Mikael Strandberg has completed his expedition to cross Yemen by camel, overcoming logistical obstacles, bureaucrats and the unrelenting heat of the desert in the process. The journey, which I've written about a couple of times in the past, was not an easy one as the Middle Eastern country has faced civil unrest in recent months, but it was a historically and culturally important expedition that had an impact on not only Mikael himself but the people that he encountered along the way.
If you haven't been reading Mikael's dispatches, I suggested checking out his blog where he has been telling the story of his travels. He is still filling in the details of the journey, but the posts that are in place there are compelling and fascinating to read. Strandberg was joined on the expedition by a young woman by the name of Tanya Holm and a few local guides helped lead the way through the deserts of the southern Arabian Peninsula. Their stories from the trail are a unique and interesting take on a country that many of us in the west don't have a good understanding of.
On July 4th Mikael posted an excellent entry on his website announcing that it was "Mission Accomplished" for Expedition Yemen. In that piece he talks about his travels in thoughtful detail saying that at times it felt like he and Tanya were the first people to visit some of the areas that they trekked through. The remote areas of Yemen remain wild, mostly unexplored and untamed and the passing of these westerners was big news amongst the hardy, but few, people who can manage to eke out a living in that beautiful but desolate place.
Mikael's stories paint a picture of how important exploration remains in our modern world. There are places all over the globe that remain mostly unexplored – including some that are right under our nose. Thankfully we still have men and women like these who still have a desire to visit those lost corners of the globe and share their adventures with the rest of us.
Congrats to Mikael, Tanya and their guides for completing this epic adventure. One that the people of Yemen will apparently talk about for years to come.