which is not quite half way.
Should anyone be planning something similarly exciting and slightly foolhardy I would offer the following advice.
- Find out how much money you think you need for your project then quadruple it.
- Shamelessly accept the hospitality of perfect strangers and overload their washing machines. We are utterly amazed by the generosity of people who have only just met us.
- Ruthlessly exploit any free wifi connection you come across. Specialist skill required: the ability to conduct conversation with drunk expats in hotel bars while chasing payments for articles, communicating with teachers or examining online bank statements.
- Accept delays you can’t do anything about. For border crossings that might take 5 hours bring a book and a snack. Bear in mind Brazilian customs officials are the slowest in the world (we have been waiting five weeks for them to give us our car back).
- Don’t be surprised when your hitherto reliable laptop dies. This will happen 15,000miles from the nearest Apple repair centre.
- Try to have some time off. In the first two months of our expedition we had one and a half days off. This is not sustainable. Sometimes it is good to get more than 8 foot away from your travelling companions/partners/friends (see point 8).
- Fight with your team mates/fellow expeditioners/tent buddies by all means. But if you only have two friends in the country it is best not to make both of them hate you simultaneously.
- Find a term for your colleagues/team mates/travelling companions/partners that does not make you sound too corporate, Victorian or as if you are in a ménage a trois (suggestions welcomed).
- Bear in mind however hard you are working people at home firmly believe you are sunbathing on a beach. When you get home all they will comment on is your lack of tan.
- If you are still thinking of a big expedition then go go go! Don’t be put off by the fact you have no clue how to fix a car, half the money you need, only the vaguest idea of where Suriname is and most of your friends think you’re mad – none of these matter. They will probably only add to the adventure.
The aim of the Atlantic Rising expedition is to establish a network between schools in low-lying communities and raise awareness through writing, photography and film about how climate change is already affecting communities. For more information visit www.atlanticrising.org.