Often it is the unsung heroes behind the scenes, that make adventures like mine a real success. Many people have contributed in a variety of ways, but without these guys help I would still be sitting in my lounge in London. They have volunteered their time, and asked for nothing in return, to help make my trip a success. And they have done this because of their own interest in the expedition, and a shared love of adventure.
With that in mind I’d like to introduce the key members of the team.
Expedition Logistics Technical Adviser – Nathan Beard
Fascinated by exploration and adventure from an early age, Nathan has always felt at home outdoors and has worked and travelled in many countries. Strong curiosity about how things work, and an aptitude for putting them back together, has been instrumental in developing his practical knowledge of the systems and equipment required to live and work in remote places.
Following a Geography degree at Lancaster University Nathan has held diverse roles; from voluntary work in S America, via Countryside Management in the UK, Equipment Loans with British Red Cross, and naturally a spot of Rhino herding in Somerset! As Technical Officer for Tearfund UK (NGO) in recent years he managed global technical support for relief operations to keep essential vehicle fleets, communications equipment and electrical supply running. Nathan enjoys getting stuck in to the practicalities of helping people and equipment work well together in challenging and hostile environments. Fieldwork in Darfur, S. Sudan, Liberia, Haiti, N. Kenya, Afghanistan and DRC has developed his ingenuity, diplomacy and respect for humanity.
Last summer Nathan became a freelance provider of technical logistics training and support through Nathan Beard Ventures. Becoming a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society earlier this year provided the link to the Great Game Expedition. A rendezvous beneath the Waterloo concourse clock in January marked the start of his support and friendship.
Expedition Filming and Editor – Joby Newson
I’m Joby, a filmmaker, photographer, graphic designer and adventurer from Cardiff. I’ve been interested in taking pictures and making films for around ten years now and I’ve always had a passion for adventure, be it on a snowboard, down a cave or up a mountain. My goal is to one day make a living combining my creative and adventurous passions, and make films in the mountains full-time.
I’m currently working for Boulders, Cardiff’s indoor climbing centre, developing the retail side of the business online. It’s a great industry to work in, giving me the opportunity to meet exciting and adventurous people all the time.
It was through my job at Boulders that I got involved with Jon and The Great Game Expedition, in a roundabout way! I met Huw James, a professional science communicator, when he was doing some work as a climbing instructor, who also knew Jon through the RGS. I then made a film for Huw about winter mountaineering and ice climbing in the Brecon Beacons. It was when I was editing this film that Jon put a call out for an editor to help with the project, so Huw pointed him my way on Twitter and here I am! I’m really excited to be part of the project, and I’m looking forward to making something amazing out of the footage Jon brings back.”
Expedition Researcher – Tom Wilkinson
Tom graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2009 with a 2:2 BSc hons in Natural History and Wildlife Biology. During my time at university I learned to scuba dive as a part of my course and subsequently spent 4 weeks in Egypt over the next two years this included conducting underwater transect surveys. As part of my course I also travelled to Poland, the Isle of Rum and the Millport Biological Research Station on the isle of Cumbrae all in order to take part in wildlife research projects.
I was a member of the Cambridge University Officer Training Corp whilst at University. With the CUOTC I took part in military training such as infantry tactics and leadership, expedition planning and leadership and adventurous training such as parachuting canoeing and sailing. Upon leaving university I worked a few short-term jobs until I started working as an engineer for my father’s business where I continue to work to this day.
In October 2012 I spent a month in Malaysia which included two weeks trekking in the Borneo Rainforest on a Bush craft and survival course.
I volunteered to help Jon with the planning of his expedition in order to gain more experience in expedition planning and to learn from all the difficulties and challenges that he faced. I have benefited no end from both mine and Jon’s experiences during his overland journey and am now looking forward to my next adventure!
Expedition GIS / GPS Mapping – Peter Kohler
At 29 Years, Pete was born and grew up in the mountain Kingdom of Nepal. Inspired by the rich sights and sounds of the countries natural and human beauty and childhood adventures through endless rice paddies fields at an early age he developed a love and desire to understand cultures and nature.
Coming to the UK he read Geographical Information Systems & Science at Kingston University and now works for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and a Geographic Analyst. Pete has nurtured his passion further a Navigation and Mechanical officer on two expeditions for the Scientific Exploration Society to the Bolivian rainforest and with a Trustee of the Society to the southern Iraqi marshlands looking at preserving Mudhif and improving Marsh Arab’s standard of living in the footsteps of the great Wilfred Thesiger.
He has navigated 2,000 nautical miles in the south Pacific in a Gaff Rig Schooner and will soon be granted a PPL pilot’s licence. He is also a (MRIN) member of Royal Navigation Society and will soon be a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). Peter has also taken a lead navigation role for an amphibious expedition from London to Sydney.
Expedition GIS / GPS Mapping – Mark Nortje
To be considered part of the ‘team’ is quite a privilege as I’ve hardly contribute to the smooth running of the expedition. I look on from an interested explores perspective but I’m willing to help when/if necessary. I have advised Jon on some elements concerning photography and assisted in planning how the route will be mapped while Jon is on the road – I have a geographic background specialising in GIS. Communication, pictures and a map pinpointing location/progress have been important elements of Jon’s expedition. After helping with some research and giving my opinion on various GPS/Sat phone devices Jon made the final decision which evidently was the right decision as the DeLorme 2 has done a great job so far.
I hope to do a similar expedition with starting point being London and hopefully ending in South Africa, or back in London via South Africa. I know there is much to be learned along the way and awesome experiences to be had. I am quite envious of Jon’s expedition and get a great sense of adventure through the photos that are posted by Jon via social media sites. A journey of a lifetime.
Expedition Mascot – Kiwi Ted
As a member of the ‘on the road’ expedition team its been my role to act as sounding board and general support for Boris and Jon’s grand adventure. Being the calm and reflective member of the team, I have sort to bring a peacefulness to the often crazy and hectic days on the road.
Coming originally from New Zealand, I now live in Glasgow with my adventurous 6-year-old brother in arms, Matthew (who happens to be Jon’s godson). Knowing that Boris and Jon’s chances of success were slim without help, Matthew has sent me on a mission to bring them back in one piece. This will be my greatest challenge yet!!