2010 - things can only get better!
I remember the start to 2010 well. It consisted of a blurry morning after a heavy New Year's Eve celebration, eating one of the worst cooked breakfasts I had ever known - 2010 could only get better! Happily it did, and our first team flew out to Bolivia a few days later, starting yet another year of unforgettable expeditions.
As well as the usual tales of extreme trekking, ice climbing, rock carrying, puma walking and children's games in South America, here in the office we were entertaining ourselves with tales from our notorious team of Quest leaders we had out there this year. There was the husband - wife team of Matt and Sarah Brimble in Bolivia (expeditions are the ultimate test on a marriage it seems - happily they came out the other side smiling, and still married!). Also, Matt's regular TWO HOUR phone calls, where he would constantly remind us how busy he was, left us somewhat confused.
Then there was Emily, who must surely now hold the record on the number of hospital visits for her teams (what do you do to them Emily?!), and our cool Californian Rob, whose teams apparently invented the new word "Robsession" - are you sure you didn't have a hand in that one Rob??? Thank God for Pete, whose emails to the office tended to be little more than "All's well, I'll be in touch again in a week" - thank you!
Equally, across the water in Africa there was never a dull moment. Our first team had a few false starts due to a certain Icelandic eruption (Effyjak... Effifik ... that volcano!). When they finally managed to take to the skies however, one student decided to add to the challenges by losing his passport in transit, and getting stuck in Nairobi airport! You can't get a new passport without going to the embassy, you can't get to the embassy without leaving the airport, you can't leave the airport without a passport...?! Two days of haggling with the local police however and the conundrum was solved, phew!
At the same time, we finally passed the £1.5 million mark for funds raised by our charity Quest4Change. EVERY PENNY of this has gone directly to our projects overseas, and thanks to everyone which has contributed to this fantastic effort. This year our school in Villa Maria, Peru has doubled in size, 3 more pumas have a new home, dams have been built in 3 communities in Kenya providing year round clean water supplies, the infrastructure at our orphan care project in Malawi has increased, the list goes on.
Our expedition routes were breaking new ground as well. New trekking routes in Bolivia, kayaking across Lake Titicaca in Peru, and the first steps towards a mind blowing new expedition through east Africa - lucky 2011 teams!
Back here in the UK we refused to be outdone by our intrepid explorers, and marathons, triathlons, and epic treks of the South Downs Way were keeping us out of trouble (we'd be lying if we said we weren't a little envious of the guys overseas as well...).
2010 seemed to go by in a flash though, and December came round in next to no time. Thinking back to that awful greasy spoon breakfast which brought the year in, we were determined to see the year out in better style. So our annual Quest Reunion came to the rescue (just before Christmas rather than on New Year's Eve, but near enough...) - a fancy black tie do in London with casino, caricaturist, good food and drink, and some wild dance moves from our students and leaders made for a great end to another fantastic year.