It was a completely miserable day outside - perfect for wandering around stalls displaying fabulous pictures of lands far away and listening to talks on trips you'd never even imagine.
We listened to a talk on trekking through Tibet to Mt Everest - this trip was already penciled in for next Easter but after hearing all about it and seeing dozens of photos of snowcapped mountains, glaciers, blue skies, sherpas with their donkeys and pile's of prayer flags, it is now firmly scribbled on the calendar in big fat black marker! My worries about the walking, camping and freezing cold nights were completely obliterated and transformed into pure excitement for what would be a once in a life time trip.
|Mt Everest - photo from earthinformations.blogspot.com|
We also heard an inspiring presentation on walking safaris in East Africa. I had no idea that you could do safari on foot - I just presumed it would be too dangerous. I have always wanted to do a safari but the idea of being stuck in a bus with a load of other (potentially annoying) tourists just didn't butter my muffin. Walking, however, is interesting. Imagine - the heat of the sun on your shoulders, the feeling of sand gently slipping away under your feet (although god forbid it gets in your shoes!), the sound of animals calling one another in the distance, the smell of the life around you... it just sounds perfect. They teach you how to track the animals and how not to become lunch and you get to sleep in tents with roll down walls.
|Walking safari led by a Masai Tribesman|
photo from www.happytellus.com
Over the weekend, there were a number of celebrity speakers. On Friday Mark Carwardine who presented 'Last Chance to See' last year with Stephen Fry gave a talk - I would have loved to have met him but it would have meant using a valuable days holiday from work.
Instead, we got to see Simon Reeve who has written a number of books on terrorism, including 'One Day in September' about the Munich Olympics massacre and 'The New Jackals' about Osama Bin Laden and the future of terrorism. He has also most recently presented the BBC series' 'Tropic of Cancer' and 'Tropic of Capricorn' - both of which I really enjoyed. Simon spoke about his life on the road and how even the most dangerous of territories can be warm and hospitable. He is currently working on a new series for the BBC called 'The Indian Ocean' where he and a team of four will be travelling to various countries in (and via) the Indian Ocean. They will be passengers on huge cargo ships - great big floating pirate bate... he seemed a little nervous. I can't wait to see the series.
Counting dow the days now till my next trip...