Getting in Touch With Your Inner Expedition Leader

Expedition leader

by Vlad Dolezal on February 12, 2010

I read a great post for bloggers by Cath Duncan recently, about tour guides and expedition leaders.

Cath says that some bloggers are like tour guides, explaining well-known territories clearly for first-time visitors, while others are like expedition leaders, taking their readers on a deep adventurous journey through scarcely explored lands.

It got me thinking not just about leading expeditions when blogging (see Lucid Dreaming, or my thoughts on the school system), but also leading expeditions in life in general.

And I realized we all have an expedition leader inside us. Every time you really care about something, you unleash your expedition leader and make it happen. Let me explain…

There are lots of things you might enjoy doing with your friends. Going to the cinema, or bowling, or going for a night out.

But for most of those things, you can’t be bothered to organize them. You’ll be more than happy to go along if one of your friends offers, but you don’t feel like going through the whole hassle of getting everyone organized, and arranging the time and place.

But then, once in a while, an opportunity comes along to do something so awesome you just CRAVE doing it… maybe you’re nuts into bowling, or, like me, ice-skating. So you love the idea so much, you don’t mind the extra effort of getting your friends organized, arranging the time and place, getting the tickets and all that jazz.

That day, you’re an expedition leader.

In other words, a leader is somebody who cares enough to make shit happen.

It’s fun and easy to go along with what other people are doing. But every now and then, it’s time to grab the bull by the horns, because nobody else really cares enough to do something about it.

Like organizing ice-skating with your friends. Like starting a business that fulfills a need. Like taking a whole country towards independence (see Gandhi).

So answer these questions for yourself:

  • What would you love to do with your friends that nobody else feels like organizing?
  • What do you want to see happening where other people just don’t care enough to do anything?
  • What change would you like to see in the world? What can you do about it?
  • What’s stopping you?

And when you successfully lead an expedition, it’s one of the best feelings ever. Not just because you have a pack of people following your lead…

You feel great because you made something happen that you really care about.

Give it some thought. Because sometimes it’s up to you to be the expedition leader, when nobody else cares enough to do something.

(Photo courtesy of curiousexpeditions)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

simply stephen February 12, 2010 at 13:42

Lead on McDuff, Lead on!

Following an expedition leader can be just as fascinating as being one. The passion they exhume takes you places you would otherwise never go.

BTW…I’ll have to get you into hockey, something I’m passionate about 😉
.-= simply stephen´s last blog friendly packaging made simple =-.


emma February 12, 2010 at 13:49

Yes, but how do you motivate your friends to do something that is so awesome for you, but something that they arent really that bothered about attending? Thats the problem I always have!


Vlad Dolezal February 12, 2010 at 15:51

@Simply Stephen:

Spot on. Some of my favorite bloggers (or book authors, or whatever) are expedition leaders. Just reading about their adventures gets you all pumped up and excited!

For example Benny the Irish Polyglot from Fluent in 3 Months always gets me excited with his adventures, even if I don’t car about learning languages at the moment 🙂


Kidnap their families and make them attend.


Lindsey Petersen February 13, 2010 at 00:12

Life is full of expedition leaders…we just have to encourage them to share their adventures!

Lindsey Petersen


Cath February 16, 2010 at 22:36

Hey Vlad,
Thanks for extending the expedition leader conversation. I’m with you in saying that each of us has the ability to lead, and I think it’s actually more important than ever now, to be a leader, leading your own life and creating the expeditions you want for yourself. Social structures, positional power and hierarchies can’t be relied on to “look after you” as they’ve done in the past.

And those are some really great questions – questions that’ll take people into expedition territory.

All the best in your ventures and adventures, Vlad!

.-= Cath´s last blog ..Kicking Off The Problem-Solving Process: The Problem with Problems =-.


Clyde Machine February 17, 2010 at 20:13

Hey this is interesting that I just read this. Tonight I’m the moderator of a panel-style discussion on human euthanasia and assisted suicide in my speech class, and just thought, “Y’know, I’d feel more relaxed and chilled-out about this whole discussion if I were just along for the ride, rather than taking the leader role.” That reminded me why I take the leader role for these things in the first place, to make things happen the way I want them to happen. It also reminded me of the many times I just go along for the ride and interject when the leader does something I’d like changed – effectively giving me the benefits of being the leader in these (informal) situations without the work of organizing events and such.

Maybe it sounds lazy, maybe strategic. I label it as unintentional. I like being the leader, and I don’t mean to be a backseat driver. I should probably take the leader role more often, I think. I’m 70% sure I should, so I think I will. =D
.-= Clyde Machine´s last blog ..A Lesson to be Learned: Critical Thinking Teaches =-.


Vlad Dolezal February 17, 2010 at 23:31


I’m generally not a huge fan of the “now more than ever…”-type sentences…

…but yeah, I agree :). I’d say the reason is more that leading is more convenient and easily accessible now (compare starting a blog now to starting a radio station a few decades back).

Anyway, I hope you continue leading expeditions as much as you have in the past! (And more!)


That last sentence made me crack a huge smile 😀

I think you mentioned good leading there… letting others shine when everything’s going good, but interjecting if you see a need for change.

Then again, I’m getting an incomplete picture about the situation just from your words. You know what’s best in those situations, so go do that 😉


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