Expedition/Life is the latest adventure in Jamie Clarke's adventuresome career.
Jamie has summited Everest twice (having previously been turned back by weather twice within sight of the top). Jamie has scaled all Seven Summits, crossed the Empty Quarter on a camel and climbed untold peaks closer to home.
Now, at 51, it’s time to take on his latest challenge — a motorcycle ride across Mongolia with his 18-year-old son, Khobe.
Some years ago, Jamie was shocked to discover that his son was spending four hours a day or more on social media. In fact, on average Canadians spend around three hours per day on their smartphones. His solution — an Instagrammable trip of a lifetime in the footsteps of Ghengis Khan, but with the phones tucked away. An opportunity to disconnect from virtual living, and a chance to re-connect with adventure. According to Jamie, it’s time parents stepped up to the challenge of encouraging responsible use of the social media world they enabled.
“Khobe is one of those kids that was born with a smartphone in his hand, and the realization that I fed this weighs on me heavily. I had no idea what introducing him to Blackberry and Brick Breaker was going to mean to him as an adolescent and adult. Today, the perception is that if you didn’t post it, it didn't happen.”
“We tried to set rules and parameters, like switching off our home wifi. But the kids would say ‘We’ll walk the dog’ and you’d find them poaching wifi at Starbucks in the freezing cold.”
The father and son digital detox will include an east to west traverse of Mongolia by motorbike, starting in Ulaanbataar and ending with an ascent of Mount Khuiten (Friendship Peak), the highest peak in Mongolia. It’s estimated that the entire trip will take approximately one month.
Their journey will cross taiga and steppe in the hoofprints of ancient and contemporary nomads. They will sleep in tents or traditional gers (yurts), whose distinctive wooden frames and felt walls house most Mongolian families living outside of the large cities.
They will document their progress using video and photography, which they will be happy to share - once they’re back.