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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mark Dobson

The great ASF, the high north and a photographer in yellow rubber boots.

A man in a rain coat and yellow gum boots
AST official photographer preparing for inclement weather

The count down begins. Exactly a week today I will climb aboard a Turkish airlines flight in Kuala Lumpur bound for Istanbul. From there it's a short hop to Vilnius.

I'm charged with the responsibility of capturing this upcoming event as the Ajmal Samuel Foundation official photographer. A task I don't take lightly.

This is a monumental assignment, partaking in a epic 45-50 day bicycle/hand cycle 2500km road trip through the Baltics and High North Scandinavia. I'm charged with following Ajmal Samuel and his team as they trav

el a route that will take us through some of the highest latitudes in Europe we've ever been.

Prep work is tantamount.

You see although we begin in late summer, we've been warned that in the high north, summer temperatures won't feel so summery. 14 degree days. Cold nights. And lots of rain.

Many of us in the team are tropicana tenants. We're happy in our 29 deg and above comfort zone.

Ajmal is no stranger to warm balmy days. Born in South Asia, and a long time resident of sub-tropical Hong Kong, and as someone who spends a lot of his time like me in South East Asia, he's aware as I am, we're now leaving the sultry South and heading for the nippy North.

Note the rubber gloves! That's how thorough my prep work is. Jokes aside. Preparation is tantamount to success. Keeping dry in important when the wind chill factor on a bike can mean misery very quickly on cold damp days.

I look to the founder of the ASF, Mr Ajmal Samuel himself for prep inspiration. For he's no stranger to understanding mental and physical preparedness. His military days, added to his years as an extreme athlete have honed his mission preparedness skills.

We're going National Geographic prepped. Besides lots of camera gear, lots of clothing layers too. Wind and water-proofing to protect ourselves and our gear. This time I'm not going to get caught with soggy hands or feet. And my day-glo yellow boots are going to dazzle every raindeer that comes our way!

Seriously. We're all ready to take on the challenge. But not more so than Ajmal himself. He has the biggest feat ahead of us all. That is to hand cycle his way up to through the High North. That's no walk in the park. Excuse the pun.

I leave you with one of his mantras;

'Every morning starts a new page in our story.

Go out and create your own new story.

Write it! Make it Happen'.

Ajmal Samuel ASF

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