The company has enlisted presenter and travel writer Charley Boorman to assist with the search. We recently spoke to the Long Way Round star about what it means to be an explorer – and what the winning candidate will be like…
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This is a journey to find an explorer to travel in the footsteps of the greats – who’s your favourite explorer, and why? Well there are the obvious iconic explorers, like Marco Polo, who inspire us all; they totally embody the spirit of discovery and are so inspirational. But all of us have an individual that has spurred us on or given us the notion that we are capable of so much more than we think. That guy for me is Ted Simon, who wrote Jupiter’s Travels. His book is amazing and gave me and Ewan the idea for Long Way Round, and he gave us the inspiration we needed to head out and start our adventure. There is someone somewhere that will tickle your fancy and do the same for you!
What kind of qualities will the winner have? The Modern Explorer could be 18 or 80, an experienced globetrotter or someone who has never ventured outside of Europe, but they all have something fantastic in common – a thirst to discover and return with amazing stories and experiences that you’d only get from travelling. Travel wasn’t always as accessible as it is today and the Modern Explorer will find out how the old explorers’ journeys could have differed with today’s technology. The chosen explorer will be using the Expedia App to plan their entire journey while on the go, sharing their experiences through blogs, photos and video and getting advice on where best to go, what to do from social communities. The Modern Explorer will need to be open-minded, have good writing skills and a confidence to get stuck in with whatever comes their way.
They’ll be using social media and apps to document and plan their trip – which travel apps do you rate? I use Google Maps and Train Line but I often find the best thing to do is to get onto social media and ask questions about the area you’re in – you’d be surprised with the amount of responses you will get from people who want you to share some of the amazing things that they’ve discovered.
This trip is all about seeking out the hidden and experiencing new things. Which trips have you taken that made you see things in a different way? I think the obvious answer is when Ewan and I went off and did Long Way Round; it was a huge trip for the both of us and neither of us realised how much it would change us. One of the lasting memories of that journey was our experience in Mongolia, it was just so difficult to navigate. Everything was more or less gravel roads with no sign posts or anything so there was a lot of guess work involved. The Road of Bones was also a huge challenge – there were never any bridges at rivers, the roads were atrocious and it was just one road in the middle of nowhere so we had no choice but to stick with the one route. Those two places turned out to be a couple of the best experiences of my life, that’s what’s always fascinating, the things you remember most are the things that go wrong!
Africa also can really make people see things differently, and they realise the world is not as dangerous as people think it is. Soweto had some of the loveliest people, we visited some local townships which a lot of people would avoid – but having that sense of adventure helps you to meet people that you might never have met had you not dared to go a little bit further.
If disaster strikes and the winner loses their phone/laptop, how would you recommend that they document their travels? All these electronic aids are fantastic in helping you to map out and plan your journey, but you should always still have a map of the country that you’re in in your pocket and a notebook so if all else fails you can sit and spend 30 minutes every evening writing down what you did.
It’s very difficult when you get back home to remember everything so it’s really important to write as you go.
Finally, what advice would you give people who are desperate to become the next Modern Explorer? Spend time on your application to really show your passion for travel and exploration. For any explorer it’s about just getting out there, keeping an open mind – every country has its own cultures and the more you embrace what goes on in that country, the more fun you will have.
Think that you’ve got what it takes? You can enter via Expedia’s Facebook page here.