It’s been a long, long time since I last blogged about the expedition, which is probably attributable to blood pressure. Being in the hot seat of an expedition is incredibly exciting and rewarding, but also incredibly taxing. You are responsible for an awful lot, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Against the odds perhaps, with enough personnel changes to form a second full team, FxPedition Perhentian Islands has survived. There was a ridiculous amount of expeditions proposed by FxPeditions this year, and it is a huge testament to my wonderful team that we’ve outlasted the majority of them. Preparing expeditions can be a dangerous, and at times, damaging trail, with great highs and pretty galling lows- but every single member of my team has shown great character to get through that!
Money wise, we’ve been successful in our applications to two grant bodies, the Royal Geographical Society and the Gilchrist Educational Trust, with more to come in. Thanks for their kind support, we’ve managed to cover the majority of the budget already. As an expedition that was designed to be cheap, I’m delighted with that to say the least. I spent 3 hours of yesterday sat in a paddling pool full of baked beans & god knows what else, as our last fundraiser before we head off. It was a fun event, the only downside really being the cold! Despite baking sun, I was stuck in the shade, and regular dousings in beans/mushy peas and gravy didn’t help… Nonetheless, I’m delighted to say that I think we’ve raised nearly £300 through the event, both online and in person. It might take a few years to regain my dignity, mind. If you would like to donate to our expedition, the link can be found by clicking here .
We have a deal with Craghoppers that we are just finalising, providing kit for the team, which is a very useful coup- I’m a big fan of Craghoppers gear, and sell plenty of it in the shop, so I couldn’t be happier! I’m really looking forward to opening the box to see what we’ve been sent… It’ll be like christmas all over again!
After months of solid work, exams and deadlines, we finally get to reap the fruits of our labour, and it is one of the best feelings in the world. Buying kit, packing bags and making final arrangements all makes it that bit more real, and I cannot wait to be back in the jungle of the Perhentian Islands. I’ve seen my team mature and flourish over the past year far beyond my expectations, and thus I expect the emotions to flow once we make it to the islands.
In a way, I’m going home. To islands that taught me so much about biogeography, ecology and herpetology, and to country that blew away my existing concepts of culture and society. Finally, I’m going back to the jungle, where everything you can see is alive, and where everything poses questions, whether you can answer them or not. That environment is the beating heart of my science, the artery through which my innate curiosity flows the greatest, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in that unexplored again.