Explorer Mikael Strandberg

How to become an explorer?

I got this email a few days ago. One of many readers asking the same question:

Hello, to wherever you might be at this moment 🙂

I stumbled recently on your online blog.. and.. well I know you must have heard this question a thousand times already, but I simply have to ask. How does one becomes a professional traveler? I would consider myself honored if you could drop me a few words about this 🙂
Blue skies and many more miles,

Gustáv Kyselica Jr. (a would-be-explorer 🙂 (at least in heart for sure)

How to become an explorer? What does it take?

It is quite easy to answer. It takes passion, more passion than others, hard work, harder than all the others, a vision, bigger visions than all the others and an enormous amount of curiosity!

Every day I read about people, mainly young men, who do more or less spectacular adventures, get a lot of attention for a few years, they live on lectures and book sales, then they are gone from the scene of exploration. they just didn´t have what it took to stay in the business for a long time. Some of them have great jobs within the adventure industry, others, on paper some of them do “Expeditions” for a few months every five years and get the media with them due to earlier recognition, but they definitely doesn´t make any difference in the main reason to explore as I see it. Open horizons to other worlds, building bridges between cultures, creating a bigger understanding of this magnificent world we live in and explore the meaning of life. To survive as an explorer you need to have a personality which differs, have a clear vision reaching until the end of ones life and never stop exploring and always continue to be curious. On top of that, I think, there´s an issue to it which never can be taught or trained, either you have what it takes or not. And that has nothing to do with background, possibilities or environment. It is just there.

Just as an illustration to what I mean. If you walk up to the top of a building, walk out on to the edge when you reach the top looking down, do you want to jump? I have asked all my friends who are in the same line of work as me and we all say….yes.

How to become an explorer? Enough curiosity makes a difference!
How to become an explorer? Enough curiosity makes a difference!

These are earlier entries that I have written on this very important subject:


  1. “Just follow your heart and do what makes you happy. Ignore nay-sayers and armchair explorers and learn from your mistakes and those of others. It’s a competitive world and it’s full of people that wouldn’t hesitate to steal your thunder or rain on your parade. Learning to move forward in all this mess is probably the toughest challenge but there are some remarkable individuals that will share their knowledge and ideas with you. Just do it. The only things you’ll regret are the chances that you’ll never take.”

  2. i have always wanted to become an explorer since a very early age,what does it takes for one to become a professional explorer,it has been my passion all along but i just do not know where to start.please help!

  3. I want to become an explorer. But I don’t know were to start and do I need some training. And if I have to so from where ?????? Please help

  4. Mohit, basically it is easy, collect money first of all, find a place where you wanna go, read and plan, and than, just go! As simple as that!

  5. what does even mean to be an “explorer”, is it finding sponsors in order to be able to travel, maybe in a bizarre way, and not having to find a “conventional” job?
    is it finding someone who pays for our own wanderlust?
    The question may sound provoking, but i m genuinely trying to understand the meaning nowadays of the label “explorer”.

  6. Hi Stefano,

    It is a very good question. Today everybody and anybody can call themselves explorer. And there´s no academic definition what defines an explorer. However, I would say if you are Fellow of the RGS and The Explorers Club, or similar organisations with history in exploration, you have earned the right to call yourself explorer.

    And, in fact, I would say that there´s many who call themselves explorers because they like the life style, but they´re far from what I would say is an explorer. Per definition, somebody who cannot live another life and where being an explorer is his or her life.

    Why do i call myself explorer? I do many things. Lecture, guide, travel, documentaries, photography and for me it is easier to summarize it all by calling myself explorer. And I don´t see myself as an adventurer, I think they do sporting challenges more than anything.

    Money has little or nothing to do with choosing a life as an explorer. For those who want it as a lifestyle yes, money and fame is everything. There is far too many of those around. However, money is needed. Like for everyone out there.

    For me an explorer is somebody who choose to try to build bridges of understanding between people and who cannot live another life, but is ready to loose everything to be able to do just that, build bridges through travel.

    I have published a few articles on the subject, the last one is daniel Fox´s excellent article with great comments at http://www.mikaelstrandberg.com/2012/04/13/7377/

  7. Hi Stefano, Hi Mikael,

    I would not try to become an explorer for money, or fame. Just being out there would be enough for me. Feeling the air of a different city, forest, desert would make my day. I would not know what to do if the air is … let’s say I will look for something else.

    I think the big question here is once you feel the urge to change your life from sitting in front of a computer/desk 8+ hours/day, what to do next.

    You might not be cut out for this, but you still need to try, just to find that out.

    Once you realize this it’s not that easy. You have some tough decisions ahead of you. You need to see how long will you be away in your first journey, where to go, and what budget do you need. For that you will certainly need the money. Let’s say you put aside some money before that, but your manager will not be happy to hear that you will be away for a month or so. Which means that you need to quit your job.

    For me this is the great risk and the life changing decision. If the explorer life is not for you, you would probably need to find a new job afterwards. Nowadays, this is not always easy, but that is that, you have to do it. But what if you decide to go on with a new “expedition” how will you get money for that?

    And after all how is exploring different from travelling?

    I put great trust in passing on knowledge, in having a apprentince – master kind of relationship. The question I will ask is where to start looking for this, the expedition that eventually would need my humble services.


  8. Thanks mikael for your guidence but I have another question that how do I publish my work to the people

  9. And my last question what are the high school subjects further required to study and become an explorer

  10. Yes mikael you r right I m in 10th std.and I know that this is the best time of my life. Hanging out with friends, pranking jokes on others etc is the best thing that I like 2 do

  11. Hi, I am 16 years old and currently in high school. Being an explorer is all I can ever dream of doing. Every article I read does not give me the information on where to begin. How to even get a job as an explorer, how long it takes, or how to fet sponsored. Please help, any info will be appreciated.

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