Tech Scorpion Top 5 – 5 Things You Need When Saving The World
If, like me, you’ve been stirring for a while… restless in your routine, and there’s a hole in your life you want to fill with action; then congratulations, you are a hero in the making. Now you’ve decided you are going off adventuring and to tackle the world’s problems, you need to think about what you will need. Well it just so happens I’ve dabbled with this lifestyle this year, and I can help you a little with your preparations. Some of them might come as a surprise.
Yes, they’re ugly, ridiculed things. They were a craze for five minutes ten years ago, why am I suggesting these? Because, dear reader, I wish I had owned some whilst I was being a heroine in the Central Americas. They became the envy by me and many fellow conservationists who had not had the good fortune to be told to get some. They are lighter and easier to take off then other waterproof footwear (essential when travelling and working hard!). And if you don’t have any waterproof footwear, be prepared to wear sodden, heavy trainers for several hours because there was a freak tide (every ten minutes), and then it was rainy season and they never have chance to dry, and, and, and *insert reason here*. You can’t go around barefoot because your midnight patrol for turtles means you can’t see your hand in front of you let alone what you are treading on. Or your conservation in the rainforest means you could end up on a well camouflaged snake. Crocs, my friend. Crocs. Who knew?
The solar panel in a pocket
Kindles and eBook readers are good because it means you can have lots of entertainment in a very compact light space, perfect for travelling. Likewise, when you want to unwind with a game on your phone after a hard day of labour. But if you’re out bettering the world, chances are you are in a remote place that might not have electricity. Or, more likely, it has electricity but there are frequent power cuts because it’s just so darned rubbish. So how do you use the cool bits of tech you have with you? I found the Solar Charger on a keyring absolutely fantastic on my journey. Sometimes just looking at its solid little frame gave me some reassurance. I would stress not to scrimp on this one – the charger I bought only worked a couple of times and seemed to get fried. A fellow crusader was kind enough to let me borrow his when he wasn’t charging. It was a more expensive model, but it was reliable and charged quickly. Which is great when you don’t have much sun to take advantage of!
Head torch with a red light
There are several reasons why you’ll need a head torch when saving the world. Mostly because a lot of the time work is done in the dark. It could be because its cooler and the best time to work, or perhaps you’re conserving a nocturnal animal. Or, again, you’re somewhere with no electricity and you just need to wander to the toilet/pit in the middle of the night. You’ll need to keep your hands free, so the strappy head torch is essential. Here’s the twist – get one with a red light function. Yes you’ll look cool and like you’re in the army. But when everyone around you is wearing head torches in the pitch black, you’ll quickly discover it will blind you quicker than staring at the sun unless they’re red. Plus, when it comes to working with animals, it’s less stressful for them, some can’t even see in that spectrum.
Comfort Food and Skype
There will come times when saving the world and bettering mankind and its friends comes second fiddle to homesickness and familiar comforts. It is vital you prepare for such occasions, otherwise it can get so serious you can cut short your heroism and later regret it. Make sure there is room in your travel bag for foods you love and you know you won’t be able to get on your travels. I took chocolate cereal bars. I knew where I was going there would be a lot of physical exertion involved in humid climates, and I needed something that would preserve fairly well. That would be there for me at 3am when I had done 3 hours and 7 miles of patrol work for poachers, or in the mornings when I just didn’t want to eat another bowl of rice for breakfast. Just remember to ration! Skype is another fantastic way to relieve any homesick blues, so if you can, have this app on a reliable device. It might not be possible where you are going however, due to signals and power. As a back up, I found taking a journal and just writing my thoughts to people I knew was a great comfort, and when you can show them on your return it’s a fantastic little memento and insight into your amazing hardships and efforts.
Now this is quite a controversial one I guess, because Deet is incredibly bad for the environment. And you want to save it?! There are Deet free alternatives out there, but I’ve never found them useful, who knows perhaps you’ll find different. But saving the world seems to go hand in hand with battling bites, and the little suckers are particularly attracted to tasty me. I knew I needed to focus on the job at hand, and suffering from hundreds of lumps and bumps from sand fleas and mosquitoes was going to be a game changer. I went all in and bought cans of Deet bug spray to take up room in my bag. This is one to be mindful of if you are planning to work with animals. Many of the team leaders tell you not to wear any repellent because they don’t want it near the animals. So check with the organisation before stocking up. If you really cant get this stuff (and I will pray for you, poor souls) then the alternative is to take lots of skin covering garments with you.
Ok, so there’s a sixth in this top 5… Just bring as many as you can. Trust me.