James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

48 Hours

48 hours after becoming involved with the Amazon expedition, I found myself piling kit into a rucksack and heading North for Windermere. As I sit and write this, the aches and heavy eyelids of busy weekend are receding and the revision is mounting. It’s amazing how much can be covered in just a short weekend, it ends as quickly as it starts, and before you know it you’re sitting back at home on Monday wondering what just happened.

Within just 48 hours we covered canoe competence, machete safety, camp craft, communications, science projects and much more. In just 48 hours I’d met and got to know a fantastic and enthusiastic group of people, all committed to exploring a remote and challenging corner of the Amazon rainforest, and inspiring the next generation of young people.

A lot has changed over the years, and I can only read about such things in the tales of great explorers. There are no more undiscovered lands, expeditions no longer depart on boats, communications can be made at the touch of a button, and help is (relatively) close at hand. But as the team converged upon a small hut on the edge of Windermere, it struck me that a few things will probably stay the same.

No matter how advanced the technology, or what experience the team might have, there will always be a point, where everyone is gathered around a map, deep in conversation, minds tracing imaginary lines across the wilderness. An expedition is still a step into the unknown, sometimes it is a huge leap.

Time is relative, a lot can happen in 48 hours.