Blog written by Lani VAN NIEKERK (18, South Africa)
Only six days left before I embark on the expedition of a lifetime. And the best part is, I get to do this with 9 other amazing Young Explorers and, of course, Mr Mike Horn himself! “Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating.” The Amazon Expedition members are going to do just that. We are going to explore, learn and act in these jam-packed three weeks! We are going to create awareness on the problems in the Amazon area, we can create solutions for them and make great memories!
When I got the email with our list of activities, I nearly jumped out of my skin! Seeing the pink Amazonian river dolphins, diving, trekking through the jungle, visiting hydroelectric dams and turtle rehabilitation centres, planting trees, handing out water filters to the local community – all of this sounds like a dream come true! (And it is!) And I cannot wait to put my feet onto that sailing vessel. I want to experience life in a confined space, feel the wind whipping through my hair as we sail toward another exciting destination!
Preparing for this trip has been quite nerve-wrecking (mostly on my mother’s part). After 4 vaccinations and an hour long explanation about every disease I could pick up, catch or die of, I could see my mom’s face growing anxious. My spirits, however, were soaring! That meant that I am one step closer to living the dream!
I have to add that this dream would not have been possible without the help of the invincible, legendary Mike Horn Team. These guys spend hours slaving away so that everyone is happy and everything runs smoothly. I am immeasurably grateful to all of you and I admire the way you are always ready to help! You are incredible! And a BIG thank you to all the sponsors for all our gear – your contributions are priceless.
Every moment of every day is devoted to either dreaming about all the adventures we will find ourselves in, or working on projects, emails, pamphlets and skype calls before I leave for Brazil! And when I’m not busy scanning the shops for South African delicacies (this might be to get into Mike, Moose and Gaynor’s “good books”) I am greeting old friends and eagerly telling them about my travels and involvement with the Young Explorers Program.
I am so happy that I took the plunge and gave up a year of University for this project. “Some opportunities only come once, seize them.” I can only say that it has been a million times worth the effort.
I have readied myself with cans of repellent for all the bugs, mosquitoes, anacondas, crocodiles and hairy spiders! Keeping up a good level of fitness, getting enough rest and eating well (and I can tell you, I REALLY ate after the Selection Camp! I scared myself with the amounts of food I practically inhaled!) will help me to make the most of this expedition!
Here’s to exploring a new continent, meeting up with friends, learning new things and acting to make a difference! Amazon, here I come!!!