Expeditions. Adventure. Exploration.
We organise expeditions not tours. They are exploratory in nature, team-centric and flexible. Inspired by the great explorers throughout history we strive to set ourselves ambitious goals and overcome the same hardships that have gone hand in hand with the audacious journeys of the past. We go to places and work in areas that others do not and because of that we are truly different. As a result our expeditions require a robust and spirited attitude - Most of the time we rough camp in the jungle, on mountain tops, in the desert and surround ourselves with wilderness. We travel light, walking long distances and relying on local food sources - which can vary in quality! This all adds to the character of the expedition and allows you to really get under the skin of the places we visit and more importantly, have an awesome adventure!
At Secret Compass, we put the structure in place to enable the team to have an amazing experience and achieve the aim of the expedition. Our founders military background ensures only the highest standards of planning and safety. We have contingency plans in place for all likely scenarios and rehearsed incident and emergency plans if something goes wrong.
That said, this is not an organised tour. More often than not plans don't run smoothly! The nature of the areas we operate in mean that we will encounter a number of challenges that we expect everyone to meet and relish. Friction and hurdles are all part and parcel of an arduous expedition and also to our success as a team. These make the journey more interesting and are often the best and most amusing parts when looking back.
Local Bureaucracy – our relationships with local people in the lands we travel through are crucial to our success. Often though there is no established protocol for outside visitors and so occasionally we will get caught up in local political power struggles or disagreements. Luckily, we have years of experience in delicate negotiation, and enjoy the conversational chess struggle, especially when through an interpreter!
Transport infrastructure – the areas we travel to are especially remote and transport infrastructure is often ageing, inadequate and sometimes non-existent; roads flooding, bridges collapsing, fallen trees and vehicles breaking down and getting stuck are all par for the course. We thrive on the challenge this provides – overcoming it is more rewarding! Be prepared to get stuck in and push occasionally!
Weather and natural events – Desert sand storms, the monsoon coming early, landslides across key paths, winter coming early, gale force winds and driving snow all make for a more interesting time on the expedition!
Local Partners - We can only do what we do with the help of people in the communities we travel through. NGO and aid workers, guides, fixers and interpreters are all important. These people work extremely hard and are incredibly generous in their hospitality to us, visitors in their land. Please remember that they are from a completely different culture to you and look at life from a different perspective. They will not have the same concept of time, environmental responsibility or "customer service". They will be late, may be unreliable (in our eyes) and will do things completely differently to us. Again - all part of the fun.
Food – in some area we operate in, we have to rely on local food sources. This can often be outstanding, but can also be very average. We will always make the best out of the resources available, but it is not likely to be up to Jamie Oliver’s standards!
Being part of the team.
At Secret Compass, we have a team mentality towards the expeditions we run. Like all teams you will have a leader provided by us, who will give direction to the path the team follows. However, crucial to success, especially when the going gets tough, is the attitude of the team members. We ask our participants to muck in and help out with most aspects of the expedition, from fetching water, preparing and cooking food and carrying some group kit and equipment if appropriate. There is no typical expedition member. Participants usually come from a range of backgrounds- young professionals; doctors; consultants; engineers; teachers; armed forces members and journalists have all been on board. What bonds them all is the spirit of adventure and...
Sense of humour – Exactly what is says on the tin. Things aren't that bad!
Positive outlook – Look on the bright side of life, when the 4x4 breaks down, the rain comes early, the food is very average, it shouldn't dampen the mood but adds to the character of the expedition.
Team spirit – Everyone clubs together and helps each other out, whether it be when people are struggling, helping to prepare meals, fetching water, we work together to achieve the common goal, the aim of the expedition!
Active – This will of course depend on the nature of the expedition but generally speaking you will need to be fit and healthy and confident in your abilities.
Safety Plans and Risk Assessments.
To understand more about our comprehensive approach to risk, please click through to our page detailing more information.