Dreamtime Stories – with Chaz Powell

Welcome to the third blog instalment of our series of Dreamtime stories, where we share the experiences of adventurers from their travels and expeditions!

This time around, we got talking to avid explorer and expedition leader,  Chaz Powell. Exploring the globe for more than 16 years, Chaz has dedicated his time to investigating Africa’s wildest rivers while assisting in the battle against wildlife crime. Take a read of the full interview below.

 

Interview with Chaz Powell:

 

all photo credit: Tim Roberts

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and where you came from

 

“My name is Chaz Powell and I’m an Explorer and Expedition Leader who was born and raised in Shropshire, England.
I’ve been traveling the world on and off now for about 16 years and the more I’ve traveled the more extreme my adventures and explorations have become.
I’ve recently focused my time on walking the length of some of Africa’s wildest rivers. Including a 3000 km, 137 day trek along the Zambezi River, a 1200 km, 47 day trek along the Gambia river and an 800 km, 29 day trek across Madagascar from east to west whilst walking the length of the country’s longest river, The Mangoky.”

 

You’ve done some pretty epic things. What made you want to get out there and do something different?

 

“Ever since I can remember all I’ve ever wanted to do was travel and explore the world.
It seems to have been a natural progression from a young age and the fact I feel more comfortable in the outdoors or in a wild environment makes me think that it’s something that’s naturally engrained into me.
Doing something different to a normal existence and living what I feel to be a life of overwhelming and exciting experiences is what makes me feel truly happy.”

 

 

It’s inevitable that when you do what you do, you encounter some pretty dicey moments. Have you had any times where you thought, “sh*t, I’m in a tough place here”?

 

“I’ve certainly been in some very ropey and difficult situations…. But I feel that one of my stronger points is being able to stay calm and keep my wits about me in the most challenging of times.
When I was taken hostage in Mozambique during my Zambezi trek I found myself in a whole new world of trouble. It was only after 3 days of being locked up in a village mud hut that I eventually managed to persuade someone to let me out to use the toilet. They reluctantly did and I beat a hasty retreat and ran off into the bush where I hid out and managed to make my escape back down to the river.
I’ve also been in some very dangerous situations with wild animals such as elephant charges, lion encounters and nearly stepping onto highly venomous snakes.
Also a few near death experiences such as running out of water and getting lost in 50°C temperature’s in Africa’s bushland. The list really is quite big and I’ve definitely rode my luck on many an occasion during my remotest of expeditions.”

 

 

What is it you struggle with most, doing what you do?

 

“I guess the biggest struggle can sometimes be coming home and adapting back into what people consider to be a normal way of life.
On my remote journeys I often spend most of my time in places where people have nothing and pretty much live off the land around themselves. They don’t really notice that they have nothing, because there isn’t anything around them to think they need anything more (if that makes sense.. ha).
So when I return home I realise that we live in a very material world and that we really do take so much for granted. Often thinking that material things can bring us happiness. This is a concept I often struggle with, as I feel happiness comes to me more through experiences and being content with the natural world around me.”

 

On your adventures, what would you say are some of the most memorable moments?

 

“Some of the most memorable moments for me are the simplest little things. Like being sat on the floor outside with a family in a remote Zambian settlement, with them sharing their simple meal with me. All of us eating with our hands from the same plate in front of us. The humble nature of the people I met. The people who had nothing, but gave everything. Their kindness and hospitality spoke volumes and overwhelmed me to such a huge extent it stays with me always.”

 

 

Would you say travel and exploration changed you?

 

“Travel and exploration has definitely changed me hugely. Not just by stretching my comfort zone and expanding my adventure boundaries. But It’s also taught me to massively open my mind and to understand and respect all different people, cultures and ways of life.

As well as gaining a huge respect for the natural world all around us, and knowing that I need to live my life in a more ethical and thoughtful way in order to move forward and have the most minimal impact I can on the environment.”

 

 

Do you have a story to tell?

We’d love to hear about it! 

Share with us the best stories from your travels, expeditions & explorations and we’ll upload our favourites.

Acceptable Submissions:

  • Tell us about an adventure from your travels
  • Stories you’ve learned from foreign cultures
  • Coverage of your current or most recent exploration

Tell us in as much detail as you like, in the form of a blog, a video, with pictures or a podcast

All we ask is that it is appropriate for us to post on our website or social media channels, and consider the following things:

  • What did you learn?
  • How has the experience influenced you? 
  • The more you can describe the setting and your feelings, the better!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Send them over through our contact form or get in touch with our Facebook or Instagram pages.