Ethics and other stuff...

Ever had one of those days when you want to say something but the words just don't come. You want to share a thought or two but the brain has stopped functioning? Well I'm having one of those days today. What better excuse could a guy ask for, to introduce a guest blogger and friend, Ripley Davenport. You've already met his better half, Laura, when she kindly agreed to let me share her thoughts on what it's like to be the wife of an adventurer. You can read that here if you missed it first time round. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Ripley. Like me, he likes a bit of walking now and then and gets a bit of outdoorness* when ever possible. I followed his trek across Mongolia earlier this year and will be following him when he does it again next year. I'll be following a bit closer though next time. Quite a lot closer actually 'cos I'm going with him. Yep, Ripley, me, a few camels and a well chosen group of guys and gals from around the world. Tell you what, I'm going to shut up now and let Ripley tell you about it. But before I go, the picture below is a camel, not Ripley.
Our expedition isn’t going to change the planet but we're trying to do something good. We really, really, really want to leave things a little bit better than we find them and be accountable for our behaviour. We got our little heads together and mutually decided that we will do our expedition in a more progressive manner, where we take responsibility for the effect of our expedition on the indigenous people and their environment, and, in return, do as much good as we can. Our journey is a real expedition with real people with moods and bodily smells, where we can have a positive effect on our future generations and the wonderful world around us.

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing some well deserved cash, positive cultural exchanges and a cash bonus to protect their beautiful natural environment. This is responsible tourism. Mongolia needs it. We are going to see to it that there is an economic benefit to the local community; we’ll buy local stuff, eat local grub and not use horrid expedition foods in foil packs, and use local services, thus ensuring that as much money as possible is given back within the local economies and the host communities.

Of course, we’re far from perfect, so we can't expect them to be either. Our plan is to meet people who struggle to make ends meet. The Mongolian people are always openly happy to help, with a real smile and not our plastic western version. Achieving our expedition goals will be a long journey, just like our walk, and probably one that will never end, but every small positive change is a step in the right direction and we’ll promise not to cut corners. We shall be using the services of local drivers, cooks and translators and treat everyone as we would like to be treated ourselves. With respect, dignity and open minds.

We’re delighted and jumping for joy that we won’t be using flashy 4X4 off road vehicles that tear up the terrain or use a stash of private jets or helicopters that litter the airports and atmosphere. In fact, when we're not busy walking and talking to amazing people, there's nothing we’d like better than to load up several four legged spitting stinky beasts and taking a stroll across the country. Naturally, this means that we have decided to use traditional forms of transportation rather than some oversized 4X4 with go faster stripes. We feel our camels are better than air-conditioned vehicles, which require expensive fuel and cause noise, damage to the vegetation and terrain. We also think it’s nice to use traditions. Our four legged friends are much more Eco friendly and require less servicing! Of course, animals are far slower but we want to take our time and not rush things.

Our camels will be treated with tender loving care and respect. After our expedition they will be gracefully returned to their lives and - and no doubt - greatly missed by us!

*quite possibly a made up word but sounded good at the time


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