Jamie Maddison, 24, prepares for 15,000km expedition through 20 countries in Eurasia
AN INTREPID adventurer hoping to embark on a 15,000km expedition across the vast wildernesses of Eurasia is offering to reward anyone who sponsors him with souveniers picked up along the way.
Former Marling School pupil Jamie Maddison, who lives in Whitminster, plans to pay homage to the little-known British explorer Sir Charles Howard-Bury by retracing his 1913 journey through the barren terrain of Central Asia and Eastern Europe later this year.
Accompanied by a close friend, the 24-year-old intends to set off in May to mark the centenary of Howard-Bury's historic trip by first riding 1,700km on horseback east to west across Kazakhstan and then cycling 3,000km through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The remainder of the pair's 6-month adventure, which will span more than 20 countries, including China and Russia, will be completed on foot, by rail or by barge.
To give SNJ readers an incentive to fund the expedition, the friends have devised a list of souveneirs they will send back to donors in return for their contributions.
In exchange for a £9 donation, for example, they will send their benefactor a personal postcard, for £15 a lucky horseshoe, for £25 a Kazakh riding whip, or for £35 a pair of cosy Kyrgyz slippers.
For £5,000 the pair will even go so far as to personally organise a horseback journey in western Mongolia for two people who will have the opportunity to meet and ride with Kazakh nomads and golden eagle hunters.
"We are trying to get the people of Stroud to back the expedition in return for an interactive experience," explained journalism graduate and travel writer Jamie.
"It is a way of sharing our experiences in the countries we visit with the local community back home."
The friends have already raised £8,000 for the trip but they require another £10,000 if they are to attempt the full journey.
Jamie, who has been working in hotels and outdoor clothing shops to raise funds for the trip, has received a £1,000 bursary from the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and a £650 award from the Wilderness Lectures organisation towards the expedition.
For more information about their trip or to make a donation, go to: www.indiegogo.com/osa