Each month we’ll be featuring one of our most valuable Explorers, the lifeblood of the We Are Explorers community. Here’s Mike Pidgeon, a proper English adventure seeker and outdoor connoisseur currently living in Sydney…
What’s your day job?
Well, unemployed sounds so negative but I guess that’s what I am at the minute. I graduated from University in the UK and have been living in Sydney for 2016 on a working holiday visa pouring pints and shaking cocktails. I’m travelling around New Zealand at the minute and shall be looking for jobs back in Aus in the near future (anyone with any wicked jobs going that they know of, hit me up).
What got you involved / inspired in the outdoors in the first place?
I guess my family. We’re quite an adventurous bunch. From a young age going on backpacking-esque holidays and hiking/camping adventures got me hooked early on.
What’s your essential piece of outdoor gear you never adventure without (and why?)
My GoPro. Hands down the best piece of gear I have ever owned. No matter the activity I’m always reaching for it to stuff it into my pack. Now I know most might say something practical that could be used to help them or to make their adventure more comfortable but I’d happily venture out with nothing but the clothes on my back and GoPro in my pocket and I’d feel like I was all set.
Where’s your favourite place to microadventure in Oz?
Hmm, this one’s a toughy. The Kanangra Boyd National Park is definitely up there. By being a stone’s throw (in Australian terms – 4 hours) from Sydney and only an hour or two further than the Blue Mountains this idyllic secluded playground is one I’d go back to time and time again.
Do you prefer solo or with friends? Why?
Hands down, without a doubt I prefer scooping up a few mates in the car, driving into the unknown and exploring, with the day finishing with beers, barbeques and a good ol’ laugh around the campfire. You can’t go wrong with this recipe. However I am partial to going solo from time to time. You can go at your own pace, not feeling like you’re holding people up if you’re tying to get a shot and you meet WAY more people if you go it alone. Most of the time I end up doing the same thing of an evening, just with new people. Who can complain!
What camera gear you use?
I keep it uber simple. Possibly too simple. But I’ve never been one for a heavy pack. I use a GoPro hero 4 Silver (has the little screen on the back). That’s it.
Have you had any disasters on one of your trips? What happened?
Probably the nearest to death and/or major disfigurement was down at Horse Head Rock (242km SE of Canberra). Me and a friend got up to see the sunrise behind the rock and as the tide was coming in we had to climb around the headlands to get there. One particular shady bit of rock decided to crumble from beneath my feet and I fell 10 feet below. Luckily having the agility of a feline I managed to miss the rocks directly below me and land on the sand, shortly getting soaked by a wave (another benefit for the GoPro). Unharmed and with a fresh heart full of adrenaline and some soggy clothes we sat down, having got cut off by the tide, and watched a beautiful sunrise.
What’s your dream adventure in Australia or NZ?
West Coast road trip without a doubt. I had planned on doing it within my year but Sydney being Sydney I was rather strapped for cash and couldn’t afford it.
Why did you get involved in the Explorer Project?
I had been using We Are Explorers articles for a while as inspiration for trips and outings and one day a friend said why don’t you send something in to help other people find places to go. Here we are.
So you have to be stranded in a tent with 2 people for 2 days – who would you choose and why?
David Attenborough – That man could talk for hours about something as menial as paint drying and I’d still be transfixed by what he was saying. I’m sure he has a crazy story or two as well.
Will Ferrell – He could just reel off quotes from his movies. I’d laugh so hard that I’d be so exhausted I’d probably sleep for the two days straight anyway.
In a past life, which Australian native animal were you?
It’d have to be an Emu. Long and lanky, but altogether harmless. Also in the explanation I just read about the Emu it says they like frolicking in ponds and lakes. I do enjoy a good frolic.
Also if you haven’t already look up blobfish. A native animal over here apparently. It gave me a good chuckle.