“Mikael, I had to abandon my expedition! My idea was to cycle through Africa, but I had to give up after just three months. I lost it along the way. What did I do wrong?”
My answer to this email was simple and direct: “You lost motivation and you hadn’t prepared enough!”
His email was similar to hundreds I have received in the last 25 years. After reviewing all of them at length, I realised these failed expeditions often had three things in common: Explorers had lost motivation, and they had failed to understand the need for good sleep, and the benefits of good food.
When the going got too tough, they proved not tough enough to keep on going! Key to any successful expedition is understanding why you go through all these hardships – at the most difficult of moments remember what it is that drives you, and draw on this, it can be your motivation.
Good sleep and good food are the two most important pillars of a successful expedition. If you don’t know how and where to pitch your tent, you will eventually fail due to lack of sleep.
The tent is your fortress and your home, where you spend most of your exploring life. This is where you rest, feed and recuperate. Don’t set off on an expedition until you can sleep very well in your tent. I have spent over 2500 nights in tents – many of them before even setting off.
As important, is being able to cook a great meal. You need energy and rest to be able to make the right decisions. So don’t leave before you know how to cook a gourmet meal on your petrol stove!
That said, you could just get out there! Trust me, this advice is only complementary; you really need to be out on the ground learning the lessons of exploration, if you want to succeed.