This is what The Explorers Club writes about their Flag Award:
“The Explorers Club Flag is a symbol of courage and fidelty. The award of the Flag is a significant accomplishment. Since 1918, the flag has been carried to all of the Earth´s continents, as well as under the sea and into the stars. To date, 850 explorers have carried the flag on over 1450 Expeditions, including Apollo 8 and Apollo 15.”
I just got awarded Flag number 179 for my Yemen Expedition By Camel. I am in Sanaa when you read this, hopefully, you never know when it comes to Yemen! The fact is that I am writing this a sunny spring day in Malmö, an hour before I have to pick up my daughter at her nursery school, when my wife is very pregnant, emotionally very unstable and can´t focus on anything but….Dorritos, which we don´t have in Sweden, so she has marched off downtown to the American Store to see if they have Dorritos, corn syrup with real vanilla, pan cake syrup and white chocolate cookie mix…she has a crave for all American things, such a day it is….but I will publish this piece when in Yemen, but the heart is beating to write it the same day it arrived form teh EC headquarters in New York. The 26th of March 2012. The day my wife came back with a whole bag full of Dorritos, happier than ever! Time for me than to pick up Eva, before I continue.
I didn´t get a Flag for having her. Which is kind of sad, since she is my biggest expedition and adventure ever! I am proud and happy to carry the Flag on a journey through this spectacular country, but in comparison to my first flag, number 95, the one I brought to the Kolyma and placed at the mouth of the Kolyma River together with my partner Johan Ivarsson, I am not jumping in the air of joy and a feeling of greatness. Life has slapped me hard a few times since than, so I am much stronger, confident and most of all, once you have the biggest gift of life, a child like Eva, everything else becomes bleak in comparison!
But for me, given the honor of carrying an Explorers Club Flag, gives me a sense of having picked the right life and suggests that there are people who appreciate my work and life, and since I to a certain degree is creating some kind of history by doing this expedition in Yemen during a very unstable time, when the country is continuously thought to be on the brink of a civil war, just looking at the list who have carried this particular Flag before me, makes great reading!
Two of them I kind of know. Max Gallimore, who I met in Berlin, carried it 1984 on his Beligo Underwater Expedition. Robert Pearlman is a Facebook friend and carried it 2004 to Maasailand to record their oral histories. 32 explorers have carried the Flag before me, and except Robert and Max I have only come across one of the other names, Norman G. Dyhrenfurth, who carried it on the first American Mount everest expedition, when Jim Whittaker made it to the top 1963, a year after I was born. But, the amazing thing is, it has made a journey to Yemen before, back in 1981 together with a Brit named Anderson D. Bakewell, of whom I have only found evidence that he made music from the Tihama, the region he visited and where I started part one of this journey, in Zabid. Ahmed Ali Hussein and Antar are both from the Tihama! So there´s definitely a connection!
See the Flag report I left from the Kolyma expedition here!
© Copyright 2013 Explorer Mikael Strandberg | Photos and texts Copyright Explorer Mikael Strandberg