What is exploration, Benedict Allen style?
“In a nutshell, it’s about leaving things at home! Your GPS, satellite phone, modern transport, sponsorship and companions – all these things may well be useful, but they each get in the way. They impose a cost on your objective: they keep you in your comfort zone and prevent you from engaging with, and therefore understanding, alien terrain. I‘m not talking here about scientists, who of course need these devices to further a serious mission, but for all the rest of us who are trying to get to know a place. And especially the professionals: how else can we in this day and age claim to be “explorers” if we aren’t truly face-to-face with the environment we are “exploring”? We become less and less explorers, and more and more like adventurers or athletes. Incidentally, all this backup also of course undermines any physical achievement. If you’re dependent on these aids, are you really “unsupported,” or “solo” as you plod on through the wastelands? I know I’m being harsh, but it’s also the sad truth: with such backup at your disposal how do you know that what you’re doing is through your own ability? Maybe you shouldn’t be tackling Everest, but a nearby hill!”