Long Rider Mikael Strandberg
chosen to mentor
After making a perilous winter-time crossing of Siberia, Sweden's most famous explorer and Long Rider, Mikael Strandberg, was awarded a prestigious medal from the King of Sweden. The acclaimed author and equestrian explorer has now been asked by the New York-based Explorers Club to assist them in locating and encouraging the next generation of explorers. In between his travels, Mikael sent the following message to The Guild.
I am happy to report to The Guild that I have been honoured to take part, as one of a few chosen by the Explorers Club in New York to pick young explorers for the future, who need a grant to fulfill their vocation and dream. This year 83 youngsters from all over the world have applied for a grant of a maximum of 1500 dollars. I hope there will be plenty more in the future. It is interesting reading the applications, everything from youngsters applying for grants regarding the behaviour of bats in Los Tuxtlas to kayaking down an unexplored river in the Amazon.
The criteria are three, quality of proposed exploration, quality of grant write up and long-term benefits to society. It is no easy thing, since pretty much everyone should get a grant. But there are differences, no doubt, and for me, one of the most important, is why they want to do it. Most, unfortunately, with some very good exceptions, are doing it mainly for their own career, e.g. becoming a professor or researcher. I think we have plenty of these academics already and the world of exploration need more of the free thinker kind, the people who go their own way, who are not copies like so many others. People who also want to do it for the benefit of others. Not that easy to find in a world, where people get trained to advance their own good ahead of other, more important things.
Even though young people inspire me today, mainly with their unbroken self-confidence, after a while it does get a bit tiresome. A radio with ads would have been as good a company. Once again, there are plenty of exceptions. My great friend and one of the best partners I have ever had, Johan Ivarsson, seen in the left of the photo above, is one of them. He will always be my first choice for any Expedition.