Things you learn about yourself when travelling the world

When traveling the world, learning about different cultures, learning about oneself, and pushing limits every day, AH HA! moments are likely to occur. After one month of group travel, it was time for our team to reflect on what we had accomplished during stage 1 of the Expedition Leader Program. A life changing experience of this scale has made all of us come to a few realizations in the first 4 weeks, thus Keri and Jess, our Pure Exploration Program Leaders, asked that we attempt to put these realizations into words. We were tasked with finding at least one moment that either reaffirmed our thoughts on something or got us to completely rethink our perspective on a topic.

Reflection in China

After a few days of traveling, giving us lots of time to ponder, we came together at our hostel, Red Lantern House in Beijing, to discuss our thoughts. Quite beautifully, everyone’s AH HA! moments were distinct, well thought out, optimistic and insightful on how the trip has allowed them to understand the world and themselves better.

-        Outgrowing people, jobs, places and situations is okay. You should not feel any shame or guilt for leaving toxicity, old patterns, or boredom behind to pursue your own journey to happiness.

-        Humans are all connected no matter how drastic the disconnect might seem at first glance. Manners, values, connections, relationships, traditions, songs, history, rituals, and so much more. Similarities can be found cross-cultures in almost every aspect of human life once an effort to understand our differences is made.

Drinking with the locals

-        Setting boundaries and expectations for other people is crucial to your well-being and happiness. Learning to say no and taking care of yourself first will help you maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

-        Sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone and leave home to appreciate the life, things and people we have known for years.

-        Give yourself the time to think of the moments when you felt most happy in life, and chase that feeling. We have so little time in this world. Focus your energy and attention on these special moments.

Playing with the locals

-        The mind is a powerful thing. In fact, much more powerful than we often believe it to be. When faced with a seemingly impossible challenge, focus your energy on your mental state and allow yourself to accept and push through it. You’ll achieve so much more than you believed yourself to be capable of.

-        Traveling allows you to find out whether stability or change is most important to you. The instability and freedom that comes along with the sort of journey we are experiencing whilst on the Expedition Leader Program can help you reflect on what your comfort zone is and what sort of lifestyle you are hoping to have post-travels.

-        Being true to your word shows consistency, accountability and growth. Not only does it allow you to build trust with the people around you, but you will also cultivate a better relationship with yourself.

-        There is an abundance of kind people in the world. Traveling in countries where you don’t speak the language or have a mild understanding of the culture can sometimes be a challenge, but seeing strangers helping each other, taking care of one another, and being surrounded by a supportive team gives you a strong sense of hope and optimism for the future of humankind.

Caring for eachother in Laos

-        Mindset is everything. Continuous longing for a bigger and better life takes away from our ability to appreciate the life we have now. Circumstances are always changing and focusing our attention on those which we believe to be negative will only drag us down and inhibit our ability to see the bright side of things.

To think that we are only one third of the way into our travels and have already come to these realizations almost feels overwhelming. Three months of learning experiences will teach anyone plenty about the world and themselves. We are thankful for the opportunity we have been given, continuously searching for new ways to learn, looking at the future with hopeful eyes, and hoping we can share these AH HA! moments with anyone who crosses our paths.

Working with the locals Laos2

Chloe is one of eight participants currently on our Expedition Leader Program, which is a Pure Exploration comprehensive overland program designed for those looking to gain experience in leading International Expeditions or are simply looking to grow as individuals, furthering their own self development journey. The program is currently located in Thailand as they come to an end of their second month and are about to fly to Nepal for their final leg of the Expedition Leader Program. If you’d like to find out more information you can contact our team directly here.

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EXCITING NEWS! Are you interested in our Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ but you've not been able to commit for financial or timing reasons? What if we told you that we now have a 6 WEEK ADVENTURE GUIDE PROGRAM AVAILABLE? This 6 week program offers rock and hiking adventures, plus participants will still get the opportunity to undertake their pre hospital emergency care (PHEC) and SWIFT water rescue training and qualifications! We're so happy to be able to offer this awesome condensed program to you all from January 2020, if you're interested in finding out more, flick us a message!


If you're interested in our Adventure Guide Program (AGP) in Queenstown, let us introduce you to "PHEC". Pre Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC) is an intense five day, crucial part of the AGP which trains participants to deal with a myriad of emergency situations. Please note the photos are not real life and are the result of great acting skills in order to recreate real life scenarios. If you'd like more information about the Adventure Guide Program or PHEC, feel free to reach out. Thank you to Peak Safety Ltd for your ongoing support!


Check out the video below to hear Program Leader Keri share her experiences from the Expedition Leader Program with us. The three month immersive program wrapped at the end of August and we were lucky enough to steal 4 minutes of Keri's time to get a sweet snapshot of what the 90 days in Ecuador, Galapagos, Peru, China, Laos, Thailand and Nepal was really like!


We loved having our Adventure Guide Program participants volunteer with the Wakatipu Restoration Trust last week on some important projects in Arrowtown! Thank you for having us, and we're looking to joining you again next time 😀


Goodbyes have been said, reunions have been made, photos have been uploaded and time has been spent reflecting. We are thrilled to hear how much our Expedition Leader Program crew enjoyed their 12 week experience and we're so proud of what each individual achieved! We wanted to share with you one last blog from program participant Chloe, summarising the key things she has taken away from the Expedition Leader Program. Whatever you're doing in your life, we feel as though it's an important and powerful read. Enjoy, and feel free to check out the teams awesome photos in our recent album we've uploaded. We're warning you now - every photo is envy worthy!


EXCITING NEWS!!!! Pure Exploration are SO excited to share our latest offering for our 2020 Adventure Guide Programs - CANYONING! Keen to sign up for one of our 12 week programs, but don't think that rock climbing is really for you? No drama! The canyoning option is now available for you to do instead of the rock climbing strand, enabling you to spend time in the water (splashing around, slipping and sliding between canyons) as well as your hiking, pre hospital emergency care and swift water rescue training. We are offering the NZOIA Canyon Leader qualification alongside the NZOIA Bush you'll also undertake over the 12 weeks. Panicking that we've dropped rock climbing? Don't be, we're still offering the rock module (which proves to be increasingly popular), we're just introducing canyoning as a further option! If you're keen to hear more just flick us a message!


What is this PHEC you might hear us mentioning from time to time? PHEC stands for Pre Hospital Emergency Care, and there's a reason we keep banging on about it - if you're heading out to the back country it's vital knowledge to have. You could save a life. Regardless of whether you're heading out bush, there's actually never a bad time to undertake Pre Hospital Emergency Care and that's why we incorporate it in each of our Queenstown Adventure Guide programs. Our Patagonia Adventure Guide Program and Expedition Leader Program also feature a wilderness first aid qualification. Check out this article to find out more about PHEC and how it teaches you the skills needed to become an asset in an emergency.


For those of you who are interested in our Adventure Guide Program as you'd like to get your foot in the tourism industry, look no further. Dana, an alumni from our Adventure Guide Program in 2017, was kind enough to give us a life update at the end of last year. Since graduating from the AGP the wonderful Dana has been a Director of Operations, Lead Guide and a Naturalist in the US. We'll be checking in with her shortly for another life update. Until then, have a read and join us in celebrating the successes of Dana!


The Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown was always a tough one to name. The word adventure summons up thoughts of gripping journeys discovering untouched lands, undertaking challenges that your dreams haven’t even dared explore and of course, an envy worthy Instagram feed. But of course, it's so much more than that! So, in reality, what is the Adventure Guide Program? What should participants expect from it? Check out our latest blog on our website for the "6 things you should know about the Adventure Guide Program in Queenstown, NZ".


Is #throwbackthursday still a thing? We're not sure, but if not, we're bringing it back! As our Adventure Guide Programs are kicking off for Spring and Summer 2019 it seemed an appropriate time to share Deni Zawalski's awesome Queenstown AGP video with you all. What's more, talk about a success story, Deni now works for Southern Lakes Heliski right here in Queenstown. Yup, she's living the sweet life long after graduating from the program! For those of you who are wondering what life could look like after the three months on program, flick us a message. We have heaps of awesome stories about alumni who have gone on to work in the industry here in Queenstown, and we would take pleasure sharing their successes with you. Thanks for letting us share Deni!


We were curious to find out why some of our participants chose to join us on our Expedition Leader Program earlier this year. Chloe shares her reasons with us, maybe they're something that you can relate to as well!


A huge welcome to our 11 incredible participants who have joined us from all around the world for our Adventure Guide Program here in Queenstown NZ! We're excited to show you our home, watch you grow and share in your successes over the next 12 weeks! Oh, and they're eager too - check out the evidence captured of their lake swim in the depths of winter ❄🏊‍♀️ we love the enthusiasm - brr!


Things you learn when you travel the world 101. "Outgrowing people, jobs, places and situations is okay. You should not feel any shame or guilt for leaving toxicity, old patterns, or boredom behind to pursue your own journey to happiness." Check out the blog below to hear more Ah Ha! moments our Expedition Leader Program participants have identified on their travels so far.


Interested in our 12 week Adventure Guide Program in Patagonia but feel a little freaked out at the thought of reaching out for more information? We get it. That's why we teamed up with the guys at to write an article all about Patagonia, hoping that it gives you an idea as to what you can expect from this sparsely populated, jaw-droppingly beautiful region which is home to some of the world's best hiking trails and rock to climb! Keen to hear more? No drama, flick us a message and we'll sort you out with some more enticing information about the program. Just don't blame us when you've canned the job and booked your flights for our November intake! 😆👌


"Growth, vulnerability, pushing limits, authenticity, connections. These all come with being on the ELP team. When I signed up for this trip, I knew it would be a life changing experience in a ton of ways, but somehow, after only 1 month, we have all changed beyond expectations in more than one way." Please check out another one of Chloe's incredible, gripping blogs to find out more about how travel and adventure, plus everything that comes along with it, furthers ourselves in our own personal development journey.


Ecuador, Galapagos, Ecuador and ...China?! What were both the expectations and the reality of China on our Expedition Leader Program.


Last week our 2017 AGP Alumni and favourite German, Michel Affkerback, left NZ after almost 2 years with us here in Queenstown. Michel has been accepted into the Arctic Nature Guide program at the University of Norway to further his guiding career even more. It was an absolute pleasure to have Michel around, and to see his gnarly climbing, hiking and ski touring missions whilst he was in NZ. We miss you already Michel, and cant wait to hear all about your next adventures!


Meet Katherine! She is an alumni from our Adventure Guide Program having completed it in early 2019. Katherine explains what she learnt on the AGP and the skills she now feels equipped with in life. Katherine has also made her home in Queenstown, New Zealand since graduating. Curious as to what you can get out of the Program even if you're not looking to become an Adventure Guide? Check out the video below, or shoot on over to our Instagram for further thoughts from Pure Ex alumni!