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 another interview with one of our Expedition Leaders and Senior Instructor on our flag-ship Expedition Leader Training course: Gaz. Spending most of his time training our new leaders in the jungles of Costa Rica, Gaz has always had an affinity for the tropics, enhanced by 6 months working on a banana farm in Australia during his twenties. Driven to inspire people to get out and see the world through his writing and photography, his contagious thirst for adventure and personal quest to take people out of their comfort zone will be guaranteed to ignite a lasting desire for travel and adventure in you.
Why did you want to become an expedition leader?
To quote Harrison Ford, “I wanted to live the life, a different life. I didn’t want to go to the same place every day and see the same people and do the same job. I wanted interesting challenges.” This job undoubtedly provides exactly that. Waking up in different places each week surrounded by new people, adapting to new environments and changing circumstances and situations. That’s surely the way to squeeze all the juice out of life.
What is your favourite destination from the Gapforce portfolio and why?
That would have to be Costa Rica which has become like a second home to me. The lush jungles, beautiful waterfalls, diverse wildlife, friendly people and the coffee and chocolate are out of this world!
What is your favourite volunteer project you’ve worked on?
An elephant sanctuary in Thailand where I made friends with a beautiful baby elephant and shared some really special moments. She has sadly passed away since.
Describe a typical day during one of our award-winning expeditions
Apart from the action-packed itineraries you can expect from any of our destinations, our trips are inherently atypical; you’ll find yourself in a perpetual state of disorganisation having to pack and unpack repeatedly with the changing locales and last minute schedule changes because of unforeseen situations unfolding that have to be solved on the fly. It might sound chaotic but with our seasoned expedition leaders navigating the chaos it just makes for a unique whirlwind experience for every group with lasting stories and memories to return home with.
Tell us about your favourite moment or a participant’s experience from a trip.
Celebrating my birthday in the jungle with a really great group who prepared a jungle dinner party and even had my friend from the local indigenous village carry a gigantic chocolate cake up the river to meet us as a surprise.
What one piece of advice would you give to future participants?
PACK LIGHT. It is the easiest trap to fall in to and something that so many people ignore time and time again (I can be just as guilty). You are more resourceful than you’ll ever give yourself credit for but you’ll never test it if you try and prepare for every eventuality. It’s liberating travelling with minimal baggage and you’d much rather have the spare baggage allowance for souvenirs on the return flight than find it taken up by extra clothes you never wore. You will gain so much more from the experience by feeling open and unencumbered, physically and mentally.
What aspect of the job do you find most rewarding or inspiring?
Bearing witness to some of the transformational moments in people’s personal development. Everyone comes travelling with their own reasons whether it be escaping or searching for something. Travel can open your eyes to new perspectives and encourage you to readdress your principles and priorities. To be a part of this as individuals unlock their desires and potential and see them returning home with a sense of drive and direction to pursue something important to them is really fulfilling.
What would be your dream expedition to lead?
I would love to complete a source to sea trek along the Congo River or to compete in an expedition race like Eco-Challenge.