Project Gratitude Vanuatu
Mountain Design Campaign
About: Lee and I want to change and touch people’s lives and therefore our next project in the #TravelDeeper series was to design a trek for Travelee. We have called the adventure ‘Soar’ and it is an adventure of the body, mind and spirit.
Watch our inspirational video on our trek here.
With the help of a very specialised team, Lee and I recently embarked on an exploration mission to Vanuatu to carefully craft an epic survival flavoured adventure to change the lives of anyone who joins our tribe and follows us on this escapade.
This once in a life time adventure is called ‘Soar’ and it forms part of my transformation component of Travelee. Soar is designed to change the perspective of participants and to get them out of their comfort zones in a fun team environment.
Our Soar Tribe
To ensure the ‘SOAR’ trek would be the most ultimate adventure, Lee and I needed an epic team to help us design it and support us whilst doing so.
My brother Olly was the main man, our survival specialist throughout the duration of the exploration and will be the survival leader for phase one of the trek. We also had medical support, a geologist to help us in the live volcano phase, a marine biologist, a fisherman and camp cook, and numerous local people to help us design and plan.
We started our mission in Port Vila where we got on a Twin Otter plane and flew to Southwest Bay which is on the island of Malekula.
Phase 1: Hiking and learning survival skills
For three days our team put our heads together and got to work designing the first phase to our Soar trek.
The first phase is the ‘hiking phase’ and will be run by our survival specialist and my ex-SAS brother ‘Olly’. Olly is a legend and an expert in survival and all things hunting and outdoors.
In these three days, trekkers will hike to Melip Village to Farun Village to Peskarus Village. This is a total of 65.5km along untouched jungles, beautiful beach bays and coconut plantations, all whilst looking across at the turquoise waters fringed with coral reef.
The epic side to this phase is that along the way and at the villages, Olly and the local people will be teaching trekkers about survival techniques and showing practical ways to bring out the survivor in them. This will be important for the next phase of adventure.
Phase 2: Primitive Living
The next phase is a very exciting one as it is unlike anything trekkers will ever experience.
In the village of Peskarus, trekkers will be welcomed by Lee and I where we will issue them buffs for the next phase and enjoy a dinner and beer whilst taking in the surroundings and getting to know one another.
The next day we will start the canoe/survivor phase of the trek. In this phase trekkers will be with Lee, Olly and I and we will be predominately living off the land. We will also have the help of a very renowned fisherman, Sam, who will help us catch lobster, mud crab, octopus, land crab and cone fish to cook up and eat.
For three days, we will canoe a total of 30kms to Sakoa Island, to Valau Island then back to Peskarus Village. During this phase there will be time for snorkelling, swimming with dugongs, exploring and interacting with the local people amongst other activities with Lee and me.
On completion of this phase trekkers will finish off at Peskarus Village for a celebratory dinner and dance with the local people.
Stage 3: Rising from the ashes
It absolutely blew our minds designing and planning the last phase the trek. This is a very monumental phase and is all about getting through the ashes of any circumstance you find yourself in in life. This is the ‘Volcano Phase’ and is the most significant.
Trekkers will boat across to the island of Ambrym to the local village of Port Vatu, and then make their way to Marum Volcano Camp 1 through the ash fields. Trekkers need to prepare themselves as they are about to be blown away by the landscape. Trekkers will feel like they are in Jurassic Park in some areas and on the moon and Mars in others. As the sun sets, we will take trekkers to an area where they can watch the glow of the volcano and witness one of the most beautiful sights they will ever see.
The next day, we will take our tribe over the spectacular ash plains until they reach a small climb over the rim of the crater where they will witness the bubbling lava lakes of the active Marum Volcano.
Trekkers will then hike back to Port Vatu and spend the evening dancing and celebrating the completion to not only the last phase, but the entire trek.
And out of the ashes arose a warrior.
Homeward bound and changed
Lee and I just spent the last 10 days designing a trek as part of the transformation section for Travelee. We did this with an amazing support team and we have come up with an itinerary that will be unlike anything participants will ever experience. The trek is designed to challenge and change participants whilst changing their perspective on life, giving them a deep feeling of gratitude and will leave inspired and wanting to change. Just like the name of the trek, it will help participants ‘Soar’.
We would like to thank our exclusive sponsor for our trip Mountain Designs for kitting us out with the most comfortable and tough equipment and for helping us bring out the absolute best in our future participants.
Get ready to Soar.
El and Lee