Blog written by Sebastian Engelhart of Hong Kong, China
One month ago, on the 23 of March, I moved one giant step closer to realizing my great hopes and dreams. It was a typical school day and I was in class when I received the text from my twin brother Oliver announcing that we had BOTH been accepted among the 16 young explorers invited to Mike Horn's Africa Expedition Selection Camp! The text said it all and my heart nearly burst from my chest with excitement. The ‘Power of 2’ had succeeded in reaching our first goal within the PANGAEA Project constructs. We had known it would be quite a challenge to persuade the Mike Horn team that siblings would be a valuable selection within the field of global applicants, thus our video application really focused on our strength in partnership and what we have achieved together. For those of you who are just reading about this project or selection camp you should know this — Oli and I are twins and proud! Without each other we aren’t quite whole, (forgive me if I sound cheesy) but while we may not look too much alike, we’ve shared far more than just DNA in the last 16 years. When making our video we were worried that our two-ness would be a significant handicap in the selection process, how could the Mike Horn team possibly choose one of us over the other. So we put all our eggs in one basket and made a never-done-before joint video application. It was a leap of faith but as Mike says: Fear is the only thing standing between you and success. And the possibility that one of us (or even both of us) may not succeed was not going to stand in our way.
‘The Power of 2’ is about how two people who know each other inside-out can work together to achieve something far greater than what one could achieve on their own. Together the two of us have been able to go places and do things that we would never have been able to do alone. And this is what Mike Horn’s PANGAEA project is all about! Mike has completed some amazing expeditions solo, but via PANGAEA, he has extended an invitation to the youth of the world to come together and share their passions in collaboration to achieve even greater results.
Over the last few weeks we have expanded our partnership and "gone global" to meet the Mike Horn team and contact the other 14 young explorers invited to the Switzerland Selection Camp. The Mike Horn team has gathered a group of smart and motivated young people from all around the world and it is an honor to be able to meet them and begin to work together with the PANGAEA community. In partnership with all of our new friends I look forward to developing new skills, learning about new cultures, pushing outside of my comfort zone, and being tested through my limits both physically and mentally.
Oli and I are preparing ourselves, studying, exercising, cycling, raising money, and learning more about Africa. I am full of nervous anticipation as the adrenaline builds daily. May everyone’s travels be safe on our pilgrimage to those beautiful mountains in the Swiss Alps! I look forward to meeting everyone, hearing your experiences and stories, and hatching new plans together.
PS. Contrary to what the sign in the photo tells me to do I am not smiling at the camera. It was a fantastic long bicycle ride for the Cycle the Planet challenge and I am happy, but extremely distressed to see so much shark fin for sale in one small fishing village here in China!
Blog written by Robert Finney of Oceanside, California, USA
With less than two weeks until the 16 Africa Expedition Candidates meet at the Mike Horn Expedition Center in Château-d'Oex, Switzerland, reality has begun to set in. It seems only yesterday that I was awkwardly filming my application video and dreaming about how amazing it would be to meet and work with 15 highly motivated, vivacious, and adventurous young adults. In preparation for the selection camp, we have been creating informative presentations and learning about social and environmental issues in Namibia, Kenya, and South Africa. What I am most excited about, however, is the opportunity to make a difference in so many peoples’ lives.
The plans we are crafting form the base of a multi-pronged aid initiative involving sanitation, water, first aid, and malaria prevention. Regardless of which Young Explorers are chosen to execute these plans with Mike in July, we will all be proud to have contributed our individual skills to such an important project.
The networking opportunity of the selection camp is incredibly important as well. It is very rare that so many motivated young adults are given the support necessary to actually act upon our ideas; and we have the Mike Horn team to thank for it. This is not an isolated expedition, but rather an unabated opportunity to gain the skills necessary to make our planet a better place. With the PANGAEA network in our corner, it feels as if anything is possible.