I do wonder what kind of mental breakdown I’d be having if I decided to give up my current life and jet off on some grand exploration of some unknown land. That said, an explorer is just a bloke exploring somewhere he’s never been before, so in that case, if I took a trip to Croydon, would that make me an explorer? Hmm. Farther afield? Okay, then. “Mum, I’m off on my new life as an explorer!” “Where you going?” “Belgium.” It’s obvious I haven’t been very many places, isn’t it? Even if I did find an unchartered land, like, a shit huge island in the middle of the ocean that everybody has missed until now, it doesn’t sound very safe. Surely the point of exploration is to explore the undiscovered and the unknown. I like knowing what I’m getting in to and I’m frightened not knowing what could lie ahead. “Hello, natives! I sure hope there’s no super malaria around here!” I wonder if they’d be offended if I turned up in a huge bubble…
It’s easy to believe our entire world has been explored and that there’s absolutely nothing left to discover. I assume teenagers are particularly guilty of this. “Why do I need to chart unchartered lands? Isn’t there an app for that?” Sigh. There are jungles, deserts and regions rather hilly in nature where no human has ever ventured. Probably for a very, very good reason. As shocking as it sounds, I do like the appeal of going to these places. To be the first. I’m so used to being last, it would make for a pleasant change.
To this very day, explorers are uncovering unknown regions, climbing mountains never climbed before, and exploring unknown villages where anthropologists are busy at work cataloguing these strange new worlds. Our world is constantly changing. Economics, global warming, natural resources and politics are changing the very fabric of world all the time, and opening up new and exciting opportunities for adventure and travel. It’s estimated that up to eight million species of insect remain undiscovered. I love all this. I love not knowing equally as much as I love knowing. Imagine that. They found a new frog in a newly discovered cave recently. Imagine the magic of being the first human to have ever laid eyes on it. And it on you. “What the hell is that giant pasty pink thing grabbing me! HELP! Help! WHERE’S MY PANIC WHISTLE!”
Where would I go? It comes as no surprise that there are countless books dedicated to places where no human has gone before. Ha, and we talk about space being the final frontier. We got lots all around us, apparently. The interior of Labrador in Newfoundland is virtually unexplored due to its inhospitable climate. That doesn’t sound great. Inhospitable is one of those words that remind me of those yellow signs with that poor dude being zapped by a bolt of lightning. Somebody looked at that and said, “Hey! This would be a real bad place to visit!” That said, they could’ve just said that because something really great is around there and those early explorers wanted to keep it all for themselves. “Oh no, there aren’t any huge gold deposits here, it’s erm… totally inhospitable. Yes… that’s correct. Totally inhospitable. Big giant lions everywhere.” “In Canada?” “Erm… yes. Of course… Ahem…”
Large swathes of the Sahara desert are unexplored, too, but I’ve been to Egypt and that was far too hot for my liking. Also, it’s just sand. Exploring sand is no different from watching paint dry or banging your head against a wall. ‘Yup, I’ve been doing this for six hours now and not only am I bored, I’m also covered in a rather alarming amount of blood and I think I’m also slipping into un…’
Caves are an appealing target for any intrepid explorer, or me… whatever the opposite of intrepid is. Cowardly, probably. Although cowardly explorer is probably an oxymoron, of sorts. The world’s deepest cave, in Georgia, still has unexplored passages that could go on for miles and miles deeper and deeper underground. But I do get claustrophobic. And I don’t like smashing my head off rocks. Equally, I could climb some mountains. 159 of the 164 peaks of Tibet are unclimbed and incredibly hard to get to, but worth it. An undiscovered fertile oasis was found in one recently. I also get altitude sickness. And I don’t like climbing things. Too much effort, really. I can barely get up the stairs without a tank of oxygen…
There’s under water to consider, of course. We know more about space than we do about the underwater regions of our little blue rock. FACT. It’s an unknown frontier, that’s for sure. That said, I do get tremendously seasick and the last sub I was in didn’t agree with any of me, not just my stomach. Somewhere land based seems the best option for me. The Vale do Javari region of Brazil is home to at least 14 tribes yet to be contacted by the outside world. So fiercely protective of the tribes, the Brazilian government has appointed federal agents to guard the region’s borders to prevent outsiders from entering. Sounds like a challenge. Not one I’m up to, of course. I’ve had government agents point guns at me before, in Egypt. Oh, you know the old tale. I was in an airport, I was on my dad’s passport, he was already in the taxi. Don’t go to Egypt, basically.
It does sound like I’m on a downer about all this exploration malarkey and that’s because… I am. All that said, the northern forest complex of Myanmar does intrigue me. The steep slopes of the easternmost Himalayas are completely untouched by human hands. I mean, the only thing putting me off this last great wilderness are the huge bears roaming around everywhere. And the gibbons. I’m okay with the pandas. Less okay with the world’s largest tiger preserve. I’m most fearful of the gibbons, if I’m being frank…
Greenland sounds like a nice option. Most of it is unexplored, because most of it is nipple sharpeningly Baltic. Hell, we found six islands previously not known about, as recently as 1999. God only knows what I might uncover. A super tribe of giant sexy Amazonian women? Yes, I don’t know why they’d be in Greenland… or giant, for that matter, but still. It’s a thought 37% not at all terrifying. Maybe 39%.
Cape Melville in Australia sounds more like my cup of tea, for sure. For a start, it’s warm, but not too warm. One can only access it by helicopter and even then, it’s dangerous and difficult. Only the surface has been scratched by humans, as recently as 2013, and new animals have been discovered already. That said, Australia is home to the 1,000 animals most out for human blood, but still, it’s a lot less dangerous than North Sentinel Island in India. They do not like outsiders. Only a small handful of outsiders have made ever it on to the island and most are now a bit dead. They were the ones who threw spears at a helicopter, once. I don’t think they want to be contacted, but still, it does make you wonder if they’re guarding something. The Holy Grail? The perfect bacon sandwich? Who knows…
If I were an explorer, I would like to explore… erm, nothing, really. What? There’s no shame in being a totally lazy coward with about as many balls as a dead juggler. What? I’m just not an adventurer or an explorer or anything other than a totally insignificant speck on the tail of time. And I think we all know that specks on our tails are perfectly normal and nothing worth worrying about. Ahem…
So no, I would not even consider being an explorer, but if you forced me, I’ll take the death tribe. THEY SPEARED A HELICOPTER, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!
That’s cool as beans, that is…
But where would you visit if you were an explorer, readers?
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