The Kensington Explorers-In-Residence Series allows travelers to celebrate the great tradition of global exploration while following accomplished 21st Century Explorers on their expeditions to the most fascinating places in the modern world. Featuring Royal Geographical Society Fellows, Explorers Club Fellows, TV personalities and leading adventurers, these spirited men and women will inspire you with their riveting stories of personal endurance.
Kensington Tours invites you to follow their one-of-a-kind escapades through our Compass Blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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Jeff Fuchs is an author who has lived most of the past decade in Asia where his work and research has centered on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories and an obsessive interest in tea. Jeff gained prominence in the realm of exploration for being the first westerner to trek the daunting Tea Horse Road, one of the world’s greatest trade routes. His book 'The Ancient Tea Horse Road' documents this 8-month groundbreaking expedition covering 6,000 kilometers through the rugged Himalayan Mountains to uncover the mysteries of this vital route that has been so critical to the lives of the remote Himalayan people.
Jeff is a current member of the Explorers Club fluent in several languages, most notably in Mandarin, and calls the Shangri La County his home. His passion for exploration can be seen through his powerful photo essays which have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, World Geographic, Kyoto Journal, The Spanish Expedition Society, The Earth, The China Post Newspaper, Silkwinds, Outpost, The Toronto Star and The South China Morning Post amongst others.
Mikael Strandberg was born in 1962 in Sweden, and started his professional career as an explorer 25 years ago. The Explorers Club in London considers Mikael "the best contemporary explorer in the world" at the present. His expeditions have included; Chile to Alaska by bicycle (27,500 km including the "impassable" Darien Gap), Norway to South Africa by bicycle (33,000 km including pushing across Sahara Desert), New Zealand across Asia to Cairo by bicycle (90,000 km), a year with gauchos in Patagonia (3,000km by horse), a year with the Masai in East Africa (total immersion in the culture), exploration of the unknown Kolyma River in North-Eastern Siberia (3,500 km by canoe and skis - with temperatures below -60C). His Siberia expedition is globally hailed as one of the coldest ever in the history of exploration.
Mikael is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, Travelers Club and the Long Riders Guild. He was voted Explorer Hero by National Geographic in 2002. He's an Honorary Ambassador of his native district Älvdalen. He was awarded The Determination in the Face of Adversity Medal by the Explorers Club in 2005. The King of Sweden and The Travelers Club of Sweden awarded him the prestigious Silver Medal in 2006. The Travelers Club in Finland awarded Mikael the prestigious Mannerheim Medal.
From hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro and dodging bullets in the Libyan civil war, to summiting Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro and tracking Rwanda’s majestic silverback gorillas, American Lee Abbamonte is the youngest person to have visited every country in the world. He has been to 321 countries and the most remote corners of the earth. A travel writer, television personality, and global expert, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Circumnavigators Club, and the Travelers Century Club.
Abbamonte regularly appears on Fox News and has been seen on the Travel Channel, NBC, CBS, CNN, BBC, ESPN, and many others. He has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Discovery Channel, Money, Slate, OK! Magazine, Peter Greenberg, and many others outlets.
Referred to as the “Modern Day Indiana Jones,” TV personality, adventurer and renowned storm chaser George Korounis has dedicated over 15 years of his life to documenting natural disasters in the most extreme places on earth. Whether he’s chasing tornadoes or driving into the eye of hurricanes, George has a knack for being in the right place at the right time when it comes to witnessing and documenting jaw dropping forces of nature. On his most daring expedition, George brought his camera to Ethiopia where he was lowered 60 feet into the smoking crater of the active Erta Ale volcano to film on top of a newly hardened lava lake.
George is a member of the Explorers Club, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Canadian Council for Geographic Education, and was also nominated for Gemini awards in 2008 and 2009 for his work on Angry Planet. George’s efforts have been seen around the world on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer, BBC-TV, CNN and his own adventure TV program, Angry Planet, which has been broadcast in over 100 countries.
Author and Indophile Mariellen Ward shares her tales and insight as a solo female explorer on her award-winning website, Breathedreamgo.com which chronicles her exotic expeditions and is syndicated by the Times of India. With over 17 months spent traveling solo across the breadth of the subcontinent, she’s discovered a deep and abiding affinity for the land she considers her “Soul Culture.” Mariellen has been blessed by the waters of Ganga during the Kumbh Mela, explored the desert in Rajasthan while on camel safari, practiced yoga at ashrams, greeted dawn at Kanyakumari (the southern tip of India), visited the Taj Mahal during a full moon and watched the colors of sunrise splash against the vast, white Himalayan range.
Mariellen is the founder of #WeGoSolo, a growing movement to encourage female solo travel. In the fall of 2014 she will set out on a spiritual and cultural expedition following in the footsteps of revolutionary 16th century female poet Mirabai. This mystical Rajasthani princess cast the domestic pressures of society aside to follow her spiritual yearnings and creative dreams.
With over 25 years as a naturalist, diver and photographer, Green’s work in Galapagos and the Antarctic has received global acclaim. A graduate of the University of London with a BSc in Combined Sciences, his love for marine life took him to Ecuador where he trained as a naturalist with the Galapagos National Park and worked at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Green has been published in Time Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Royal Geographical Magazine, and exhibited at the Natural History Museum of London, Olympia Exhibition Centre of London, and others across the world. In 2009 Green led an underwater filming expedition to unexplored areas of the Antarctic resulting in a documentary that garnered international attention. He is a current Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and The Explorers Club.
Green is the founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project which, together with the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, has undertaken extensive satellite research of this enigmatic species. He hopes in the near future to use a submersible to follow the whale sharks down into their domain, beyond the depths divers can reach to determine if the Galapagos Marine Reserve is indeed where the whale sharks are pupping, a fact that to this day remains a mystery.
Star of the hit new show Boundless on the Travel and Escape Channel, Simon Donato is known across the world for being an ultra-marathon runner and adrenaline adventurer. The show features Simon as he travels across the globe competing in grueling endurance races at some of the world’s most challenging terrains. These extreme competitions include a 155 mile race through highlands and around volcanoes in Iceland, five day foot race in the Sahara Desert, paddleboard race from Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii and extreme mountain biking in Utah.
Combining his love of exploration and adventure, Simon founded Adventure Science, a company that specializes in leading scientists and search parties into remote locations using non-motorize means when possible. In 2012, Simon and the crew at Adventure Science led the search to find the missing legendary ultra-marathon runner, Micah True. Some of his other notable adventures include; the documentary film Go Death Racer where Simon and 3 other runners take on the Canadian Death Race, an ultra-marathon event high up in the Rockies and the Musandam Oman Expedition, where the Adventure Science team hiked on foot through the daunting northern tip of Oman to study tsunami depots and archeological sites. Simon is also a proud member of the Explorer’s Club and has a PHD in Geology.
Brett Rogers is a documentary filmmaker that has led expeditions on the Mackenzie, Yukon, Mississippi, Ganges and Mekong Rivers, spanning a total distance of over 6,500 miles without burning a tank of gas. Brett served as the Field Coordinator for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance where he gained a thorough understanding about the pressures facing North America’s fresh water supply. As a filmmaker, Brett has been mentored by Les Stroud (Survivorman).
Brett is a recent and proud member of The Explorers Club and has been featured by National Geographic Traveler, The Documentary Channel, Daily Planet, Canada AM, Weather Network, ABC News, National Post, Waterkeeper Magazine, CBC Radio & more. Brett has completed keynote presentations regarding his expeditions, highlighted by lectures at Columbia University, Louisiana Art and Science Museum, TEDx McGill, and the GreenXchange in Los Angeles, California.
A primatologist with a passion for conservation, Steffens has dedicated his life and research to community development efforts, environmental education, eco-tourism projects, and international awareness in Madagascar. Considered an expert in the field, his current research is on the impact of habitat loss and threat of extinction posed to lemurs, a primate with 100 different species (many of which are endangered) endemic to the isolated African country.
In addition, this 21st century explorer founded Lambas for Lemurs, a conservation education program seeking to inform local Malagasy people of the dangers lemurs face, promote the protection of these primates, encourage sustainable living and help locals understand how conservation efforts can help attract tourism. While not living in Madagascar, Travis brings travelers to remote wilds in Africa, Central America, and the Canadian Rockies. Travis holds a BSc and MA in Primatology and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto.
From his early works, We Stand On Guard, Earth’s Natural Wonders, Mysteries of Sacred Sites and the popular documentary series, Shop With Me, Mark has been making documentaries for over 20 years. In the mid-1990s after a vacation in Alaska combined with subsequent trips to the Arctic, Mark became inspired to get involved with research programs in the Arctic. His expertise in documentary films, as well as his keen interest in the polar region led to two award winning films – The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning and The Polar Explorer. Both films were made in partnership with the UNEP and premiered in the Climate Change Conferences and won a combined 20 international film awards for excellence.
Mark is a member prestigious Explorers Club, a 104- year-old organization comprised of the world’s greatest explorers. Mark is the recipient of the Explorers Club Canadian Chapter’s highest honor, the Stefansson medal for his international field work documenting our natural world. Mark is also the winner of the 2012 Gemini Humanitarian Award, presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television in recognition of his work with the United Nations with his documentaries. Working closely with the world’s scientific community in Antarctica and the Arctic earned him the recognition of the United Nations Environment Programme in 2008.
Oliver (Olly) is the youngest of 50 of the world's leading explorers featured in 'Faces of Exploration' alongside such luminaries as Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Jane Goodall, Sir Edmund Hilary, and Sir Ranulph Fiennes where he's described as "a representative of the new generation: modern, media savvy, high-tech, digital adventurer." Oliver has spent a large quantity of time living with and documenting some of the world's last tribes, including presenting 3 acclaimed Tribal Series: 'Living with the Kombai' and' Living with the Mek' both in New Guinea and 'Living with the Machigenga' in the Peruvian Amazon.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, and the Scientific Exploration Society. Olly has travelled, explored and caused trouble in over 100 countries including expeditions in Mongolia, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China, Syria, Jordan, the Amazon and New Guinea. Oliver is also an acclaimed investigative journalist and broadcaster. In the Discovery Channel series "Solving History with Olly Steeds", he explores some of the great mysteries of the world including Atlantis, Ark of the Covenant, Nazi Treasure (The Amber Room), Nazca Lines, El Dorado (Lost City of Gold) and even escaped from Devil's Island (aka Papillion). His work has been nominated for Emmys and Overseas Press Awards.
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