Alfie: Expedition Leader Interview

Alfie: Leader Interview

Charismatic, professional, and experienced leaders are crucial for any overseas group adventure. We are proud of our leadership team here at Gapforce, with many of our leaders having worked for us for many years and in all four corners of the globe!

We are therefore excited to release a recent interview with one of our most experienced leaders: Alfie. Born and raised with the South Downs National park on his doorstep, Alfie has always had a keen interest in the outdoors and adventure. After exploring through the mountain ranges of Laos, his lasting passion for travel was ignited. Since graduating from the Gapforce Expedition Leader Training course, he has had the opportunity to work in Peru, Ecuador, Nepal, India, throughout Europe and most recently back to Costa Rica to assist with instructing on the training course. Alfie is a keen mountain biker, and can often be found riding his local trails or planning his next adventure!

Why did you want to become an expedition leader?

I primarily wanted to test and develop personal leadership skills, while challenging myself in an intense environment. The ELT course was a good fit for achieving this.

What is your favourite destination from the Gapforce portfolio and why?

Every destination is quite unique. It’s hard to say what’s the “best”, as there are fantastic and also difficult aspects to each country and region of the world. I would say a part of me will always love South America after spending some time there, but also nothing quite beats the spectacular views in the Himalayas!

What is your favourite volunteer project you’ve worked on?

Our Amazon Wildlife Rescue program. An animal rescue, rehabilitation and release site, situated on the edge of the Amazon Biome in Ecuador. You get the opportunity there to work with some spectacular and rare animals, while also contributing to the project’s admirable goals of conservation and wildlife sustainability.

Describe a typical day during one of our award-winning expeditions

Day 3 on the trek to Everest Base Camp: Spending the day acclimatising at the Himalayan mountain village of Namche Bazar. You’ll take in the views, and sample some cake from the Nepali/German bakery! Nothing better than eating a slice of chocolate Oreo cheesecake at 3600 metres above sea level! Then it’s time to walk off the calories, and hike up to a local view point to allow your body to adjust to the thin air, before returning to the village to sleep the night, and then continue the journey onwards and upwards towards EBC the following day.

Tell us about your favourite moment or a participant’s experience from a trip.

Either seeing Machu Picchu for the first time in picture-postcard conditions, or reaching the summit ridge line of Kala Patthar at 5550m with my team, just as the sun was rising over Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Everest; a memory I’ll never forget!

What one piece of advice would you give to future participants?

Go into every challenge and obstacle with a broad perspective and open expectations. You’ll find the whole experience smoother, and learn more by being open to new ways of doing things. Not only that, but also when things don’t work out how you’d imagined or hoped you won’t be disappointed, and when you face those unexpected challenging situations, you’ll tackle them head on and come out the other side better for it!

What aspect of the job do you find most rewarding or inspiring?

Being able to help participants towards achieving their goals is an incredibly rewarding part of the job. Whether it’s to improve their self-confidence, to get over a fear of spiders, or learn a new language, it’s special to be a part of their journey. And also, having the chance to do this in a jungle or mountain environment makes for an epic experience.

What would be your dream expedition to lead?

I’d love to work in the Amazon rainforest again. It’s an astonishing and precious part of the Earth, and I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of seeing it’s full beauty. With regards to Gapforce, without a doubt the Expedition Leadership Training Course, due to the satisfaction that comes from working in the jungles of Costa Rica (where it all started for me) and for helping others achieve their goals.

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