Explorer Mikael Strandberg

How do you become an Explorer?

How do you become an Explorer?
 
I have been asked this question multiple times these past few days. It seems there´s many out there who would like to become one! In my book there´s only one way to do it.
 
During the Christmas holidays I have for the first serious time in my life looked back at the past. Otherwise I am very much someone who lives in the present. And by going through my stuff in the attic I found a lot of old pictures. The oldest one of me travelling outside of Europe being this first one. Me standing at the beginning of the Classic Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu.
 
I am 17 years old here. It seems I am trying to show the way for another hiker, though I had no idea where to go. I had been shipped over the Urubamba River on an iron cable. In itself an adventure. Hiking the Inca trail had been a long dream of mine since I started to read books about the outside world at the age of 10. I loved Jungle stories, wild animals and people more than anything. And I was so new to hiking and thsi way to travel, so I would be cooking my first own meals in my life on this trek. Yes, I was spoilt by a loving mum. So the first night out I put all my noodles to soak in water. I have no idea why. Next morning it had been turned into flour. I had brought nothing but pasta for the expected 4-5 day walk to Macchu Picchu. So I had to survive on Coca Cola and buns bought at the odd village store on route. And I got lost.
 
In my adventure books about the Incas all their roads were “paved” by stones on ground to mark where to go. Like a highway. In reality this was just short pieces of the walk. I was hungry, wet, scared and lost. I had no idea how to use a map. And my Spanish wasn´t good enough to understand. One old man I asked how far was it to go to Inti Puntu, he answered:
 
“Three sombreros (3 hats).”
 
It took me more than three hats! It would take a week! And I saw no other hikers either. After 5 days I fell down a sharp steep hillside when I had ended up slogging my way through the Jungle. My trousers was ripped apart at the back. I lost my tennis shoes. I limped for a day. And I was really worried I was lost forever. But after a week I miracously arrived at Inti Punku. I met other hikers. And one of them took this photo of me sitting in front of the magnificient Macchu Picchu.
 
This week was the best time in my life! And I realized, I want my life to be like this all the time! I felt alive!
 
So my answer is:
 
Just get out there. Now. Quickly! Don´t hesitate!
 
PS. The better photos of Macchu Picchu are taken when I many years later returned as a guide. DS
 
PS2. If this doesn´t help, read this article from The Huffington Post https://www.huffpost.com/entry/9-tips-how-to-become-a-mo_b_4004390?guccounter=1

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