Scott Robertson

What is an Expedition

By: Posted On: 2009-06-16

Recently a virtual Scouting buddy from the UK asked me what the definition of an expedition is. It took a while before I understood what he meant. He explained to me that in the UK they have a badge called “The Expedition Challenge”. (The full requirements are at and that to earn the badge the Scout has to complete a “Expedition – a purpose with a journey”. As there is no guidelines to what an expedition is so for a new Scout a hike as part of a overnight outing may be right for them, but for a experienced Scout that has been around the hill a few times a several day backpacking trip with all there gear on there back may be nothing but a fun stroll.

So what is an Expedition. Well I am not going to put a concrete answer to this, even if you want me to, after all as stated above what is a challenge for one is a walk in the park for another.

Wikipedia says: “Exploration is the act of searching or traveling a terrain for the purpose of discovery...” defines it as: “an excursion, journey, or voyage made for some specific purpose, as of war or exploration.”

Now what is a expedition to me:

A special journey that offers a number of exciting and potential dangerous challenges to the individual participants that requires them to be more and do more then they normally would with a ultimate goal in the end regardless of terrain or overall purpose. A expedition may cause you to become totally immersed in a strange environment or culture. The expedition should also ultimately lead the participants to farther learn to work as a team, how to deal with circumstances they may not always be comfortable with and to personally become more within themselves.

You notice regardless of who's definition you look at there is a purpose at work, a reason for it to happen, regardless if its to overcome something personally or just to end up somewhere. Most expeditions are just a journey from one point to another point that involves various challenges to those making the expedition. However there is another type... Such as Lewis and Clark going into a vast wilderness or Columbus sailing to discover a new route. They knew what there mission was and knew the expedition would not end until they completed that mission and returned home safely. They did not know how they were going to do every little part of it, after all they had no idea what challenges they would come across. They were however as prepared to complete there mission and to take on any challenges they came across.

I am going to end this post with this poem called “The Boy Scout”

You'll find him on a mountain trai
Well off the beaten track
Adventure mirrored in his eyes
His world within his pack

You'll find him when disaster strikes
With grime upon his face
You'll also find him deep in thought
In some secluded place

You'll find him where the campfire glows
And friendship fills the air
Just seek the brotherhood of men
You're sure to find him there

You'll find him here in each good turn
Content to do his part
But most of all you'll find him etched
On some Scoutmaster's heart.

I don't know about you but I think Scouting itself is a great expedition!



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