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a blog by Chris Barrow

Oman 2018 – the emotion, the coaching and the tactics of the trip of a lifetime

The Emotion

I want you to imagine falling asleep under the most amazing star field you have ever seen. After unbroken dreams of beaches, deserts and mountains, you wake as the dawn begins to break. Emerging from your sleeping bag you look around at the desert landscape – The Empty Quarter – three times the size of the United Kingdom. Walking a short distance away from the camp, you stand and listen – to silence. So profound that, to quote Brian Blessed when he ascended Everest, – “the silence is so complete that you can hear the world turning.” At the end of the day as the temperature drops, you slowly climb one of the endless and enormous dunes and, at the summit, watch the sun descend to a distant horizon, absorbing a 360 degree panorama of such beauty that your heart and soul swell……….. When all the noise of modern life is stripped away – we find ourselves – in unexpected places. Oman 2017 was a voyage of exploration – we were discovering our 4 C’s:
  1. Commitment – to the idea of creating regular experiences for our clients

  2. Courage – to take the roads less travelled

  3. Capability – to ensure seamless organisation and the safety of the team

  4. Confidence – to repeat and expand our activities, knowing that we can do it well Oman 2018 will be an expedition as well as an exploration. Our focused aim will be to deliver an unforgettable experience to our new team, to ascend two very different summits and to deliver training and coaching that will make them think deeply about what matters most. I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to places that bring back so many inspiring memories, to sharing that journey with new friends and to assisting the 7explorers leadership team in delivering a unique coaching experience. Oh – and once more listening to the silence.

The Coaching

The theme of our coaching programme during the Oman 2018 expedition will be:

“Beyond survival – how to thrive in your environment”

Expedition leader Sandy Sanderson and I will conduct a series of “power hours” over breakfast, in which we will take a specific topic and share top tips on how to survive and thrive – first “in the wild” and then “in the modern world”.

Sandy and I have often spoken at length about how everything that happens on expedition (and what we do about it) is a metaphor for the challenges that we face in our day to day lives, both personally and professionally.

We are going to take 6 topics (one each Power Hour Day) and look at how what we learn about wilderness survival can teach us important lessons to take home and apply every day. We will be looking at:

  1. Building camp;

  2. Creating safety;

  3. Ensuring adequate nutrition;

  4. Planning economics;

  5. Effective Leadership & Teamwork;

  6. Maintaining balance.

The “Power Hours” will contain practical and theoretical work that will stimulate your mind (and no doubt initiate conversation), before we set off on whatever mission has been chosen for the rest of that day.

The Tactics

Those who follow my Facebook Profile will know that Sandy Sanderson, co-founder of 7 Explorers has been creating a daily video that includes footage from my original iPhone diary of the trip, plus some of his own excellent photography.

If you have missed that and want to take a look, simply go the 7 Explorers Facebook Page HERE. Follow the Page and you will be able to see the full 2017 trip unfold.

The 2018 Oman trip is of a shorter duration (14 days) and will be a more focused journey with specific goals in mind.

We intend to revisit three areas from this years’s journey, places that impressed us, and aim for two outstanding achievements.

The three areas will be Wadi Sayq, The Empty Quarter and the Jebel Akhdar mountain range.

Wadi Sayq is in the remote south of Oman, accessible only by boat and an area of outstanding beauty for it’s long sandy beach, mountainous surroundings and a bewildering variety of flora and fauna down in the valley itself.

The Empty Quarter is the largest uninhabited desert in the world, three times the size of the UK and home to one of our two targets – to walk to the top of the highest sand dune in the world, discovered earlier this year at 435 metres above sea level.

The EQ was the highlight of my 2017 trip – a simply stunning visual experience.

Jebel Akhdar will be the final destination as our 4WD’s will head North across the desert and towards the mountains, where we aim to trek to the top of Jebel Shams, at 3,000 meters, the highest peak in Arabia.

Then it will be back to Muscat for some R&R before we fly home.

What you need to do next

You can download a PDF guide to the trip from the 7 Explorers web site HERE.

Included in the cost will be a trip to Northumberland for a training weekend in late November  2017, where the guests will meet us, meet each other and take part in basic skills training for the main event.

Whilst a reasonable level of fitness can be expected, there are no special skills required for the Oman journey – we are trekking and not technical climbing.

Candidates will, however, be interviewed to establish suitability and safety.

Amongst the many USP’s associated with this trip – the most important is that only 4 guests will be joining us, along with myself, Sandy and our expedition doctor (as well as a local Omani guide), there will be just 7 people travelling from the UK.

Do you want to join us?

Take action now and download the guide from the 7 Explorers web site home page HERE , then apply for an interview to join us in February 2018 for an experience that will change your life.

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