Long before the first guests arrived, the six of the Singaporean YEPs, Andreas, Benedict, Leonard, Li Jie, Nicolette and Zhixin, stood around the photos that had been most helpfully put on display by Mercedes-Benz, who also allowed us the use of their space and resources for the first ever Pangaea-Mercedes Benz Photo Exhibition.
With Mike Horn himself coming down all the way from Alaska for this event, we could barely sit still with nervousness, unsure if the program would be a success. As it turned out, we needn’t have worried. The audience remained captivated the whole 45 minutes Mike spoke, gasping in shock when Mike talked about 12-m long anacondas and flesh-eating ants, and looking on in concern when told about Mike’s near-death experiences with deadly snake bites. The passion for life and living Mike had was clearly evident in every word he spoke, and by the thunderous applause he received at the end he was clearly a great inspiration for every person in the room.
Leonard then spoke about the harsh training program he underwent before and during the Himalayas Selection Camp, attempting to capture the grandeur of the Swiss Glaciers with words, while Benedict and Andreas shared about the conservation efforts they carried out in Borneo. Nicolette then talked about the Mongolia Expedition, and as the video of the YEPs rolling down sand dunes was screened, the audience could only look on in envy at the ‘giant playground’.
When the exhibition commenced, the YEPs were kept busy with queries about the program and their experiences, but of course, with this being the passion close to all our hearts, no one tired of it.
Meanwhile, a large crowd had formed around Mike, determined to hear more from the guy who has done it all. Recognising that this was a rare chance to meet this great explorer, person after person clambered to take photos with Mike, and half hour after Mike first claimed that ‘this would be my last photo!’, he was still good-heartedly posing with others!
All too soon, the launching ceremony for the Photo Exhibition was at its end. We all left without regrets though, knowing that today, the lives of so many more have been touched, by the passion that is Pangaea.