'Explore' for those of you who haven't heard of it, is the ultimate indulgence event for the expedition/adventure lovers among us.
Each year hundreds of enthusiastic speakers and delegates gather together in the auspicious halls of the Royal Geographical Society and spend an entire weekend planning adventures.
I can't speak highly enough about the event, nor tell you how effective it is at providing inspiration and practical help for anyone who has ever dreamed of heading off on an adventure.
If you live in London, then you definitely must go. I'd also argue it's worth travelling from other parts of the UK to come to (I first attended when I was still living in Northern Ireland, and it was the catalyst I needed to set off on my subsequent cycling adventures.) It really is that good.
This year's conference will take place from the 15-17 November. Visit the website for prices and details on how to book.
Below are 5 reasons why you should be there:
Explore runs specialised group sessions in all sorts of exciting things. Over the course of the weekend there are workshops in bicycle expeditions, deserts, arctic, overland, oceans, rivers, tropics, mountaineering, trekking, filmmaking, mapping, education projects, biological or human sciences,, photography, writing....etc! There are a lot - whatever you might want to do, there will be a workshop for it chaired by an expert. It's an incomparable opportunity to get to know the professionals and pick their brains.
Alongside the workshops, there are also regular lectures running from which you can pick and choose. These, as you might expect, are also run by the best in the business and cover topics such as project planning, marketing and PR, fundraising, health and safety, communication and navigation, and so on. If you're not sure exactly what you're into, then just join whatever seems most interesting. There's a great 'Inspire me' session on the Saturday morning to fill you with ideas.
3. THE PEOPLE
This is worth repeating - Explore brings together the very best of adventurers, scientists, geographers and academics. There are over 100 speakers giving lectures, staffing workshops and generally just milling around for a couple of days. Added to that, there are all the delegates - exciting folk from around the world drawn together to plan expeditions.
4. THE VENUE
The Royal Geographical Society in Kensington Gore is the unrivalled historical home of British adventure - the likes of Shackleton, Scott, Thesiger and many more have all passed through it's doors. If ever there was a venue to inspire adventures, this is it.
5. A WORLD PREMIERE!
I'm very, very chuffed to say that the world premiere of my film, Into The Empty Quarter, will take place on the Saturday night of Explore. After the workshops finish, we will screen the feature length version of the film in public for the very first time. By being a delegate, you get access to this otherwise private event! Alastair Humphreys and I still can't quite believe that we get to show our Thesiger-inspired film in such an esteemed venue. We just hope they don't change their minds before the conference starts...