Exploration has never been more popular than today. It is alive and well. The simplistic claim that apart from the deepest oceans and outer space, there is nowhere left to explore, is wrong. The world isn´t fully explored and never will be. Neither was it discovered by early explorers like Livingstone and Ibn Battuta. They traveled on existing routes and areas known by those who lived there. But they brought back information and news, may it be scientific or not, which inspired others on the path of discovery. This still defines what an explorer is today.
An explorer is somebody who often makes dangerous, difficult and unique journeys for the main purpose of bringing back news from faraway lands. It is habitually including personal challenges, as much as it might be delusional, but it is almost always driven by curiosity and a great willpower of making a difference.
These facts withstanding there are more people than ever who want to become explorers today. I get hundreds of emails every year from both young and old people who beg me to explain how to become a modern day explorer. I tell them the truth. You need to have what it takes. I point out that this isn´t a vocation for everybody. Actually, I believe it is just for a few. But if you believe, I say to them, that you have what it takes, these 9 tips will help you on your quest.
1. You have to believe that you can make a difference and do what most people will tell you are delusional, crazy, impossible and just plain stupid. On the contrary, you know if people start accusing you of this when you tell them about your plans, you are on the right track!
2. You need a vision, an idea which differs from most others. Few people are born with a vision. You create your own visions and ideas through intense, careful and thorough research by reading, studying and talking to people.
3. You also need an ability to explain and sell your vision to others. An extreme passion for your idea helps! But people have to understand it! Presenting your project to possible sponsors, media partners and others in the right way is extremely important.
4. You don´t have to be a perfect human being. Be who you are and throw all those self-help books away. It is better to be an original than a copy. Most explorers are more or less slightly insane. But they are never boring. Being positive helps, but it isn´t a prerequisite for attaining your vision.
5. You have to prepare physically like any professional athlete. At least 15 hours a week over a period of at least one year before your upcoming discovery. Today at 51, I still work out a couple of hours every day, but since the day I found my own vision around 15-16, I have trained more than 10 000 hours, I have slept over 2500 nights in a tent and read as many books.
6. You have to put everything else on the side and just follow your heart and vision. If you are married, you need an understanding partner. The same applies if you have children. Don´t worry about what others think. In most cases, they´re just jealous of not having the guts to do what you do.
7. Don´t listen to the negative assumptions of people you come across. Pretend that you are listening, but don´t register. Surround yourself only with people who are positive to your vision. It might be hard as regards to your family, but otherwise, why waste your time with people who are negative?
8. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
9. Finally: Get out there and just do it!
My favourite tip of them all.. “Get out there”
There’s no better way of becoming an adventurer than just go out, adventurous, expolre everything and be curious about what’s surrounding you!
Good tips, thanks!
Thanks for the rousing call to action.
I’m in nascent stages of planning my next adventure and this is inspiring and reassuring to hear.
I always thought that I was more sane for chasing my dream that those who call me crazy
When I read the caption for this article I immediately thought “Oh really? Well, let’s see if this guy knows what he’s talking about.” You are spot on sir. My adventures began at age 14. I eventually dropped out of high school to pursue a life of adventure. I’ve never stopped. Every year I pull at least one good trip. 2012, Amazon jungle exploration and camping. 2013, jungle camping in Belize. This May I will be flying to Lima and then driving into the Andes to Machu Picchu. I am 57. I know the ropes very well and again sir…You are spot on.
Hello my name is David Bouschor, you do not know me but all my life i have been a person born to explore but sadly i have never realized this. all my life i have been told i should be anything i want, at the time i thought that just meant be anything that others could approve of like a high paying desk job or some kind of doctor and i am ashamed to say i had accepted this for most of my life and i thought myself happy however recently i have gone to China for a cross cultural study abroad psychology class and seen the wonders that lay their and i have to say i have been awaken to my true soul. i am an explorer. i realized now what i had thought was happiness was mere content and boredom. i am not someone who wants to wake up in the same location ever morning. i am one who seeks adventure in this age. as such i decided to do something about it. Hence why i am reading bookes about modern exploration and writing explores like you. what would be honored to have your advice on this matter of how best to start this new road. i read your 9 tips to becoming an explorer (traits i can truthfully say i have minus the workout one but i can add it in) but i want to know how did you break away from “normal life”? i do not think packing a bag and just leaving would be wise. Please if you could write back to me i would really want your insight.
Hi David, I wasn´t normal even as a kid and left to travel when I was 16 and just initially took the odd job at a factory to get needed money. I have lived on this since I was 23. 30 years I know it was a good decision, but nothing is easy, read this http://www.mikaelstrandberg.com/about-me-the-human-being-mikael-strandberg/, and honestly, you just need to take a decision to quit normal life. Wise or unwise as it might seem to be. Good luck and keep me updated! M – remember life is very, very short, so enjoy it now.