I'm Chaz Powell, a 37 year old adventurer and expedition leader from Shropshire, England. I believe I have the explorers’ gene: I just can't rest without thinking about my next adventure. I have always been that way, ever since I can remember. Once you start exploring and planning adventures, it becomes even more difficult to stop, and to then slot back into a 'normal' 9 to 5 way of living your life again is just not possible.
Last year, I decided to walk the length of the Zambezi. The aim was to take a wild journey in a relatively unexplored part of the world, to travel by foot through the remote areas surrounding the Zambezi's banks, and to learn in depth about the different people, their cultures, the wildlife, and the environments in which they all live. Also, I wanted to try and make an impact by doing such a huge journey, which in turn would raise an awareness and funds for the devastating wildlife loss caused by poaching.
Every day of the trip, something incredible seemed to happen, from meeting the humble people who invited me into their homes and fed me on a near daily basis to those little moments where I was alone in the wild with a sense of complete isolation and solitude. On the trip, I learned how hospitable people can be that have nothing. I was humbled daily by the wealth of kindness and generosity in the hearts of those who live along the river.
But I have also learned a lot about the negative sides of humanity - greed, corruption and the selfish acts that we perform to line our own pockets. The killing of innocent elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns is one of those negative sides. I saw the devastating effect of this industry first-hand.
I also learned about my own determination to get through difficult times: I nearly died when I became lost and disorientated in the dry and overgrown bush high above the river. I ran out of water, becoming sick from dehydration and I was overheating rapidly. I was forced to seek shade and activate my SOS on my satellite communicator, where I was told that the nearest helicopter was over four hours away. I knew I couldn't survive for that amount of time. So I drank my own urine and somehow managed to clamber down near vertical cliffs and back to the safety of the river. I really don't know how I managed to do it: I was so lucky to have survived that day. But has that stopped me? Absolutely not.
Unfortunately, I had to postpone finishing my walk of the Zambezi due to security issues in Mozambique. I am still remaining of 600 km left to walk, so will be heading back in August to try and walk that section. Since being back I'm just writing about my Zambezi adventure, doing talks and planning unique and exciting future trips.
I also have two UK projects: first, to walk the length of all of its major rivers from source to sea, and secondly to walk the length of all the national parks whilst summiting all of their highest peaks. I have already walked the river Severn and walked the length of Snowdonia whilst summiting its 40 highest mountains. I also have a very ambitious project to walk all of Africa's great rivers from source to sea, and I'm putting together a possible project to hike the length of the Blue Nile in late 2018.
I think it's so, so important for people to take adventures and explore more. Such trips help us to escape the daily stresses and worries of life; connect back with our natural outdoor surroundings; keep fit; meet like-minded people and to follow our dreams. I think that Explorers Connect is an awesome way of bringing people together for the same cause – adventure.
For more about the trip, click here