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Just over three years ago, I set my second world first record!
A 155 day Mission of 1,600 miles, becoming the first person to trek the entire length of Madagascar’s interior, whilst summiting the eight highest mountains along the way.
On this expedition, I was able to partner up and raise awareness for the Lemur Conservation Network, an incredible organisation that has 60 on ground teams in Madagascar, helping to protect and preserve all the unique biodiversity of the island. When I say unique, 80% of all flora and fauna found in Madagascar, is found nowhere else in the world!
Along the way, I was able to highlight their efforts, showcase the beauty and experience what it is they actually do.
To name only a few wonderful things they do to help protect the island, they expand national parks, plant trees, help educate the locals and provide them with good means of work, they have been known to bring wildlife back from near extinction, to now flourishing in healthy numbers and keep track of the wildlife, the threats they face and how to protect them and their environment.
Along the way, whilst hacking through the jungle and scrambling up mountains, I came across new found areas of endangered species, where I would take note of the latitude and longitude coordinates and send these back to the LCN.
Find out more here: Forbes: This Explorer Wants To Bring Madagascar's Lemurs Into Your Living Room
I showcased the beauty of Madagascar in all its diversity and gained a global reach of over 350,000,000 people!
This raised attention to Madagascar tourism, who later announced me as UK ambassador for Madagascar tourism, another great honour.
You can see more here: Mail Online: Brit who became the first to walk the 1,600-mile length of Madagascar lands his dream job - as tourism ambassador for the country
Most who followed the journey, know that I was hit hard by the deadliest form of malaria, sending me off the radar for a short while, but luckily making a full recovery from the disease and being able to push on and complete the rest of the four months that I had left of the mission.
After the recovery and whilst pushing on, I couldn’t help but notice so many Malagasy who were either suffering from malaria or had a family member or friend suffering from it. It rips families apart, takes lives daily and strips so many people of living a normal life.
On my return, I was announced special ambassador for Malaria No More UK, an organisation who are striving to end Malaria in our lifetime and who has the backing from very big names, to include David Beckham, Bill Gates, Sir Andy Murray and many more.
I was able to give my personal take on the disease in parliament, alongside Annie Lennox (from Eurythmics), addressing the UK Government to increase their pledge to the global fund by 20%.
A huge group effort, teamwork and persistence, this became successful and helped to raise a total of over 1.1 billion pounds, to help save 8 million lives from Malaria, HIV and TB by 2020.
You can read more here: Malaria No More: Malaria Must Die!
Looking back at all of this, it just seems like it’s a fairy tale and really is true that you can turn the darkest negatives into such great positives.
I hacked through almost impenetrable jungle, was held up at gunpoint, had to scramble from forest fires, cross crocodile inhabited rivers, was bitten by spiders, feasted on by leeches and almost lost my photographer during a nighttime river crossing in the cyclone season!
Not to mention, having to take a cockerel named Gertrude for two weeks up three of the highest summits on the island!
Would I change any of it? No!
If I pressed rewind, would I take a hit from Malaria again, so I can go on to help save lives from the disease in the future? Yes.
Here’s to that crazy bonkers mission, what it put me through, but more importantly - how it stripped me down and built me back up of even stronger materials and substances and helped me to try to help others.
And here’s to humans being so damn resilient