Tuesday, March 03, 2015

CheapTents Interviews Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Way back in 2008 CheapTents.com conducted an interview with Swedish explorer Mikael Strandberg. At the time, Mikael had already racked up an impressive string of expeditions that included a 3000 km (1864 mile) journey across Patagonia on horseback, as well a 1000 km (620 mile) expedition on foot across the Maasai Mara in Africa. He also had explored Siberia by skies and canoe, as well as cycled from Chile to Alaska, amongst other journeys. Now, seven years later, CheapTents has posted a follow-up interview where they discover that Mikael hasn't been resting on his laurels.

In the interview, Mikael talks about his return to Siberia, where he traveled amongst the Reindeer People who inhabit that cold and desolate region. The explorer talks about the challenges of preparing for such a journey. For instance, he put on 20 kilos (44 pounds) of weight to better adapt to the cold, but found himself out of shape an unable to move has quickly and easily as he would typically like. Mikael also talks candidly about his experiences in this remote area, where the nomadic way of life is becoming increasingly rarer. 

Switching gears from the frozen wilds of Siberia to the hot deserts of Yemen, Strandberg also traveled by foot through the Al Mahra desert. Of that journey, Mikael says "The Yemenis are among the friendliest, warmest and nicest people on earth. And it deserves better than some poor job done by Western media just looking to sensationalize things." Clearly his experience there was far different than the stories we are generally fed through traditional outlets. 

Mikael goes on to share insights on the different challenges of traveling through extremely cold and extremely hot environments, his interactions with the people that he meets along the way, and what it was like to conduct a long-distance expedition across England. All in all, it is very interesting an eye-opening interview that I'm sure many of you will enjoy. 

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