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Real Life Story: Young Explorer Hannah

By Rebecca Bloomfield,
Marketing & Digital Coordinator

“It changes your life and sets you up for the future and has been the most valuable experience of my life, meeting so many like minded people has provided me with friends all over the UK and the chance to push yourself in a good safe environment can be hard to come across in everyday life yet has been so beneficial to my mental health and I really feel I have grown as a person since starting my journey with British Exploring Society.”

 

Hi, my name is Hannah and I am 16, This summer I was lucky enough to go on my first ever expedition with British Exploring Society. I am currently studying my A-Levels and my hobbies include painting and music and I am a very passionate walker. I come from a countryside town in the South East of England which has given me lots of opportunities for my love for walking to develop.

I first heard of British Exploring Society through Facebook, I saw an advert in around November last year for their expedition to the Scottish highlands in the summer and this being somewhere I have always wanted to explore I was very excited about applying. As soon as I found out I had been offered a place on expedition I was over the moon however I had been struggling with a bout of fairly bad anxiety, I had developed emetophobia (the phobia of vomiting) during the winter which caused some bad anxiety for me however the British Exploring Society team were so helpful with reassuring me and encouraging me throughout the process of preparation for the expedition and on the expedition itself.

To fundraise for my expedition I held a coffee morning with friends and family, I also got a weekend job to help me save, fundraising for my expedition was really great because it made me appreciate the expedition more as I had to work towards going. It also taught me independence as I was sourcing the money to contribute for my trip myself. I would advise any Young Explorers in the future to not be afraid to ask for help with ideas for fundraising etc, everyone at British Exploring Society has been so helpful and very friendly.

My expedition was to the Scottish highlands and basecamp was at insh scout camp in Spean Bridge which me and my fire adventured from several times. Our first night away from basecamp, we stayed just outside a bothy (house given to the hikers) which was one of my hardest days as I was still getting used to life in Scotland, mentally I struggled a bit due to my anxiety and the fear of getting poorly from the drinking water and food which was not very much of a risk anyways but my Leaders were so supportive and kind and all of my Fire helped me through. Being in the highlands and away from what you are used to was the best experience of my life as it taught me how to push through when things got difficult but also how to ask for help and support those around me which is one of the reasons why I loved my expedition so much.

Choosing a favourite memory is so difficult as I loved every minute of my expedition as I feel I achieved so much and pushed myself further than ever however my favourite memory from my expedition has to be the first night of our six night expedition away from basecamp which we stayed next to a loch in kinlochleven and me and my Fire bonded really well that night, we all stargazed together and chatted and laughed so much I didn’t stop smiling when I got back to my tent that night as I knew I had made friends for life. My Knowledge Leader from my Fire was Louise, who taught us about the geology of our surroundings which was really interesting, we also learnt how to cook in the wild and how to stay clean and healthy in this different environment which I think is a really great skill to know.

Before my expedition I had just completed my GCES and I was looking for a way to challenge myself and make some new friends with some of the same interests as me which is exactly what British Exploring Society offered. After completing my expedition I would say my self confidence has grown and I feel much more able to just jump into opportunities and I feel so much better at making friends and being approachable and I am keen to continue with an outdoor based career after completing my expedition.

Since returning from Scotland, I have applied for another of British Exploring Society’s expedition to the Canadian Yukon, in the future I hope to use the skills I have learned from this experience to go travelling and experience different countries and cultures. The Leaders on my expedition were Gabi and Louise, both of them were really lovely people and both were very kind and supportive, Louise was our knowledge leader and spent time teaching us about the environment we were in and Gabi taught us lots of practical skills like cooking outdoors and both of my leaders were really good with the emotional support on expedition.

British Exploring Society is such an amazing opportunity and I would say if you get the chance to go on an expedition, take it! It changes your life and sets you up for the future and has been the most valuable experience of my life, meeting so many like minded people has provided me with friends all over the UK and the chance to push yourself in a good safe environment can be hard to come across in everyday life yet has been so beneficial to my mental health and I really feel I have grown as a person since starting my journey with British Exploring Society. I really think it is such an important organisation and I am extremely grateful for everything I have gained from going on expedition.

I am also very grateful to the donors of my trip and I think it has been such an incredible experience that if you can donate so more young people can go, do! To anyone who is undecided about going on expedition, I would really encourage you to go for it, everyone who I have met on my journey with British Exploring Society has been so encouraging and this is a rare experience which gives you some super important life skills and you will be so glad you have done it when you do, the sense of achievement really helps to build self confidence.

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