WildChina’s story is one of exploration, self-discovery and challenge. High up on the slopes of Tibet’s Mount Kailash, WildChina Founder Mei Zhang braved the high altitudes and harsh landscapes to find true beauty of snowcapped mountains alight with the sunrise. The breathtaking view brought Mei a sense of fulfillment – yet she stood alone and exhausted from her journey. From this experience, Mei was inspired to start her own business dedicated to offering high-end responsible journeys to China’s most remote and unique destinations. The creation of the WildChina Explorer Grant is a testament to supporting other explorers in finding authentic and life-changing travel experiences while protecting local cultures and environments. Jennifer Thome met with Nellie Connolly, manager of WildChina to learn more about this exciting contest.
What is the WildChina Explorer Grant?
The WildChina Explorer Grant is a grant of up to USD 3,000 that is awarded to adventurers seeking to push the boundaries of responsible, off-the-beaten-path travel in China. WildChina wants to offer adventurers the opportunity to turn their outdoor visions into real advancements in China exploration. All submissions for the 2012 WildChina Explorer Grant are due by November 15, 2011.

Who was the 2011 WildChina Explorer?
In its initial year, the WildChina Explorer’s Grant was granted to Canadian explorer and writer Jeff Fuchs, with British entrepreneur and endurance athlete Michael Kleinwort. Along with local nomadic guides and the odd mule, Fuchs and Kleinwort traveled to the most isolated and unknown portion of the Tsalam route in Qinghai – a remote portion from Honkor to the Maqu area. The expedition completed in May of 2011 was completed entirely by foot leaving as little carbon footprint as possible. It accessed many of the last nomadic traders to document their precious recollections of travel along the Tsalam. The expedition is another in Fuchs’ desire to bring Asia’s long lost trade routes to light.

So, how does WildChina decide the lucky winner?
Good question. WildChina is lucky to be working with an expert panel that will help us make this very important decision! Our current expert panel consists of Edward Wong of the New York Times, Li Bo, Executive Director of Friends of Nature, and Yu Hui, Executive Editor of National Geographic Traveler.  Each offer a unique skill set, but all are committed to adventurous travel that leaves a low carbon footprint.

For our readers who are interested in applying, what should they know about the WildChina grant?
Firstly, better submit quickly as the submission deadline is coming up fast! And secondly, WildChina and our expert panel are very interested in pushing forward a trip that provokes an interesting conversation, utilizes best practices in sustainable restaurant, and possibly exploring areas in China that are changing rapidly and experiencing a disappearing way of life and culture.

For more questions, please contact expedition@wildchina.com


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