James Willcox (How to travel safely to the world’s most dangerous places)
In this episode of the Judgment Call Podcast James Willcox and I talk about:
- How James got into travel in the first place and why he started Untamed Borders?
- What is information arbitrage in travel?
- The best and worst of traveling to Afghanistan.
- Why ‘post conflict’ countries as so rewarding for travelers.
- Does Untamed Borders make use of armed guards for their tours? How does the travel agency manage security on their trips?
- Have there been ‘close calls’?
- What are typical clients of an Untamed Borders tour?
- Has ‘adventure travel’ been getting more difficult?
- How is travel to Somalia like these days?
- What secrets does the Amazon still hold for travelers?
- How travel changed James views on religion?
You can watch this episode in Youtube – The Judgment Call Podcast Episode #33 – James Wilcox (Travel to the world’s most dangerous places).
James Willcox is co-founder of Untamed Borders, a travel agency that can take you safely some of the most dangerous (and most beautiful places) on earth.
James has been an avid traveler for more than a decade and has been traveling to Puntland, Somaliland, Somalia as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan and many more destinations.
You may reach James via LinkedIn.
Apologies for the sound quality of this episode on my side – various improvements are on the way!
Welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast, a podcast where I bring together some of the most curious minds on the planet. Risk takers, adventurers, travelers, investors, entrepreneurs, and simply mindbogglers. To find all episodes of this show, simply go to Spotify, iTunes, or YouTube, or go to our website, judgmentcallpodcast.com. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes, or subscribe to us on YouTube. This episode of the Judgment Call Podcast is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium. For full disclosure, this is my business. We do at Mighty Travels Premium is to find the airfare deals that you really want. Thousands of subscribers have saved up to 95% in the airfare. Those include $150 round trip tickets to Hawaii for many cities in the US, or $600 life lead tickets in business class from the US to Asia, or $100 business class life lead tickets from Africa round trip all the way to Asia. In case you didn’t know, about half the world is open for business again and accepts travelers. Most of those countries are in South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. To try out Mighty Travels Premium, go to mightytravels.com slash mtp, or if that’s too many letters for you, simply go to mtp, the number four, and the letter u.com to sign up for your 30 day free trial. We talked about what you do a little bit before, but obviously I’m still in the dark to my extent. Help me understand a little better how you got into extreme travel in the first place. How did your own travel story start? I mean, without wanting to take a sort of tangential view already, I’m not always desperately comfortable about the term extreme travel, to say this is what, you know, this is James Wilcox, this is Untamed Borders, this is extreme travel. So just in general, because what we try and do, as well as guide people and organize logistics in countries, is to try and show them in a much more nuanced way, to try and give people a kind of a bigger experience of the countries they’re in, a cultural experience, the geography, the geopolitics, is certainly one part of that. But to then sort of pigeonhole that as extreme and being like, well, that’s the reason why anyone’s going to go to Afghanistan or Somalia or Ethiopia or anywhere we guide. It doesn’t sit that well with us. I mean, if someone wants to call it extreme tourism, that’s fine. It’s not a big deal. I’m not so caught up on it. But it’s not a term that I particularly like, but if you want to say, how did I get into like setting up a company that started off guiding in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Absolutely. I wouldn’t use or think of it in any way as a negative thing. I think it’s very courageous when you guys do it. It’s very spectacular that you are able to put the spotlight on regions that are much safer, you know, undiscovered to the traveler. And I know you’ve done this through on time borders, the travel agency did to start it, but you also have done this probably before. That’s what I wanted to get at. So I know not all of your travels are probably extreme, but I see extreme as extremely interesting, not in any way negative. Absolutely. And I think that’s the thing. And I guess what I always fear is by putting sort of labels on things is that you feed into the narrative of the only thing about the countries that we work in is that they’re, you know, there’s a risk, and then you get the idea of extreme. But how I began with untamed borders, like you, as you said correctly, like I always, I love, I always like love to travel. I mean, in my 20s, I worked in different jobs in the UK and London, and I save up some money and then I’d go traveling either in the Middle East for a while and then come back or in East Asia. I mean, the kind of things that lots of people do, lots of people who are younger do that kind of thing. I don’t know why. I mean, part of it is you don’t want to do a normal job. You want to get away from it. Part of it is to see parts of the world, get different experiences, meet other people, like many people. It was great. And in 2007, I was on a trip through the Middle East and Central Asia, and I met two guys, one from Pakistan and one from Afghanistan. And they both primarily worked with professional people. So with researchers, with documentary makers, with journalists, with photographers, but sometimes with tourists as well. There’s people interested in the region. And they wanted to work more with tourists. They, in the same way that I was talking about, extreme travel before, they wanted to kind of do less of this kind of showing the bad side of the countries there. And they wanted to show the positive areas and the beauty and the interesting things. And I liked that idea. And we talked about a three of us starting a company together, and I didn’t really think there was a place for me in it. But what I did say is I would work with them. I built a website. It was the beginning. 2007 was then social media was just kind of getting big. Everyone was starting to get their Facebook pages, 2006, 2007. So suddenly, these two guys are the guy from the UK, who if they didn’t, you know, suddenly you could have a travel company with a Facebook page, which had the same reach as any other company in the world. And so after six months of a year, we managed to get, you know, we started guiding people, people were interested, we managed to run some trips. And I was like, actually, I mean, this is what I want to do. This is an amazing opportunity for me. And we’ve restructured it, registered in the UK in 2008. And that’s how we began in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And now, I mean, it’s COVID, but we have worked in between 25 and 30 countries across the Middle East, Russia, former Soviet Central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Central Africa. So it’s just expanded partly due to the interest of the people that we guide and partly due to once you start working in regions that are quite interesting and less touristy, I meet people in the development world, in the conflict media world, in all sorts of areas where I can get contacts and find information and be able to operate in other areas. So that’s in a nutshell is how untamed borders began. Yeah, I’ve been watching you guys for a couple of years. And I think it’s a it’s a fantastic story that you guys have created and what you’ve built. And this podcast is about risk takers. And the idea is to get a sense of how people perceive risk and how they deal with it and how they come out on the other side. And hopefully, they don’t just learn from it. But that’s obviously the most important part. They also create something interesting and sustainable in the process. And I’ve been always been mesmerized by the description of your trips. And you mentioned the countries that are very difficult to access. I have never been to. I’ve been to 130 countries, but I’ve definitely shied away from going to Iran by myself, Afghanistan. I want to go to Pakistan, actually. So I want to dive into this. And I’ve been to Ethiopia, but I haven’t obviously been to Somalia. So there’s a bunch of countries that that I think everyone who travels a lot is very curious about these war stories and they might be made up. And but there’s always someone who flies into Somalia, who flies into Mauritius. And kind of it gives us a report of basically guns and steel and tanks. And he barely made it out or she and that’s kind of what would you would you see and what’s being portrayed even on the popular travel box and obviously also travel media. When I know your agency organizes trips and I just checked your your your website again, that’s a lot of countries you guide tours to. Are you still active in going to these countries? And in which countries have you visited over the years? I mean, there’s a fair few questions within there. So let me talk about, yeah, I’m still involved in I’ll let you choose. Yes. Yeah, I’m still involved in working in and guiding in some of the countries. Now, from what you say on the website, just to give an idea of what we do as a company, we I’d still say 20% of what we organize is professional work. So sometimes for documentary makers, for researchers, for photographers, etc. etc. For the rest, broadly speaking, it’s tourism. And we have a bunch of group trips that we have each year to the kind of popular places that we go that it’s worth getting a group of six, eight, 10 people together to guide. And they will have usually an international guide. So a guide from you know, Europe or North America, accompanying them. And I used to at the beginning guide all of those kind of trips. But now it’s pretty rare that I guide them. So I would generally go I’d be out of the country, if it’s a specific project that we’re working on. So one of the things that I help organize is a race in Afghanistan, the marathon of Afghanistan, it’s the only mixed gender international sporting event in the country. And I go out for that group because we have a big group of people that run it. And also I help organize the race. So it’s important for me to be there. I also occasionally, if it’s a media, if it’s a production, that, you know, they need some sort of specialist assistance, I might go out for that as well. But it’s fairly rare that I guide a sort of general group, we have other people that do that. And as far as the countries that we guide, the majority of the countries that we guide in, I’ve visited. So I mean, it’s a passion for me, it’s interesting, I’ve got lots of friends in these countries. So when I go back, it’s not just guiding a trip, this also catching up with people I’ve spent some days before, some days after, just checking out the operations that we’ve got and how things work. So yeah, I love to travel. And generally, I’m away from Europe, in the places that we work, maybe two to three months of the year, pre COVID, that is the normal kind of thing. So maybe, you know, two to three months is perfect for me, allows me to run the business, have the life I’ve got in Europe, but also I get to, you know, travel work, and enjoy those areas. You specifically kind of asked about sort of Mogadishu, and I guess the stereotypical travel blog, which is, or vlog or whatever, or someone who’s an influencer and has a following, and they go to Mogadishu. And I think it’s a bit what I was talking to before, a lot of travel feeds into, if you’re not careful, it kind of has this sort of self perpetuating myth about it, wherever you go, if you want to go to, I don’t know what a US equivalent is, you go to New York, and you’re like, what am I going to do in New York? So you see, I don’t know, eating a hotdog, or eating oysters at Grand Central Station, or go into this or go into that. So you do that, you take pictures of it, and everyone else sees the pictures, and you kind of do the same thing, and that’s the story of New York, and that’s kind of what you get. New York, fully a bad idea, because people have a lot more information about what they can do, but most people don’t know that much about Mogadishu, and you’re kind of limited to what you can do, and people need clicks on their blog, and it’s famous for being dangerous. And so having a close call in Mogadishu seems like a good thing for a blog. So for sure, we’ve guided people whose depiction of their trip is different to how we would have perceived it. Certainly was suggesting the risk is higher, but on the flip side, there is risk. And if you’re in a city where there is a bomb whilst you’re there, you could easily describe that as a close call. I mean, if you’re in a city in North America, or in Europe, and there was a building burnt down on the day you were there, you wouldn’t necessarily call that a close call. But if it’s a bomb, you kind of consider it a close call. So the idea of risk and sort of perception of risk and perception of having a close call, I guess, is something that, I guess, yeah, as you said, it’s a risk is sometimes, and whether something was in the eye of the whole world. I think you’re absolutely right with the observation you just made, is that these myths about this particular place, they become part of what people perceive about a certain place. And you know, in San Francisco, where I live, there was this story where, and it was a true story, we have a couple of dangerous areas here, and an Australian couple of us assaulted an event viral in Australia, and people realized how dangerous it is, or can be, in San Francisco, which is absolutely true, a lot of American cities have some really bad areas, we should never go. Definitely not at night, and definitely not alone, or even as a couple. And you almost guarantee it’s going to get marked. And it’s easy to not be aware of in a city like San Francisco that’s so dense, right? One, a couple of blocks, it’s fine, and then a couple blocks later, it’s extremely dangerous. And I spent quite some time in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and it is in the dangerous town during the day, but it gets quite hairy during the night, and it’s almost guaranteed local or not that you’re going to get marked if you run around downtown without a car. But if you just jump over to Zanzibar, for instance, this problem doesn’t exist. And there is really local pockets where people feel like they can target, there’s a lot of targets for them. And the same is true for like in Lagos, right? And you have parts of Lagos that seem at least judging from local crime, pretty easy. And I walked around Victoria Island at night, and I never had any issues. But a lot of locals have a ton of issues that they have been robbed in Karjakt, just on the mainland, which is less than five miles away. So it’s extremely localized, right? And that’s obviously very, very difficult to make a judgment from a country of power or from a continent afar. So it really is something that travelers have to ease into, and that takes time, right? So you have to arrive there, you have to ask locals, you have to make, you have to have the own ability to judge a particular risk, to judge a neighborhood without having all the data, right? Because you never have enough data. Only the locals have all the data, and even they might have trouble seeing changes in their environment. And I think this is, this is generally a problem with the travel. When you think of it, a lot of tourism in every country is slightly different. But let’s let’s take Morocco as an example. I always felt Morocco and a lot of people in Morocco to specialize in misleading new arrivals, like tourists don’t know anything, right? They overpay for taxis, they overpay for souvenirs. There’s a whole industry that usually sprouts up, and not every country is as guilty of that. And obviously, 99% of the population is not involved in this. It’s a small percentage of the population, wherever we look. And they kind of take advantage of this informational arbitrage, right? They have way more information. They know the local prices. They know everything about the local setup. And they mislead the newcomers, so to speak. It’s a bit like in a prison, right? So the newcomers probably don’t have it the most comfortable, but the people who’ve been in prison for 10 years, they’ve established themselves. And I think the same is true for tourism. So there is this informational arbitrage, and the internet has helped. But it’s only partially solving this, because there’s just so much information. There’s so much overgeneral rarity. And I think you guys see this with security. But everyone who travels a lot sees this just by arriving at the airport, right? It’s sometimes 10 times the expenses to get a taxi than when a local gets a taxi. And that’s something people are worried about, right? That really definitely increases the anxiety before they go to a new place in the same country or in a different country. Yeah, that’s true. And I think I’ve always tried to look because I see it as well. I mean, you use Morocco as an example, but there are places all over the world where you’ve got, you know, there’s a kind of product for sale, whether it’s a tour to somewhere or handicrafts or this or whatever. And there’s money to be made and there’s commission to be made and there’s helping people in the shops or, you know, the free tour to whatever and you get taken to a rug factory or all of those kind of things. And part of that, I’ve always looked at it from the other angle. I mean, yes, you can look at it from the tourist angle. You’re coming in and there’s this information disparity and that’s where the money is being made. But you see it from a local shopkeeper’s angle. You’ve got a crew. I mean, the cruise boat is the classic example. The cruise boat comes in, people, they’re just trucked straight into a city or a town and have no idea what the price is, no idea really what the money is. Probably have US dollars anyway or euros, don’t even have the local currency, don’t even know what anything costs. And people are selling things. Now, if there’s four of you selling the same thing and one of them, there’s almost, the temptation is too much to not take advantage of that situation. It’s not that people are necessarily ripping off, but if someone’s willing to pay something and the shorter period of time someone has in a town, so if a cruise boat is stopping for the day, the harder the sell has to be because you’ve got these guys, you’ve got someone there for like a minute to try to sell them something. You’ve got another town where people stay for like three, four, five days. It’s a much easier sell. No one’s necessarily buying something the first day. There’s more of an interaction, there’s more of a tale. So I’ve seen this in different places, how tourists visit a town or a place, how much time they spend there. You go to Egypt and if people have trucked off a tour bus and there’s a 50 meter walk between the tour bus and the site and it’s lined with people selling stuff, they’ve got three seconds to try and attract someone’s information. So it’s all about a hugely hard fast sell. Whereas you’ve got somewhere else where people are spending a week, there can be a soft sell. You meet someone on day one and you can sell something to them on day three. So I think I know this is getting a little bit off the track, but there’s also, I work a lot with people in lots of countries. There’s a perspective of the country that’s being touristy as well. It’s not just about people trying to rip people off. It’s about doing business in the situation that you’ve found yourself in, I guess. Oh, I totally understand the individual who tries to make money and I think non judging is in a negative way necessarily. What you have to keep in mind too is it increases the anxiety on the other end. So if you have people swarming into a bus and I was at Taj Mahal 20 years ago, you couldn’t even leave the bus because people were just pushing into the bus because they wanted to see what they have to offer. It seemed like a dangerous situation if you didn’t know it was going on because suddenly hundreds of people stormed into already cramped bus. It wasn’t dangerous, but I didn’t know that in that moment. I didn’t know they just wanted to sell me something. I thought I’m going to get crushed to death, which didn’t happen. What could have easily happened, I felt. So what I think it increases the anxiety of people of taking that adventure and maybe in BC this is with COVID now. So people have this crazy anxiety and have taken it on a notch higher. So many countries in the world have no COVID restrictions, but they still have lost 90% or at least no entry restrictions. They still lost 90 or 80% of their business. So tourists are not going there. They might be worried about the flights. I mean certain age groups obviously have higher risk than others, but there is a level of anxiety that you create. And obviously the individual can’t control this, right? For the individual, it’s a red race. If I don’t make a sale, someone else is going to make that sale. But it is making it harder to attract a wider audience. And we always feel like I don’t actually know if that’s true, but I always have that impression. Again, maybe not a good thing because a lot of tourists show shitty behavior, 100% true. But if you see that the development cycle, it seems like more developed countries are in a position to attract more people just because they’re better infrastructure. There’s less anxiety. There’s no safety concerns. It seems it helps everyone. And it’s a bit like a religion. It seems counterintuitive in the first place that you regulate yourself, that you kind of look for a higher being, right? But it seems like if everyone joins in or a critical mass joins in, then you create a better future. And obviously it’s a high risk, right? So if something is wrong in that religious idea, then you’re all in trouble and not just the individual. So I do see the incentives on the ground. They’re quite tricky. But I always felt what do you think is this inflection point where suddenly a country moves away from this? Okay, let’s make a quick sale, right? Like Egypt, so to speak. It moves into and has high barriers of entry. A lot of countries in Africa is very tricky to get in. Lots of paperwork, like Nigeria, you fill paperwork for weeks. And then they go to this inflection point and say, okay, now we feel like we want to change this. It should be easier. We want to have a certain kind of groups of people that we want to use safety has gone down. Do you think that’s a conscious decision or it happens that some of these countries just advance a little bit? I mean, before I answer that, because it’s two, it’s both is the answer. But you talk about the anxiety. I guess the anxiety when you go somewhere is there’s a lot of unknown. So there’s an unknown because you go somewhere, there’s no fixed price. There’s no, you’re going to go out to eat. Maybe you are vegetarian or vegan. You don’t know whether you’re going to get that food. You’ve got specific dietary requirements. All of this stuff is like this kind of unknown. And as soon as you take away, because this is the thing, tourism, when you become sort of mass tourism begins, you take away a lot of that anxiety because you want to attract more people. But taking away that anxiety also takes away sometimes the essence of what is actually happening in that country. So rather than in going to a traditional Chai Khana in Afghanistan, where you’ve got like three options, kebabs, palau and soup, which all have meat in them, you end up finding a tourist restaurant kind of comes up that has lots of different options and vegetarian options and seats rather than sitting on the floor. And all of this kind of stuff and proper toilets and all of that kind of stuff. And you don’t have the same people who would go into that restaurant. You don’t have the traders and all of these kind of people because you’ve created a tourist restaurant rather than a traditional Chai Khana. So as soon, and again, you end up with a tourist shop with fixed prices on goods rather than your haggling for stuff. And you create something that is not actually of the place you’re visiting. You end up having a slightly diluted experience. And I think that’s one of the things that Untamed Boarders always looks for because we work in a lot of places without a huge amount of tourism. Most of the places our guests visit, they don’t see it through this prism of tourism. They go to Afghanistan, you see Afghanistan. Like no one’s apart from us or a couple of guys are doing anything to try and change things to make it easier for tourists. Everyone’s just living their life. So you get that authenticity is a strange word within tourism, but you get something that is more authentic. And then going on to what you were saying about, I mean, the classic example of a country that has decided to sort of set a level of tourism is Bhutan, isn’t it? You pay this $250 a day in Bhutan. That’s basically what you pay. It’s very hard to pay any more than that. That’s your kind of pay. And you can do what you want there. Like it’s to keep out the kind of the riffraff. It’s to have it so that it’s kind of like exclusive. Somewhere like Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea or Saudi until recently. Extremely hard to get into, but that’s due to geopolitical reasons rather than trying to control tourism, I guess. Yeah. I mean, it seems to be a convergence of at least pre COVID that people wanted to discover tourism and wanted to open up to as much tourism as possible. And I feel there’s a reason why Thailand foreigners doesn’t really reopen or that they’ve taken so much time to reopen. What would be the viral part? But the other part is I’m amazed that this population was able to be okay with the amount of tourism that they actually received. And that is a mental challenge and a mental toll I’m sure has taken on a lot of people in Thailand. And only a small percentage actually makes money off tourism and a bigger, bigger, there’s a bigger mental challenge of that’s where the whole population is exposed to. I want to dive a little bit more into specific countries and because the countries that you’ve been to, it’s a pretty exclusive view that you’ve got. When you think of Afghanistan, a place that we know only from, say, war movies and SEAL team episodes, well, how do you describe Afghanistan or what’s dear to your heart in Afghanistan? How is the city or the cities like, how is that mixed between people who live in rural areas and in those cities? My view of Afghanistan is different from, for a dozen years, traveling to Afghanistan two or three times a year and organizing tourism and events and generally positive things. I mean, I always see the first time I traveled through Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I mean, they’re different countries, but there’s a certain link in that there’s a lot of conservatism in the countries, but people are very open about themselves, about talking about the country that they’re in, their own country, geopolitics. Iran’s slightly less about geopolitics, but certainly sort of Afghanistan and Pakistan, people love talking about how things are going, their perspectives on things. There is incredible scenery. You’ve got the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan, and in Afghanistan, the rural scenes I just love, especially coming from somewhere like the UK, which is quite a green place. You’ve got Afghanistan, there’s these two extremes. Most of the country is quite barren. It’s not completely barren, but you can gray some sheep and goats on it, but that’s about it. But these huge rivers run through the country. The irrigation channels run off those. You have these swathes of green within them, so it’s either dusty and hard and inhospitable, or when you get into the irrigated areas, it’s shady and cool and there’s great fruit and all of this kind of stuff. And it’s very typical of Afghanistan, these contrasts. It’s very hard on one side, and on the other side, extremely hospitable and really pleasant and kind of like a paradise on the other side. And the only thing is these two things kind of run through the country and a little bit of the psyche. And I mean, for people that like historical places, Herat is an amazing city near the Iranian border. The center was built maybe 500 years ago, so it has all this sort of amazing sort of Bluetooth architecture. And it’s constantly changing. I mean, any post conflicts country has a huge buzz about it. You have an idea and you go for it. Stuff is happening all the time, like restaurants pop up, ideas pop up. Someone just comes in five years ago with some Panini machines they buy in Italy, and suddenly it’s like a huge thing and everyone’s like, just new stuff comes all the time. I mean, when in London or New York, did someone bring in something new that everybody was like, this is amazing, it just doesn’t happen. Whereas in Kabul or Bogot issue, new ideas, it’s this kind of incredibly entrepreneurial atmosphere as well, which just gives a huge amount of energy. And I think people don’t see that. I also don’t see that necessarily in their own country because they know they’re being held back by the violence and by other sort of political instability. And a lot of international people don’t see that because they also just there, you know, people in Kabul or Bogot issue are there because there’s lots of problems, they’re working there. Whereas I come in and I do see these kind of opportunities in entrepreneurialism and energy, which I think is often overlooked. I was just checking my connection. Yes, that would have been my next question is how entrepreneurial these countries are because that would have been my expectation that entrepreneurship is something that is maybe broken, or it’s just blossoming and most conflict that breaks entrepreneurship and then hopefully it comes back. And it’s something I’m myself being an entrepreneur. I’m really excited to see places that are that entrepreneurial. I feel they generate a community relatively easily. And they definitely warm my heart if I find a country that’s really entrepreneurial. And I’ve had a lot of countries in Asia, at least at the surface seem to be very entrepreneurial, that maybe isn’t as much true anymore. There’s definitely maybe just getting rich early opportunities have run out a little. When you go through Afghanistan or your particular tours go through Afghanistan, how much of a thought do you still have to give to security planning? Do you have to stop going out at night? Is it that easy or you just go on certain routes or you have maybe a military patrol? I ended up in Lagos to have a police escort that I recruited for myself that I felt was necessary when I left Victoria Island. How many efforts do you actually have to still do in Afghanistan? When we guide trips there, there are restrictions with our guests. We’re constantly reviewing the security situation. We have our setup, we have our procedures put in place. When we’re talking about risk before, everyone with anything you draw up an assessment of risk, it’s likelihood multiplied by severity. Trying to make sure people don’t get sick, get gastroenteritis, this kind of stuff. It’s not quite likely, but we guide 100 people there a year, someone’s going to get some stomach bite. What can we do to reduce it? We tell people to wash hands, drink bottled water, etc. Even if it does happen, the severity is not that bad, so it’s fine. Whereas in Afghanistan, we were talking about muggings in San Francisco and all of that kind of stuff. To be honest, the thing in somewhere like Afghanistan is there’s not many near misses. It’s not like people go traveling in South America and come back with a story that their shoes robbed at knife point or gun point or something like that. You don’t really get anything like that in Afghanistan. If something goes wrong, it’s going to go really wrong. We just have to spend a lot of time reducing that. In most of the places we guide in Afghanistan, the group cannot leave, can’t do anything outside of the guest house or hotel without us. I can go into it a little bit. We look at risk in two ways, generally. In Afghanistan, there’s a risk of preplanned attacks and there’s opportunist attacks. Like Afghanistan, the risk of an opportunist attack is very small. We’re talking about muggings. We’re talking about someone seeing the group and acting and things like that. It’s almost nonexistent. The risk is a preplanned attack. We put in a lot of effort to make sure that our company is very unlikely to be the target of a preplanned attack by lots of methods. By having an extremely small footprint, changing how we work, changing how we have groups, we’re lucky that we don’t have anyone based full time in Afghanistan that’s non Afghan. When people come in, nobody really knows. We keep it to a very small number of people. There’s the risk of us being in somewhere which could be an attack. If we stay in the best hotel in Kabul, which is the Serena, that’s where other high profile people stay. We just avoid staying there. We avoid the kind of places that are likely to be attacked. Because there is this risk in Kabul, we don’t let our guests wander around by themselves because they don’t know what people are saying. They don’t know if and they can get into all sorts of other trouble. If they start taking pictures of military buildings or ministries or things like that, they can get arrested and all of that kind of stuff. Generally, we keep them on a fairly tight leash. In some like Afghanistan, there’s a couple of areas, the Wachan Corridor in the Far North East and Bamiyan in the Central. For geopolitical reasons, basically they’re rural areas where a minority ethnic group, ethnic and religious group live. There isn’t any kind of Taliban. There isn’t any Sunni extremism there. Therefore, we give the guests a bit more freedom. That’s where we do things like skiing and hiking and the marathon race and things like that. It depends on the region and then we base our security risks on that and then we implement certain procedures and we inform our guests. With the guests, you can’t give them too much information to begin with. People just don’t take it in. You give information before they arrive, you give some more at the briefing and we guide with small groups. If people are acting in a way that’s putting the group at risk, we can have a quiet word with them and give information as it goes on. This is constantly updated when we get there can be some huge attack in Kabul, which looks like, oh, is that going to change how we work? We’re expecting huge attacks in Kabul. We’re planning for that. Then there can be something that doesn’t even make the news, doesn’t even make the wire on a road that we might use and we’re like, okay, that’s changing. We’re going to fly there now. We’re not going to drive there. There’s some small incident that can change how we work. When we get news in and we speak to it, but as you said, the team we have in Afghanistan, the team we have on the ground, they know what we’re doing and they understand what is going to change. We also get information from other sources. In Afghanistan, for example, there’s an organization that provides security reports for international organizations. We get reports from them and that’s a useful overview, but it’s not as useful perhaps. It’s good to work side by side with the information we get from the drivers, from the guides, just from local people. That’s a bit of an overview about how we see security and the things we have in place. I’m subscribed to a couple of those country reports in terms of security. I do read them before I go to a country. They help me certainly a little bit, but it’s a country report. It has nothing to do with the city or the neighborhoods or the region you’re in. That’s always the trouble I have with those. One thing that really worries me, and I’ve been to so many different countries. I’ve been in every situation, but one thing that still worries me is the opportunity to be singled out simply because you’re foreigner or you’re perceived as an American or you’re perceived as a threat, which is relatively easy to see by skin color. You ask people a couple of times, okay, people you talk to, you stay in a hotel, they’re foreigners. Those things are relatively difficult to shake off. I feel like for locals, it’s very easy to target this if they have those bad intentions. Very few people have those. Those are very few terrorist groups in terms of, fortunately, in terms of sheer manpower, but they are brown. I’m actually never really worried about random bombings as terrible as they are, but if you’re not specifically targeted, I felt the risk of actually being a victim of those is relatively low from my personal perspective. Others would make a different judgment, but in many countries, I feel like I’m literally the only person who looks like a foreigner. Let’s put it this way. It looks like an American. I feel like if someone wants to get at me, it’s so easy. They don’t have to look at my passport, so they just bring out the machete. That’s the end of it. There isn’t much to do unless you go with an armed guard security, which I feel is a bit of a help, maybe not against Arkaida, but if you have a, there was an attract more attention, but on the outside, you do have guns, right? And you do have people who’ve been in these situations before, and you have bulletproof vests, and you have maybe armored, but at least a vehicle that can make a quick escape. So I’ve been looking into these options. Obviously, if you go to this level of personal security, if it’s worth it, would you still do a tour like this? And B, maybe you attract way more attention, maybe in some, you actually make your own situation more complicated and more dangerous. Absolutely. So for us, generally, as a general rule, if we feel we’re in a place where we need armed security, we generally are not going to guide there, because it puts a, there’s various reasons. There’s a, one, it makes things a lot more expensive. So, you know, there’s a price kind of issue. And secondly, it puts a huge gap between you and the people that you’re, the people of the country that you’re visiting. I mean, you know, if you were walking through Miami, and there’s a guy going down the street, and he’s got four armed guards creating a safe space for him to walk through, you don’t feel like he’s part of the community. He’s completely separate from the community. So it’s not ideal. But we do use it. We do use armed security in Mogadishu, in Somalia, and in Puntland, in Somalia. They’re the only places that we generally use it. And the point you were saying about the armed, having a, you know, four six man armed security team, they are there predominantly to prevent a, an opportunist attack, there to stop someone saying, look, we’ve got a couple of guys with guns, we’re going to rob him, we’re going to do this, we’re going to take some of that. Now, you’re right. If it’s Diash or the Taliban, and they really want you, six guys is not going to do much. In fact, it might make things worse because you might get in a firefight and then the things could be in a worse situation for you. Of course, having an armed security attracts more attention. So we, you, the way we look at it, we look at the risk. If there’s a major opportunity, if there’s a major risk of an armed opportunist attack, and the having an armed security is going to minimize that, then having an armed security is, is a good thing. If we don’t see that as a major risk, and we don’t see us as being a particularly, a particularly high profile preplanned target, which is the case in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, there’s loads, especially like Kabul, there’s loads of great targets. There’s loads of government, military, police, embassies, international people. And these are the places that are targeted. Diash target the Shia communities. There’s so many great targets out there. We feel the way that we work, we can come in and do our work and not be a major target and be able to operate in the way that we do by working in a very low profile way. But something could change. I mean, that can change. The one thing with any assessment of risk is that we assess it on the data that we have. That can change just because it didn’t happen yesterday doesn’t mean it can’t happen tomorrow. So it’s not a foolproof system, but we feel that in Afghanistan, yeah, there’s two ways of working that way that we work or, you know, get a couple of bulletproof cars, loads of guys armed with guns, drive around like that. That’s also a really good system. But if we’re going to be organizing the stuff that we do, we think that our system of working and the profile of the clients we have, the fact that in the country for a short period of time, reduces risk to an acceptable level. So yeah, armed security work is good in the situation. And it depends who you are as well. If you’re working for World Bank in Kabul, I’d want to stay in a compound with loads of security because I’m going to be targeted. I think that’s a smart way to describe it. I think this is a way to deal with security. I felt for my personal use, I always felt it’s the environment is so fluid and so changing, there is really no one solution. And as you said, in Afghanistan’s places, we don’t even have to worry about that. And then 20 miles a layer, and you’re on the wrong road, and there’s an ID, and there was just an attack, picture will completely change. Out of your experience with untamed borders, how many close call security incidents did you have? Stuff were either there was an immediate threat or there was a bombing that dated before the bombing that day, after somewhere where you personally would feel, oh my gosh, we have to actually review the rest because it’s bigger than we thought. I mean, look, we’ve had groups in cities where there has been a bomb. I mean, that’s, I mean, we probably guide, I don’t know, it’s COVID now. But before COVID, we’d guide 800 people in Afghanistan a year. So it’s just the odds are that there’d be, Kabul is a city of 6 million people. There being a bomb in the city when we’ve got guests in the city is not an unusual, it’s not a situation that’s so unusual. We’ve changed and stopped working in countries and regions on a regular basis. We used to guide through the central route of Afghanistan from Kabul to Herat. And it goes through a place called the Minaret of Jam. It’s this sort of single standing minaret that’s 55 meters high. It’s quite incredible. We used to guide there until 2009. And then without too much detail in Ghor province, one of the routes through, it was kind of government controlled. And then it became Taliban controlled or a guide that’s aligned to the Taliban controlled it. And we stopped going there. So, I mean, things happen on a fairly, not a regular basis, but things happen in the countries that we work in where we’re just like, look, we can’t guide in this area. We used to guide to more places in the north of Afghanistan to these Turkmen, ethnically Turkmen towns of Akca and Anhui, and we don’t guide there anymore. So, things change. Generally, security starts to deteriorate, and we avoid it, and then it gets better, or it just gets worse, and we stop doing it. I mean, we used to drive between Kabul and Mazhar issue. If we used to drive between Kabul and Bamiyan, and now we fly between the two because the security and the roads is not good enough. So, things change, and we have to adapt. I mean, generally, the issues that we have with people is the usual things after a dozen years of organizing these things, road traffic accidents, people breaking limbs, falling over, trekking, or getting a tooth kicked out by a horse, or things like that. I mean, we’ve had guests, I guess, not, how can I put this? Yeah, there was, you know, I think one time in Afghanistan, a compound was attacked that was maybe 300, 400 meters from where one of the guest houses we were using. So, probably something like that is the closest that something has been. But, ultimately, we’ve put in the procedures to mitigate the risk. And what I always say is whenever we do that, how would I feel if something happened to this person, I had to, you know, I’ve got my day in court, what did you do? Would I feel we reduce the risk to a reasonable amount? Yes, I did. This is what we did. These are the reasons behind it. And you can’t predict any, you can’t completely eliminate risk. That’s just the way it is. Yeah, I guess, from the other side, going to destinations that are more risky is something that appeals to a small minority of travelers, but they are extremely interested in it. There’s a reason we like skiing, there’s a reason we like fast cars. So, it’s something in our blood. And I think this is a small percentage of the population where we feel like there’s no risk and there’s no fun. And that sounds silly, but to an extent is you have to push yourself to the borders of your own being, of your own comfort zone in order to learn about yourself. And that naturally involves risk. If you’re paragliding, that’s really risky. We had the Xavadilla route on. He basically jumps off, helicopters off cliffs, sheer cliffs, and goes 180 degrees. That basically flies with the snow we’re done. And that’s a lot of risk, but he’s very, very cautious in terms of how he plans these routes. But he still thinks can go wrong in two seconds and he can go off the wrong cliff. There’s no rope. I mean, that’s the only good one chance at these lines. That’s what the particular, your ski, I probably know, this particular path that you go down a hill is called a line. If you miss it by a little bit, there’s no second chance. That’s it very often. So, you’re going to be very cautious on one side, but also extremely interested in risk on the other side. And I think this is a wonderful opportunity that you guys make it less dangerous or so more accessible. And I think this is where you come in, right? I think this is something that wonderful that you open this up and give people the ability to see a country are quite different. But it brings me to your guests. I would think and stereotype, you’re going to be like, this is American stereotype. But I would think those are guys with the primary military training that have been in pretty heavy situations and then they sign up because they feel like it’s just going to be a little easier, maybe cheaper to go with you guys, but they’re already really interested in risk. Is that true or is it really the average traveler signs up with most of these tourists that you do, especially to Afghanistan and Somalia? Yeah, what you’re saying is not the profile of the people that come with us at all. We have guided a few veterans, which has always been an amazing experience, to be honest, to guide people that had served in Afghanistan and have gone back and seen a completely different side. I mean, there’s been like half a dozen, I think, in the years. But I mean, some of that’s been amazing. There was one guy, he had spent the best part of three years flying over Afghanistan, identifying, basically identifying targets to bomb. And he was a skier, he was a snowboarder, actually, and he would fly over these mountains in the winter and he would promise himself every day one day he’d go back to Afghanistan and snowboard these mountains. And he never really thought he would do it. And then he found us and was like, this is amazing, I’m going to do it. So to be able to bring somebody’s kind of crazy dream alive is an amazing feeling. But the majority of the people are people that like to travel. And that’s it. And you were saying, it’s men and women as well. I think the group trips are usually 50% women. I mean, women, this is a big generalization, but the group trip, I think, partly because women are generally a bit more social, and also perhaps the idea of just spending 10 days or two weeks with one Pakistani or Afghan man guiding might not appeal as much as it might to a man. But I’d say the group trips are about 50% women. And generally, people that have traveled a lot, that’s what it is. It’s enjoying travel. And usually at some stage in their life, I’m sure you’ve found it as well, Torsten, they’ve gone a little bit off the beaten track with their travel and found this kind of, I was talking about it before, this kind of authenticity, something about a place where it isn’t seen through the sort of prism of tourism and have really enjoyed it. And have really enjoyed, it might be a bit selfish and a kind of exclusivity, but enjoyed being the only kind of tourist around and being a bit, it being a bit special in that way. And I think that’s the majority. And it’s not about risk risk. There is definitely a, and it’s a bit old fashioned to say, but people like a bit of an adventure. And if we, if you’re going to go on a trip with us, you know, there’s always a chance that something’s going to change slightly, we might not be able to do this that day, or something might happen, there might be something really cool, like a festival or a marriage or a wedding or a funeral or something that one of our friends is involved in, that we can go and see. So the trips are, the trips are, you know, we have an itinerary for them, but if there’s something small happening that we can change, that’s great. And honestly, the trips that people enjoyed the most have often been the ones where it’s not gone to plan, but we’ve managed to kind of change it and come up with something and alter it. And they’ve left and been like, I’ve just had like 10 days and this has been like, it’s been, it’s been, it’s been an adventure. And like you, I think in, you know, in Europe, in the US, so much kind of risk is mitigated, so much has things have to go to plan, you know, we have to be here at this time, you’ve got to make appointments, you’ve got to do this, everything’s got to be ordered, that to go somewhere in a small group of like minded people and have a bit of an adventure, and there’ll always be a slight risk that it’s not, you’re not going to see what you plan to come and see, you know, you’re not quite sure exactly how it’s going to go, but you’ve got a company behind you who is experiencing this and have seen a lot of these things and they can anticipate things and come up with a plan B. I think that’s the appeal, to be honest, but it’s not about people who have been in the military. I mean, it’s about fairly normal people who just like traveling to unusual places which you can relate to. Yeah, absolutely, I think this is, I like how you describe this, and I think your heart is right there, how you describe the sense of adventure, and that is totally my experience, I’ve been trying to teach this to my children, I talk to them before in different countries by now, and the idea is that I really try to show the sense of the journey is actually the destination, and you want to try to find this this crossroads where you do something, where you know what you’re doing, but you’re still exploring and you find something new in your life, and there is, I think psychologists do a lot of research into when are we ready to explore, and then they do this with animals, and it’s typically in a state when we feel like our downside is covered, and then we go out to explore, we try to find things that could improve our life, that maybe it’s better food, that is better opportunities, that you know in a modern life this is where we make more money, but it’s also where we see life, how it really is, and it’s not the streamlined set of emotions that we see, for instance on social media, but also I think it’s changed people’s brains by now, it’s also in real life you have this now, and I think you’re absolutely right, when you are somewhere where you’re the only tourist, the amount of curiosity that you have, but also is reciprocated by the locals, at the amount of attention you get, it’s something very special, I think this is, if you never had this experience, if you can do one thing life changing, then this is one that would definitely be high on my list, and it usually means you have to go pretty far in places you’re really uncomfortable with in the first place, my first thought would be Bangladesh, it is a dangerous country, but it’s still quite different and it isn’t well traveled, especially if you go outside of the cities, it does have some terrorist problems, but I don’t think there is widespread from what I know, so I did have this also, and it’s always easier to say, I don’t know, when we ask our grandparents, they would probably say the old times were always better, but I do remember it was relatively easy to go to Thailand 25, 30 years ago when I was really young, and there was literally just a few huts, a bunch of cool people with a good community, like in the movie The Beach, and they were on The Beach in Kopey Pee, and there were like the two places to eat, and there was an only clear water, and I went back 20 years ago and was all speed boats and streamlined, right, everything was streamlined, there were luxury hotels, there were chain hotels and chain restaurants, so things have really, the progress that we made, I think this is the difficulty in human development, we make this progress, but it makes the individual maybe more soft, it’s harder to get to those experiences that make yourself confident, right, that where you show yourself, yes, you can do it, and you can kind of conquer the world, those experiences are pretty rare now, I think that was different 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, and when people went to Africa, literally, you know, just I had to deal with malaria and just there were not even a map around for most places. Yeah, I don’t know, I mean, I remember I was talking to a friend of mine, and we both are on a, it’s like a Facebook group from the, it’s called like the Hippie Trail, so it’s got all the, you know, people that were, you know, traveled across Iran, you know, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India to Nepal, 60s, 70s, I know a few of these, you know, I’ve met a few of these characters on the way, you know, used to whatever, be gem dealers out of Kabul or smuggle hashish or all of these kind of things, and there’s a lot of this talk, it’s like, oh yeah, I feel bad for like people today, they don’t have the opportunity, you know, it wasn’t like it was in our day when, you know, you can, there’s not so much a journey of discovery, but I think, I think every generation just has its own type of discovery, you know, you, of course, you can look on Google Maps, you can find kind of every village and all of these kind of stuff, but you can still go out, there’s still some amazing places in the world to go and, and, and visit and find yourself alone in and, but it’s about, it’s about, yeah, it’s about searching for that though, it’s, I mean, it shouldn’t be easy, it shouldn’t be an easy thing to, to take that kind of path, to take something into the, into the unknown, I mean, the trip to Thailand now is a bit like, you know, when I went to Thailand in 1998, so similar time to what you’re talking about, and it was an adventure, I didn’t really know anything, I didn’t bring a guidebook or anything, I just, I really had no idea what I was, what we were doing, even though it was like lowly planets and all these kind of like information about places, but nowadays that’s like, you know, going to Spain for someone in Europe or going to, you know, Cancun or something for someone from the US, but there are still parts of the world that are less visited and you can, you know, get off the beaten path and have adventures, but you’ve just got to make an effort, and I think that’s the, that’s, it was the same whether it was in the 60s or the same whether it was in the 19th century or the same now, if you make an effort, you can find some really interesting stuff and, and really push yourself and really, yeah, find more out about yourself and about the world. Talking about making an effort, I saw your, your video presentation that you did about your relatively recent trip to, I think it was Pondland, and from what I know, Somalia itself has kind of split up into three different regions, more or less recognized by different countries and by the UN. Maybe you can help us understand a little more how does this work and working your way into Somalia and finding a way how to deal with the perceived danger or, and then recognizing and finding the real beauty of it. Um, yeah, so Somalia and it’s, it’s, it’s quite fragmented. Um, and depending on your, and it all, like most of these things, it depends on your perspective. The main sort of breakaway is, um, is Somali land, which used to be British, it used to be a British colony, whereas the rest of Somalia used to be an Italian colony. Um, and Somali land isn’t recognized by the UN, it’s not recognized by, it’s, it’s recognized by almost nobody, but it is effectively independent. It has its own currency, it has its own, um, government, it has its own military, it is effectively an independent country, um, but it’s, it’s a funny place. I mean, if you take off from Somali land and fly to Somalia to fly to Mogadishu, you take off and it’s an international flight and you land and the people in Somalia call it a domestic flight because they still claim Somali land as part of Somalia. So it’s very much dependent on your perspective. And print land, so Somali land, it wants independence. That’s quite clear. Print land, which is on the tip of the Horn of Africa, um, they want a kind of federal state. So they want, they don’t want complete independence, but they want, uh, um, a federal system, whereas the government in Mogadishu, which is the main part of Somalia, they want it to be kind of, you know, what Mogadishu sort of ruled over. And because the country is so weak, Mogadishu has no power to tell print land really what, what it wants to do. So it’s kind of quasi independent. Um, but to organize, and again, like how to find reliable people in different parts of the world, there’s all sorts of ways to do it. So as I talked about before, working in the, you know, conflict journalists sometimes, people in the development world sometimes, um, as it was in print land, people that work in, um, oil exploration, um, you know, they need, people need guys who are reliable, who can organize stuff, who have access to security reports, things like that. Um, I’ve worked with really remote areas, the people that put in mobile phone antennas, because as you know, there’s mobile phone antennas in all over the world, in the most remote parts of the world that you can imagine, there’s only a few small villages, there’s a mobile phone. Someone’s put that up. Someone relatively, um, relatively skilled, perhaps speaks English, works for big organization, has probably some kind of security information about what’s going on in that area. Um, so there’s all sorts of ways to kind of build up a picture of what’s going on. But the trip to print land, um, yeah, when you talk about adventure, yeah, what, what is, how do you go somewhere, you know, there’s no blanks on the map anymore. How do you go somewhere that’s interesting? And sometimes, yeah, it’s a case of, with the talker on, on print land, I had spoken to a guy years and years ago, who’s in the merchant lady, and he told me that with this lighthouse on the very tip of the Horn of Africa, which apparently was the worst posting in the British empire, and people would be dropped off there for, I think, two years at a time to serve at this lighthouse. And it was basically inland from it. There were sort of wild tribes and all these things. They had food dropped off every six months. And that, that was like considered to be the worst posting. The story was completely untrue, I later found, but it intrigued me. It was like, what is this lighthouse? And I think years later, I found it on Google Earth. I could see the shadow of it. And then when I had some guests who had traveled with us to Mogadishu and had traveled to us to Somali land and said, where else can we go in, in Somali? Can we go to print land? That’s another kind of region. I got in contact with the guys that had made some connections there and then mentioned the lighthouse. And that’s how that kind of, that kind of trip happened. So, yeah, it’s just trying to, and it’s, again, it’s an adventure. It’s, it’s a story that, although it wasn’t true, yeah, is it, it’s exciting. I mean, it’s a bit like, you know, a bit of a finding, being told about a treasure map or something like that and having to find it. And it feels like in the modern world, everywhere on the map is kind of covered and there’s cameras and there’s information and all of that kind of stuff. But, you know, this is an area of the world that even sort of only a couple of years before we went there, you know, there were huge oil tankers were taken by pirates and grounded and nobody could do anything about it. So, I mean, there are parts of the world that are hard to reach. And yeah, there’s always a bit of an adventure there, I guess. I can imagine, I can imagine. That’s, that’s, I think, one of the, the, the ultimate journeys as long as we are not able to go to Mars. So, I think Elon Musk is working hard at that. So, we can, can just cover some more, more maps. And it’s, it’s, it’s even our brain to, to explore and find, like I said earlier, they did these experiments with cats and they even had cats partially injured brain and they would explore even more. So, making, making maps of your territory around you that provides opportunities is, is an extremely deep desire that I think all mammals and probably all, all animals have. And we, I think we’re struggling more to, to find this in the real world, but it’s obviously the digital world, the cloud world, where there’s a lot of this going on right now. This is where the kids are really drawn to because it’s easily accessible. But in the real world, we kind of have run out of places to do this. One other place, I don’t know if you guys travel there or if you have done a trip there personally, that’s really mesmerizing to me is the Amazon. Because this big, this huge forest that takes up probably 60, 70% of Colombia the same amount of Brazil’s landmass. And I went to Manaus in the middle of it, which is kind of an industrial city. And they take you out to an Indian village and you can, it’s kind of, it’s, it’s, it’s quite amazing to see people who could still live negative stone age and five miles away. There’s a big Nokia factory and an iPhone and an Apple factory where, where you make high tech. I find this really strong contrast, but it is just, like I say, a 20, 30 mile radius around that city that’s easily easy to explore. But there’s this massive rest of the Amazon that seems to get no coverage. I don’t see a lot of tours. I don’t see anyone really making that trip. Maybe I’m just missing that part of the information. I mean, look, South America is not my area of expertise. But I mean, there’s, I mean, I know for a fact, because I’ve been to Bolivia, I mean, there were, there’s tourism within Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, the visit parts of the Amazon. But it’s, I guess, like saying, yeah, there are trips that go to the Antarctic. I mean, people go to like half a dozen places within it. But then there’s this vast expanses where nobody has set foot ever. And I guess the Amazon is a similar kind of situation. Yeah, you can go so far. And then, yeah, you can keep going, but it kind of looks the same. I mean, it’s, you know, we literally have to land. So you only have the rivers, they, they work like roads. And it’s only the Amazon, the biggest one, but it splits up. So there’s a bunch of different sub rivers you can go on. But, you know, otherwise you have to like paraglide into this place. There’s no easy way to land. There is no, not even for a helicopter. You have to rappel down maybe from a helicopter. So, and then as you say, there’s only more treats. So, or maybe there isn’t, or maybe there’s amazing animals, maybe there’s amazing Indian villages that nobody really knows of. I’m just whenever I go to Colombia, Brazil, I see like 90% of their country is actually the Amazon, but it’s almost completely unexplored. And nobody really worries about that. Maybe because there’s nothing there could be, or maybe people have made these expeditions. I haven’t found much. Well, I think there’s, I mean, there’s loads of stuff there, but it’s, it’s, yeah, there’s a feeling, I think that because there are things like Google Maps and street, it feels like the whole of the world has been sort of documented. But it’s, that’s just not really the case. You know, there are effective blanks on the map. There are like, what is under that canopy in most of the Amazon? I don’t know. And I mean, how, how would anyone know? I mean, I’m not saying there’s a whole like hidden civilization there, but there’s, I think they’re finding, they’re finding like small, like insects and small different species every now and again in the Amazon, I think, because, you know, it is vast and there will be small, not exactly microclimates, but micro, you know, areas which certain animals are going to live. So I, yeah, I think, but what are you going to do there? I mean, people do expeditions exactly like you say down the rivers, but once you, are you going to, what are you going to do once you go through? And, and you know, trekking in the jungle is pretty, I mean, it’s interesting because there’s loads of animals and plants and all of that stuff to eat, but it’s pretty grim. I mean, there’s all the insects, you sweat, it’s, it’s, there’s not that, you know, there’s no vistas or anything like that. I mean, trekking through the jungle is after a couple of days, it’s kind of like you’ve had enough. Yeah, I’ve done it in Malaysia. And it’s so many leeches all over me. And it took me nine hours to just hide the leeches off. And I was worried about infections, obviously, and the insects would kill me. And I didn’t even know if I put sunscreen on over a shirt, because that you have a lot of sun for an hour and then you have none for like two days. So it’s very unpredictable. And I was just thinking of Jared Diamond, you know, who, who went through all of Papua New Guinea, it seems, and wrote this book about guns, germs and steel, which kind of his, he learned so much about bird species initially, but also about the people of Papua New Guinea, and then wrote a whole, and he’s a very smart, smart person. He wrote a whole book how to, how do civilizations develop the, why they develop the way they did. And I thought that was really interesting, the way he tried to reason from this observation going through the jungle for 20 years in Papua New Guinea. That’s seemingly most of the time what he spent there, he was, he was looking for new species. Looking for new places, what is on your list, places you haven’t been, and you really want to see, but you feel like they’re either too difficult right now, or you probably didn’t have the time for it. But what is like the ultimate challenge when you’ve been to so many really dangerous places, at least in other people’s perception? As a challenge, I mean, there’s always, do I have like a sort of challenge at the moment? Some people get into mountaineering, right? So then they go from one mountain that’s a little difficult into all the eight thousands and meters, and then they go into the one that’s possible to climb from the north side, so to speak. So there seems to be always one more challenge left. Yeah, I mean, I think what we do is, I mean, I don’t think my, I don’t see my challenges as being like, oh, I want to, I need to organize a trip to this region or this country. Look, I’d love to be organizing trips to go back to the Minaret of Jam in Central Afghanistan, for example. I would love to organize trips that go to parts of Balochistan, which is this westernmost province of Pakistan. I would love to guide in parts of Yemen that we can’t reach. There’s loads of places I’d love to be guiding, but at the moment, we’ve looked at it, we’ve made the assessment, and we’re not going to, I mean, look, if someone tracked enough money at us, we could have enough security, and I’m sure we could arrange it, but not in the way that we like to work. So it’s not like I want to do this, but I don’t know how to do it. I mean, for me, in the last few years, I mean, I touched on it before, we’ve helped organize this. I’m one of the founders of the marathon of Afghanistan, which is like, you know, the only mixed gender sporting event in Afghanistan. The same, I’ve helped organize a race in Somali land, and I sit on a couple of boards of trustees of nonprofits, one from the States and one from America, that work with sport in Afghanistan. And I think that that’s something that once, you know, we’re reasonably established. It’s a case of, okay, what, because we’ve all, I’ve always felt, and we’ve always felt that, you know, a trip with untamed board is only successful if the guests have a good time, but also there’s some benefit to the places that we, we guide it, you know, we’re guiding in some of the, you know, least developed sort of traumatized regions in the world at times. So just to go there, take a group around, you know, pay the staff that we work with, and then leave just doesn’t quite feel enough to me, you know, we should be, if people are coming, and people who come with us want to usually want to feel like they’ve had a positive impact. So I think that’s more important to me now is, as we guide, as we do trips, as we develop in other areas, is that we somehow, you know, contribute something that is more, I mean, I think there’s, there’s positivities in bringing tourists to places anyway, especially post conflict countries, where the only international people often see a development workers and soldiers to see tourists is a positive thing. But to have, perhaps to bring more and to find ways that, that everybody can get a little bit more out of it, I think that’s, that’s what’s I’m more interested in now, if that makes sense. Yeah. I was curious why you use a focus on sports events. And when I think of American sports events, it seems a very commercial affair. It’s basically just about, it used to be Red Bull and then it’s Gatorade, there’s a sponsor who wants to put their brand out, and nobody really, there isn’t a sense of community in as much as I would, would hope, let’s put it this way, when I participated in these events, a movie, Olivia in San Francisco, we have a lot of marathons and triathlons. And usually we, we just, I just go down and talk to athletes, just to find out, you know, what’s kind of their next challenge and just to create a conversation. I find this a difficult pitch for myself. I don’t see, how do I say that, the explorer spirit in most athletes, amateur athletes, so they are not professional athletes, right there. And from a random selection, right, you just, we basically just chat people up, because it’s a great place to be. That’s a great atmosphere we feel in the aggregate. What do you think sports events is, what did the vehicle you’ve chosen, why is it not entrepreneurship, why is it not another nonprofit? I think that, I think if I’m perfectly honest, it chose me rather than I chose, I chose it. I mean, I like to do, you know, I played sort of football soccer and, you know, rugby and cricket as a kid. So I quite like sports. I think that, I think somehow as well, I mean, if we fell into this, because there was a Swiss guy put on a ski event in Afghanistan, when we started doing our ski trips to Afghanistan, he helped organize something called the Afghan ski challenge. And as far as tourism is concerned, people like, I think there’s a growing increase that I think we said, people want to get perhaps a bit more out of their trips, rather than just going, okay, I’m going to spend two weeks visiting Morocco. I’m going to spend two weeks visiting Morocco and a week of that, I’m going to do like a painting course or a sketching course with someone. I’m going to, you know, something that I’d like to do. And I like to travel to combine the two. And I think there’s an increase in people, like, as you said, most people who go running and do a 10k run or a marathon, they’re not always interested in travel. But if you’re interested in travel, and you’re interested in running, what better way to like have a trip that includes a race, you know, you go to Myanmar and do the do the bagan marathon around all the pogodas and, and have a way to meet lots of new people, both, both Burmese and international. I mean, it’s, it’s a great combo. So from a commercial idea, it made sense. And then, as you say, it’s like, oh, it’s a, yeah, it’s a race. There’s a big banner with like Gatorade or whoever sponsoring it. And I’m like, oh, yeah, the same reason that I organize tourism in Afghanistan, I’m not a development organization. So we’re like, if there’s going to be a race, this isn’t a, it should be commercially viable. It shouldn’t be like a charity organization. So we have a telecommunications company sponsors it, the international people that run, give an entrance fee. It is free for the Afghan runners. And we do, we do sometimes do like other kind of little fundraising things to, to increase the numbers of people, but it can function. The core of it functions in the same way as a race would function in the US or the UK. There’s a sponsor, there’s entrance fees, and that covers the majority of the basic costs. And I think that’s really important in somewhere like Afghanistan. Why should there not be a rate, something like that, that just, there should be no other reason, but nobody’s done it. So I’m like, let’s do it. And I think that’s the benefit of some of these things is it’s like, and in Somaliland, I mean, we’ve seen it, we’ve seen other races link with other sponsors and say, well, why are you doing that? We’re going to do that. And I don’t think I’m possibly not going to be involved in the Somaliland anymore because they’re like, we don’t need these guys coming out. Why? Like, it’s not that nobody could link the sponsors and the, and the sports and together, it’s just that there was, there wasn’t this kind of trust that it would work and it would get the exposure and all of that kind of things. And if you just, we just kind of put it together. And it’s like I said with this entrepreneur and the guys with the paninis in Afghanistan, it’s not like anything new, but it’s just bringing something new in a place where it’s not been seen before. And it’s just people and it’s just, it’s just a really positive thing. So it’s not that I think I sat down and research for three months, what is the best vehicle that I can bring social change? I kind of fell into it. And I, but you know, I have this thing in life. If someone kind of, you see something or someone asks you and there’s no good reason for you not to do it, then the only option left is to do it. And that was the same with the math and someone was talking about it. This other guy called James, who’s from the UK who puts on math and was keen to get involved. And so the, I had to get involved at that point because I could see all the steps to make it work. And yeah, and it’s like, you know, in the five or six years we’ve been doing it, it’s not just about us, but you know, in Bamiyan where we run it, when I went there 10 years ago, there were no women doing sports. Now in the morning, I, you know, there will be a group of girls going running and nobody will bat an eyelid that they’re running. And someone like Afghanistan, that’s an incredible change. And it’s not that that race is the only thing, but it’s, it’s part of the, a kind of a bit of a movement towards that kind of social change, which I think is, yeah, it’s nice to be involved in it. It’s a bit like life is choosing us. We don’t really choose life. I was just talking to Nick Lockway yesterday and we’ve been contemplating about free will. And there is a real debate in there, how we use our own skills, right? And, and the, the way they’ve been, been by accident probably equipped with things. And then we, we take it out to the world and then the world kind of chooses us, right? And like almost from the, from kindergarten or maybe even earlier, because there’s certain things that we’re good at and then other things we are not good at. But to us, it feels like we, we, we went into these things because we wanted to, because but very often it’s no, I mean, it’s, it’s the opposite, right? So other people around us chose us because we had the best memory community to do this with the right set of skills. And then afterwards we found an explanation to tell us, okay, well, that’s what most people do, right? I always wanted this, but actually, you didn’t even know that 50, 50 months ago, 50 years ago, whenever, whenever that decision actually happened. So that’s, that’s really something that, that throws you off pretty, pretty quickly in life. When, when I go to countries and that might, might, might reflect my own personal makeup, or maybe it’s a bunch more common because I see this in other people too, is you immediately think of how can I make this place better, right? So from an entrepreneurial perspective, from a, certainly also from a governmental perspective, the first thing I do, and it never ends is always keeping going on my mind in, while I’m in that, in that place. And most people don’t listen to this, nobody wants to hear about this. But I always feel like there would be so many things that are cheaper, easier, better, right? To, to, to build a country that is more developed. Right? Often, you know, this is, this is a foreign view, right? Because for, for people who live in that country, this, this situation often presents itself quite differently than other challenges. They might have different priorities. And in general, we, I always say we have the government we deserve over long term, not short term, you know, we don’t deserve, nobody deserves a war, but long term, I think we all, we all get it sooner or later. And that’s also true for our environment. It’s designed by us. And it’s not true for 10 years, but it reflects a long term view of the population. Did you share that too? When you go to other countries, you immediately start thinking, how can I help, but not in the sense of want to donate money? But how do I, how could I contribute to make this place better in all kinds of abilities? And that’s what kind of leads to your involvement in the end? I don’t think so. I mean, I think, whether that means I’m less altruistic, or I’m less of an entrepreneur, but usually when I’m visiting somewhere, I think I’m always thinking of I’m off, if it’s somewhere new, I’m kind of not exactly focusing, but almost like enjoying being in that moment, and just trying to, trying to, you know, just relaxing into it. And if I’m, if I’m planning anything, of course, I’m planning something commercially of how I would kind of package this package, this experience and describe it as well. A bit, I mean, potentially as a more in a kind of writer’s eye or retelling, or how would I describe this? How would I, you know, if I find out something about how the economy works, or how the geopolitics is working there, and how these two political guys and who’s done, like that sort of stuff I enjoy finding out about, and it’s more, and making connections and contacts, and how just collecting, it’s more of like, it’s just a collection of information. That’s how I’m doing it. Not what am I going to do with it right now, but how I’m just collecting all this information. And I know because I’m going to be working there for, I’m probably going to be working there, where can that slot in? Where can that slot in in the bigger picture of Untamed Borders, in the bigger picture of me, in the bigger picture of organisations that I’m working in? It’s not necessary, because I’m not really a, I’m not a fixer, as in, I’m going to come in, and this is the plan, I’m more of a connector, and I can connect the people that want to travel, different organisations, journalists, you know, connecting people together, being the glue between different kind of bits of, you know, different people and different things. So I think it’s just a, you know, if I’m going somewhere new, it’s extremely open to what people are saying, what I’m seeing, what’s available, what potential it could have, rather than, and then, yeah, it’s more that, that’s what I’m doing. Would you describe yourself as a polyglot in that sense? Do you have like lots, do you speak like 20 different languages? No, I speak English and I kind of can speak Dutch, but I’m not, I mean, I’ve probably learned, I’ve probably not started, but I can probably ask for directions or some food in maybe about 10 languages or something, but that’s, that’s just, but I can’t speak it. Yeah. I like to, I mean, I like to collect information, for sure, for sure. So, you know, I didn’t grow up in the US. So I struggled with other languages before English was my fourth language and obviously it’s the one I use the most now. So that, that it turns out is a bit of an advantage because at least when you travel, it probably makes it a little easier to, to get this concept of other languages. So you definitely have that, right? But if you don’t travel that much, it’s hard to get there. And one thing that I noticed, I don’t know, you ever came across someone who did that. I feel there is a limit of how many languages you can fluently, like you can have a good conversation, pretty much any topic, not philosophical, but somewhat complicated. In, I feel there’s a limit on how many languages you can do this. So I can do it probably in three or four languages, but I definitely can’t do it. And I know words and lots of other languages, but only, you know, like 20 words, maybe 30 words. I don’t know if you ever came across someone who did this in 15 languages. Is that even possible? I was always curious. I mean, I know that I think, and this reflects a lot on just human nature anyway. We have a huge capacity for doing all sorts of things. But in what situation would you speak? Would you need to speak 15 languages, I guess is the question. Now, look, my partner in Pakistan, Khalsa, he speaks eight languages, but it’s not eight languages as he’s really ever gone out to learn any of them, because he’s from, he lives in Pakistan. So in Pakistan, the national language is Urdu, but Urdu is only spoken as the mother tongue by about 10% of the population. So he speaks Urdu, but he speaks Pashtun because he’s Pashtun. But the biggest language spoken in Pakistan is Punjabi. So he speaks Punjabi as well. But in the old city of Prasah where he lives, they speak Kaur, which is the original language of there before the Pashtuns. And because of all the Bollywood films, he speaks Hindi as well. Now, he’s not actually from Pakistan. He’s from Afghanistan. So he speaks Farsi, he speaks Persian, and he speaks Dari as well, which are quite related, but they are different languages. And also he speaks English because he guides. Now, these eight languages are kind of his daily languages, potentially his daily languages. He could speak all of those languages in a day in Prasah. Now, that’s without him really having, if he grew up like that and decided to learn another four languages because of school and going to China or going to France or something like that, there’s a possibility. But at what point can you actually, like that’s quite a specific case. And but at what point are you going to have 15 languages without and realistically be speaking them every day? Do you know what I mean? Like what, what crazy combination of political, you got to be a trader, you know, I was talking to Mark Seraphim and he grew up in Beirut or in Lebanon. And he said, you know, the Lebanese figured out pretty early in their life as Phoenicians, that before Lebanon even existed, that you’re just too small and they were always behind the Hebrews anyways, the Israelites. So they ran the smartest around and they were never the biggest countries, so to speak. But what they could really figure out that they could learn everyone’s language, give them a good time when they come to Lebanon and trade with them, go to go to those countries. And, you know, as more kind as in that situation, as more languages to speak, you make more money, right? So obviously, your children have to learn it and it’s not a commentary, but I can easily see that someone goes scale scale this up and says 15, 20 languages for some people comes much easier than others. It’s not that easy to me either. I have to really put effort in but some people listen towards see it once and that’s it, what they can use it after that. So I was always fascinated by that ability because I feel, I’m not sure this is actually true, but I feel every language you think differently. And it opens a new world to you. Like you said earlier, you know, we need to go out and have that adventure and discover something for ourselves. That is the case in the trips that people do with you. It also can be a new experience that opens up a new world if you learn a completely new language because people think slightly different, the structure of thoughts are different and you can learn. So I learned Russian and then read Dostoevsky and those are complicated in any language, but it gives you another point you can go through and then you through and then you know it, right? And then you’re like, okay, I need to go on to the next one. But it’s never over. And I don’t think there’s a holy grail, but I feel like if you are able to accumulate some other languages, maybe you can also accumulate so many cultures, you can accumulate so many different ways of thinking. But that’s all just a speculation. To be honest, I’m still looking, right? So that’s part of why I’m doing this podcast to learn more about people who have that gift. I don’t have it. I think, and look, I think that is, I agree with you about the different cultures, because one of the things that I think we are, we also are a little bit sort of cultural translators. So when people go to the countries that we guide in, I always say we try and guide by giving people a framework around what they’re seeing. Like it’s very easy just to go somewhere and say, oh, that’s what I’m seeing is a, I don’t know, like a woman in a burqa. So I’m seeing a woman who’s got a big blue sheet over her head and looks like a shuttlecock, or therefore she’s oppressed and probably the men are bastards. And that’s reasonable to see that from that image. But of course, you know, I think you touched on it before with Papua New Guinea, tribal societies, we all developed, or every society developed from tribal societies, they were the earliest societies that we had as humans before, you know, going into the sort of larger civilizations. And any tribal societies has much, has all sort of complicated, not complicated rules, but has rules about different kinds of things. And this is where it all comes from. And they can still make a judgment and say that all of that, but you have to create a sort of framework for that. So I see partly that we understand and somehow speak the language, I guess, of some of the cultures that we that we work in. And I see that sometimes in, you know, the language sometimes in the same way that like, you would sometimes think in Russian or thinking Swedish, or you’re originally Swedish, right? Or German, German, German, or thinking German. Sometimes someone will ask me something, whether we can do something in Afghanistan or Pakistan. And I know the answer is no, but I have to work out why it’s no, like I know why this is going to be a problem, but I have to work out how I’m going to explain it to them, because you know that this is going to cause a problem for a security reason, for a cultural reason, whatever. But it’s quite hard. I have to think, take a couple of steps back, and how I’m going to, how I’m going to explain that that is like not appropriate, or it’s going to be an issue, or any of those kind of things. So yeah, there is a kind of, I guess, a cultural language that that you that you learn. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I think I don’t really listen to Alexander Bart, I just, or Bart, listened to him a couple weeks ago. And he has this picture of shamanism. So we, he, in his mind, and that’s what he’s a philosopher, he’s very well known in Europe, about four to five percent of each of a population has shamans, he calls them shamans. And those are people who travel between, they’re in between other people, and they speak the different languages, not just culturally, but also in terms of different meanings. And they, they are the ones who are typically trusted within their population. So 95% of population has no idea, no interest in it, but then there’s five percent, and that seems to be stable across any time frame across any population. And those are the people who want to be the translators, not literally necessarily, but they want to go out, like you just said, you have to find how to make this cultural translation work. Those, those are the people who, who would be drawn to this. So, and they hear this calling. And they are also the people who are very often religious. They don’t have to be, right? But that’s, that’s often, they’re often priests. And they are working with religion, not a daily basis. But it’s probably my last question. What is, what is your discovery, your religious discovery? I don’t know how you grew up. Maybe you can help us understand better. And, but seeing places that are dominated probably by different religion. How does this help to, to reflect on your own religion or maybe change your religion, become more or less religious? I mean, I didn’t have, I mean, I was, I was Christian, but I mean, I didn’t have a particularly strong religious upbringing. And I would say that from a time spent in the, certainly initially, when I first sort of traveled in, it sort of independently myself in the Middle East and in Islamic countries, I, I learned more about Christianity than I did, that I think I knew before, because to understand Islam, obviously you have to understand Judaism and Christianity. It’s the Abrahamic religion is the same, but not the same, but it’s the same root. It’s the same story. They reference each other in the Middle East. People live next door to each other. You know, they know these religions are so heavily intertwined and, you know, spend time in a Syrian Orthodox monastery in just, just North of Tabascus for a week. Maybe this is 14 years ago now, which was, was very interesting. But I think that I don’t think it’s ever really changed my sort of views on religion. I see that a huge amount of sort of strength and unity and power, positive power in religion. I think anyone that says, you know, all the wars and things like this are caused by religion. I mean, wars are caused by people and power and all of these kind of things. And you can, you can put religion in front of it, or you can put nationalism in front of it, or you can put whatever you want in front of it. It’s about power and ways of coercing people to come together and fighting for defense and fighting all sorts of other reasons, but resources and religion is you can put in front of it. But I, yeah, I don’t know. It’s, it’s a strange question. I don’t know if there’s any kind of, there’s nothing hugely profound, except, I mean, what I would say is that it’s not necessarily a religious thing, but in a lot of the places that I work, I think, and when do you ever really understand something? But a thought that has always helped me or helps me understand places is that in Europe and in North America, there is this, the idea of, how can I say it, the idea of being, what’s the word, independent, no, being, so the idea of personal freedom, that’s it, the idea of personal freedom is extremely powerful. You know, we grew up with these kind of Hollywood films in that the teenage hero doesn’t listen to his parents and whatever, and he turns out to be right. And the idea that your personal freedom is incredibly important. And in a way, there’s a huge amount of judgment on other cultures where the family and the community are really important. And that if people don’t appreciate, or the people are pressured by that family and pressured by that community to conform, and that’s just wrong, you know, that’s a wrong thing to do. Whereas I find that in a lot of the places that I work, people like the idea of a bit of personal freedom, like who doesn’t like a bit of idea of personal freedom, but also the commitment to the family and the community and the religion is also really important. It’s not like a burden, it’s not like something that everyone just wants to break the shackles of and go away. People really find that an important thing as well. And I think that’s something, it’s slightly off the topic, but I think that’s something that to possibly to understand that helps a lot in understanding the cultures of a lot of the places that I work in, if that makes any sense. That makes a lot of sense. I agree with you perfectly, the view and the risk of the view that we have as the most developed place, right, so to speak, is that we take our rebellion views that are very new, right? So the independence revolution, as you would probably call it, that’s only since the sixties. Maybe you can trace it back to the thirties, but it’s a relatively new thing. And nobody knows if this is actually going to survive. This is like communism was 100 years ago. It looked like a beautiful idea, but nobody was really sure if this is going to survive. And it kind of didn’t develop the best track record. Let’s put it this way. It’s still out there and might still make a comeback. And the same is true with this hardcore individualism that is so far away. And I think Muslims see this better than Christians because I think Muslims and Israelites or Hebrews, Jews see this much stronger than Christians see this. As further we go away from the ways of the Old Testament, we increase risk. That doesn’t mean we’re wrong, but it probably means we are adding risk. So it’s not like we make it seem in our Hollywood and modern media, it makes it sound to us that we already know the true threat. So there’s like Barg Obama saying you want to be on the right side of history. He’s correct, but he obviously implies that he already knows the right side of history, which is Godlike, so which is ridiculous when you think of it. But it’s something that’s being used all the time in modern media and to fend off any kind of conservatism. And I think this is odd. There is a middle ground and it is for people in the end to decide. And more importantly, it is to decide for how much we’re going to advance. So these religious rules are basically survival rules. I always call it the Bear Grylls Handbook of Philosophy. So they are given to us as because they helped our ancestors to survive better, to create better products, to create all of the stuff and technology that we see around us. And that’s definitely not the last word. So there’s maybe there’s a lot of things that we should reconsider. But I’d say 90% of it is pretty spot on. It’s pretty correct. But this is not the modern view. And I think this really puts people at odds going to places that are more conservative. And it makes it hard to have an open mind. People develop this, I think traveling to a lot of places and also spending time and effort in this definitely definitely does that for you. And I think you already went through this process, like all of us who’ve done this for a while. You open up your mind and you see, okay, there’s other worlds out there. That’s not just what I was told when I was young. Maybe that wasn’t true, but maybe there was only 10% of the truth. But maybe it was 100%. But I didn’t reflect that correctly when I learned it. So those are things you learn necessarily when you go to places that are outside of your comfort zone. And I do feel that the current view of Islam is really, it’s judged from a Western world is really interesting. So we don’t have time for this, but love to talk a little more about this, maybe if you can come back on the show. And if you want to talk about that, because it is a sensitive topic. But there is a lot of different things that are going on with the view of Islam that I think I’m not actually what’s going on with you see Islam in action. So it is on one hand is more conservative than people think, but on one hand it’s more strict. But on the other hand, it’s also not it is much more open. And I’d love to dive a little deeper into this. No, no, I mean, again, it’s such a wide ranging to say, to sort of couch Islam and the Islamic world as a billion people and with one voice is sure, but it seems to be more orthodox than Christianity and even Judaism. So while it’s not there and it’s definitely generalization, we would have to make it more specific or fully agree. It is a little more orthodox. So there is more of an adherence to the book, so to speak. Yeah, yeah. And I think that there is. Yeah, for sure. And as you said, I mean, this is a this is another like, you know, this is another two hours of discussion. Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thanks for doing this, James. Thanks for coming on the podcast. I hope we will have you back here talking about some more topics next time. I really appreciate that you took the time. Thank you. No, thank you for having me on. I really it’s been great. It’s absolutely flown by and I’d love to come back another time. We can find something else to have a bit of a deep dive on. So but thank you very much. It’s been great. I’m looking forward to it. Okay. James, take care. Talk soon. Bye bye.