Real Life Story: Young Explorer Rebecca
By British Exploring Society,
“Being on expedition gives you a whole new perspective that you have never seen before and changes you as a person for the better.”
My name is Rebecca, and I am 18 years old. Growing up in inner city London there is not as much opportunity to experience the true beauty of nature and being a lover of travelling meant expeditions sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. As a young person with a multitude of hobbies such as reading and writing, to outdoor nature activities and sustainability, I was eager to take an opportunity like this.
The first time I applied for British Exploring Society was when I was 16 and starting my first year of A-Levels. My school advertised this opportunity and it looked like a chance of a lifetime, so I knew I had to take it. However, 2020 was also when Covid-19 entered our lives and so it was unfortunately cancelled to my dismay, however I knew it was something I really wanted to do so I went and applied for a 2021 overseas expedition. Even though Covid-19 was not as intense at this stage overseas trips were cancelled leading me to further disappointment, until an opportunity arose where I could join a British Exploring Society expedition in Scotland this summer, and I can say now I am so happy I took the opportunity and did not give up applying.
And this is how my journey of a lifetime on Landmark Scottish Highlands 1 began.
So, in preparation for the expedition, I had to fundraise for British Exploring Society, and luckily for me I still had my fundraising totals for the two previous attempts I had fundraising for the cancelled expeditions, but I still looked at ways to fundraise during this pandemic world that everyone was living in. Through fundraising I managed to learn how to effectively get people to understand the importance of a charity like British Exploring Society and persuade them to donate, which I know will help me when I apply for expeditions overseas in the future. The most important thing when fundraising is to show how passionate and dedicated you are for that cause as people buy into you as a person as well as the charity. Upon realisation that I was going on expedition, I did have an ounce of apprehension as to what it would entail. However, I was mainly filled with excitement that I was doing this. I would say if you had nerves before expedition, it is normal so do not let it put you off!
One word to say about this expedition: Transformative.
Being on expedition gives you a whole new perspective that you have never seen before and changes you as a person for the better. Being in the serene environment of Loch Tay allowed us to focus more on each other as a Fire (group of young people and Leaders), but also ourselves and our thoughts, which I enjoyed tremendously compared to the rush of my usual London life. I have to say one of my biggest highlights of the expedition was being in the amazing Fire 1, as everyone was as curious about everything on expedition as I was. As well as this, I got to know people from the breadth of the UK that I never would have known before and share lifelong memories with them.
Expedition was such a big learning experience that nothing was really a ‘low’, but the toilet situation and steep ascents did pose difficulties that encouraged us to problem solve or be even more open to change. There were so many amazing moments, but I think two that stand out are the incredibly hard canoe journey on our second day as the winds were hitting ferociously against us and the intrepid nature and collective perseverance is what got us to the end point. The second must be the numerous beach campfires as they allowed us to come together and show true comradery. From singing campfire songs to discussing what we had entailed that day, I can say it did nothing but bring us closer together.
The physical and social elements were amazing, but we did some very interesting knowledge projects led by our amazing knowledge leader Matt. My personal favourite was the wildlife camera traps and wildlife watching as we got to lay the bait, observe our findings, such as the discovery of a pine marten! Also laying low at 9-10pm watching a badger set and seeing the badger pop up its head was an insane opportunity, and it has definitely increased my interest in wildlife watching.
Prior to expedition I was in the intense stage of completing my A-levels which would decide the university I went to, so it was a rather apprehensive process, making the expedition even more important on a personal level. After expedition I used the knowledge I learnt to delve further into the topics, especially topics like wildlife conservation as sustainability was already a big passion of mine. I can say after expedition I feel more confident meeting people for the first time, and I know I can do more than I think I can. The next chapter of my life after expedition is going to university to study Law, while also trying to get out in nature and partake in more expeditions. All the Leaders we had in our Fire were amazing and helped make the experience we cherish as good as it was.
The most unique thing about British Exploring Society is that it allows you to conquer some of the scarcest places with other amazing young people and connects you to a community you did not think you could be part of. If you’re questioning whether to go on expedition, I would say do it. If you are passionate about nature or want to meet new people, then British Exploring Society expeditions are perfect for it! With donations to a charity like British Exploring Society, you are investing in young people who are the future and giving them this transformative and life changing opportunity which in turn will let them give more and enable a more cohesive wider society.