The time of preparation ahead of an Expedition is more or less the same every single time. Most of it incredibly exciting! Stressful, sure, but figuring out all small details like route possibilities, choice of equipment, weight and platform of communication is a great joy! As usual, as with life itself, there´s also a negative back side to it all. The dread of leaving the family, the total lack of sleep, the nervous stress if it is possible, getting the VAT and tax papers ready for the accountant, but most of all, the attitude of some of the people around the expedition. I have to say, this time compared to before, have been overwhelmingly positive, but this is due to that I this time totally have avoided, as far as it is possible, anything negative that surrounds me, but also because I haven´t found a partner to join me yet. And usually, it is my chosen partner which has to deal with these negative aspects. For his reason, I remember this I wrote before the Yemen Expedition and as regards to Tanya. Who we all know today did the expedition as a long time pro, one of my best partners ever, but it wasn´t initially easy!
The report written in Malmö before leaving:
I just talked to the Yemeni Angel. She says the visa is ready, but her contact couldn´t pick it up until Saturday. It is a weekend now and most likely a big qat chew waiting for the bureaucrats, so this is no big news. However, I won´t relax until the second she has that piece of paper! But I am confident and have so much trust in her and the Yemenis who is helping her. This is the way it is in Yemen. Nothing can really be done in advance. One day at a time. It is just a case of me not having any patience at all. I never have. And this is my great weakness. Waiting for others to do their job.
The Angel is my new Expedition partner. She is an extremely good human being. But all the worries, all the freight and negative comments from people surrounding her in Sanaa is getting to her. Wearing her down, like it did with Tarim. They loose confidence, get scared and pull out.
I try to tell them, don´t listen to these negative bastards! They don´t have a clue what this life is about! I have heard it since the day I took the decision to do my first journey, on a bicycle from Chile to Alaska. Everybody said I was a lunatic, that it was impossible and that I would be robbed and dead quite soon. And I have heard it ever since. Am still here after 25 years of hard Expeditions.
Reality is like this; There´s a reason so few of us human beings do Expeditions. the difference is we don´t listen to the negative aspects, we calculate them, find a solution and set off and deal with it when it turns up. Most of us are very well read, research has been long and thorough and, most of all, we see the good in all people. And an attitude like that makes a difference! And I am privileged to live with a person with that attitude, my wife! It may be a defect somehow, but I think this is the base of being an explorer.
First, they have no clue about the life as an explorer, the vision you need to have and the trust in other people. Your attitude is a danger to them and their lives.
Second, most base their negative on pure ignorance. How many of them have really been outside of, for example, in this case, Sanaa and the big cities?
Third, it is pure jealousy. They just don´t have the right stuff!
So, I choose to socialize only with the positive, it is a choice everybody can take, and I just turn my hearing off when the negative hits the fan of conversation. But I listen and than, before leaving, I make an assessment of it, put it through a positive filter and add it to the back off my head as an experience.
Michael, you are so right and it’s good you share your experiences and hand out advice. Whenever I feel down & out because of all the obstacles during the preparations of an expedition, I say to myself: if it was easy, someone else would have done it before me. So, keep your head up, bang it against the wall if you have to, and continue. My motto (borrowed from my Chinese friend mr Ma) Without problems… no adventure!