“Prior to the expedition I had no clue where I was headed or what things I wanted to achieve…”
Prior to the expedition I had no clue where I was headed or what things I wanted to achieve. I was doing full time education in college and part time work. But as soon as the chance of going to Iceland came around, it was like the hum drum of regular life paused and the doors to a new world burst open. Being accepted was the first step and a miracle in its own right. It all started from Catch22, the charity that organised my NCS trip the summer before. They sent the email. They got the cogs turning. Then it was all up to British Exploring Society.
British Exploring Society were such incredible help in the build up to the expedition. They took care of everything. From transport to training and even mental help whilst preparing. We all first met in Cannock Chase and got to know our Leaders and other Young Explorers. Even then the surrealism still hadn’t faded. Here, we took on tasks as teams to really give birth to the necessary skills we would need to conquer the tasks ahead. Soon after this we took on nights of wild camping in Dartmoor. Here we really honed in on the relevant skills for Iceland. Some personal favourites were cooking on a Trangia, leaving no trace and getting tents set up in some nasty winds. Once everything was effective as could be we moved on to Iceland…
” It was such an invigorating experience. I’d never felt so alive. In amongst this we still had a few challenges, barrages of blisters, river crossing and even trekking across snow. The main skill learnt though was to live in the moment…”
The wait to reach Iceland ached. Total travel time was absurd with hours on trains, planes and an 8-hour bus journey once we arrived! This wasn’t an issue thought because the three weeks that followed were phenomenal. I fondly remember the very late-night sunsets over the dusky horizon. However, the most memorable moment was when me and a friend had our daily wash in a waterfall… halfway up a volcano!? It was such an invigorating experience. I’d never felt so alive. In amongst this we still had a few challenges, barrages of blisters, river crossing and even trekking across snow. The main skill learnt though was to live in the moment, because that’s all we had with no phones and no civilisation.
“It has taught me to look beyond the negatives and see what life has to teach me.”
Now that I’m home and the reality has all passed, I always try to seek the best in every circumstance. Iceland was a real eye opener. Being on expedition wasn’t easy and I learnt more about myself than anything else. It has also made me realise that we can get too caught up in the things that don’t matter instead of focusing on the beauty of everything around. It has taught me to look beyond the negatives and see what life has to teach me.
However, none of this could have been possible without British Exploring Society and every single leader involved. I am honoured to have been involved in such a great experience with great people and it was all down to British Exploring Society’s organisation. I couldn’t have learnt the same lessons and been the same person I am today if it wasn’t for them. I’m truly thankful and forever will be for them sparking my interest in the outdoors and helping me find my fire!