Unlike most expeditions, which are neatly packaged events with well defined start and end dates, and plan, finances and sponsorship in place prior to the event,
this expedition just goes on forever. It's just not suited to the usual commercial sponsorship. Sponsors come and go.
Again, we thought the next drive would be when the expedition made it over the Bering Strait. Just weeks before the crossing a sponsor pulled out, then just after, our last sponsor pulled the plug, due to a management change and financial belt-tightening respectively.
We have been very lucky over the last few years, and managed to actively seek new support. For a while only private donations kept us afloat and it looked as though we were in real trouble. It's never a cut and dry thing.
We have supporters: companies who are more than willing to provide material support and
equipment, such as The North Face UK and the Zamberlan boot company from Italy who have supplied me with boots throughout, which is no small thing. But financial support or sponsorship is a very different thing and always elusive.
So far all our financial sponsorship has come from the US and Canada and I must say
it's been a little disappointing not to have received a little more support from UK companies.
We have had more private support from the UK from Frederick Forsyth and our friend
Recently we have been lucky to find a European company, North Code, who have financially
backed us, and an associated US company 5.11 Tactical, with whom we are in the contract stages. But these are not 'major' sponsorship deals and as such we are still potentially in the red when it comes to future moves in Russia.
Isn't being stuck in Fairbanks, Alaska driving you insane or is it providing a perfect opportunity to keep fit, take stock and plan ahead for the next epic leg of your extraordinary journey across Russia?
Alaska has provided me with a very good HQ for this stage of the Expedition.
We have friends here and could maintain, plan, and support the journey across Alaska,
the Bering Strait and Chukotka Russia.
Our route into Russia has been from Fairbanks
via Nome, Alaska, and a local airline - Frontier Alaska - has supported the expedition all the way, making the mammoth logistical task and expense a lot easier.
However, once outside the Chukotka region in Russia, (which we will be on the next push), I will no longer be able to enter Russia via Anadyr (Chukotka). There are virtually no transportation/logistical routes from Chukotka into the next region. I will need to find a new regional base somewhere in Asia. Also, yes, I'm having a hard time in Fairbanks right now… climbing the walls in fact!
Does the thought of hitting 'the road of bones' excite or terrify you?
The Road of Bones! Ho' one sweet day! Once I hit the road again it will take a lot of pressure off the expedition. It will remove the 'winter only' travel restriction, a big time consumer, and will allow the expedition to flow a lot easier.
Travelling through South America 'the slow way', one step at a time, did you find that your command of Spanish improved as you progressed north?
Without doubt, I knew no Spanish when I landed in South America; the only word I did know, I could not understand it when they used it. By the time I left Mexico I had my head around it! Now I have to work hard on my Russian.
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