Benedict Allen

Started the half term by heading over to Norwich after work, and a swift pint before settling down to hear Benedict Allen talk about his adventures. He took to the stage after this short showreel.

I was interested in his take on exploration. He has always placed himself in the hands of indigenous people, originally because he said he didn't have what it really takes to be an explorer: money.

He described his early expeditions to Papua New Guinea, the Namib desert and the Russian Arctic, and his recent return to Papua to find the people who helped him when he was younger.

He ended with his 'rescue' by the Daily Mail, who probably wanted to keep the Tory party's woes at the time off the front pages.
"For me exploration is not about conquering, it’s not about planting flags, and I know people think I’m some sort of neocolonialist. For me it is not about asserting yourself it is about the opposite. It is about being vulnerable ... to immerse myself. And that means being on a level with the local people and that means not being able to be whisked away whenever you feel like it, because you’re feeling a bit ill."

Benedict said at the end that we are all explorers, and that exploration is in all of our hands. We should unplug and head out somewhere that we'd never been. There were still unexplored parts of the world to be found. I was interested to hear of his return to meet people, and to 'go back' (something which some explorers wouldn't choose to do - the 'been there, done that' mentality) 
He had also done his degree at UEA, and done his fair share of exploring in the Norfolk countryside, and on the coast.