“ You don’t become an adventurer: you are one ”

Above all else, adventure is a state of mind, a way to see things. It’s often a solitary process that awakens people’s fundamental principles, choices and curiosity. Setting off on an adventure is going beyond your limits, it’s feeling through your body, your senses and your spirit the foundations of your being, your very nature.

Sarah prepares for a lifetime of adventure

“The fire that had always burned inside her would become her passion, her job, her life”. She enjoyed a wild childhood in the countryside, climbing trees and watching birds for hours at a time. When she was a child, she burned with an intense curiosity. This inner thrill for discovery would shape her, make her flexible but strong. She emerged from childhood ready for the next step.

She starts hunting …

With no pocket money, Sarah started the thankless task of slug-hunting in the family vegetable garden at the age of 7. She earned 1 franc for every 100 slugs. No matter the weather, she worked and saved to have the 8 francs she needed for a copy of her dream magazine, National Geographic.

First steps

This isn’t her first attempt. When she was eight years old she took off with her dog to spend the night in a cave and didn’t tell anyone where she was going. At seventeen she crossed Central Anatolia (Turkey) on horseback… without really knowing how to ride. Her taste for travelling brought her to Australia, but it was in New Zealand that she encountered the full experience of walking and made her decision: she would walk to fulfil her desire for discovery and her need to try and understand Life. She spent time in Patagonia, where kilometer after kilometer she explored the land. She stayed in Moorea (French Polynesia) where she was attracted to the beauty of the islands and their inhabitants. She explored Canada by canoe.

In 2000 she crossed the United States, from the Canadian to the Mexican border: 4’260 kilometers in four months and six days, a path full of obstacles. She then thought she had reached the limit of her abilities. Until the Australian bush beckoned her once again (over the years she has returned regularly to rejuvenate): From up in her snowy mountains in Switzerland, she thought up a wild plan: crossing the Australian deserts alone on foot…

In 2002-2003 she walked 14’000 km in the Australian outback in 17 months. She started alone and then on the way she saved a red cattle dog, he will become her compagnon ever since. 17’000 months later she will come home with him. Her brother met her in 4 points along the way to change her gear and feed her with quality food. Joel her brother became indispensable when on her west leg (canning stock route crossing) the worth drought in years strikes. He will help Sarah with food and collect the water ahead for her for this section. The arrival in Alice Springs was so emotional… her familly was there.

In 2006, she walked on the land of the Incas, from Chile to Peru via Bolivia. Her footsteps follow the top of the Andes ranges for eight months-7000 kilometres.

In 2010 –2013 she walked alone from Siberia to Australia meeting the wisdom of Central Asia, the tale-telling forces of the winds of the Mongolian Plains, and the moodiness of the administration in China, To finally arrive on the 17th of may 2013 in south Australia (nullarbor plain) . Where she promised her little tree many years ago to return.

In 2015 Sarah felt ready for the ultimate challenge a « surviving expedition ». She always wanted to survive off the land like the aboriginal people been surviving for more than 60’000 years. She get dropped by helicopter in the wildest part of australia in the Kimberley region away from humans. 3 months later and 750 km more south she emerges from the australian wilderness with a wide smile but emaciated… she said at that moment « food please, give me food ».

Dropped into the wild corner – 2015

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPEDITION

3 months of extreme survival

In 2015, National Geographic Explorer Sarah Marquis completed her solo traverse of the Kimberley’s in Western Australia. Over a course of 3 months starting on June 6, Sarah walked 500 miles through the wildest part of the country while living off the land and arrived at her finish point on September 6, 2015. Sarah survived the harsh conditions of the drought, close calls with saltwater crocodiles, bushfires and other dangers of the Australian bush and lost 12 kg of her bodyweight in the first section of it … This is much more than a expedition, she fight for her life

ExplorAsia expedition, 2010 – 2013

“ From Siberia to Australia ” 3 years alone on foot

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Gobi desert, winter. It’s the end of the day, the temperature has dropped to – 30°C, and I’m getting ready to put up my tent. This horseman appeared from nowhere, sat down and lit a cigarette, all in total silence. Once he’d finished he nodded to me and left, soon consumed by the whirling snow.

In 2010 Sarah travelled from Siberia to Australia, alone, on foot. From freezing cold to desert heat, from high mountains to jungles, 6 countries to cross, 6 different languages. More than an expedition, it’s constantly going further than you think you can. This extreme walk lasted 3 years. Obstacles of all kinds pushed Sarah beyond her limits…

Mongolia – Gobi Desert

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North Mongolia. This is life on the steppes. It’s summer, the least harsh 3 months in the Mongolian year. I pass by pulling my cart, then stop to take a photo. Not a single head is raised. Life on the steppes goes on.

Sandstorms, hailstorms, and mudslides destroyed her tent more than once. Her camp was regularly visited at night by drunk Mongolian horsemen. In the South of Gobi desert, Sarah had to be evacuated because a tooth infection was making her seriously ill. When she came back extreme temperatures (-35°C) and deadly blizzards made progress impossible. In the end, the third attempt was successfully, and she continued her journey.

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Gobi Desert, Chinese border. The nomads don’t travel this far, but here I am, alone. I’ve collected firewood, and I can hear wolf howls in the distance. The next morning he circles my tent before sunrise, howling loudly.

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Northern Gobi Desert. I’m getting dressed this morning when I hear small, high-pitched, plaintive sounds outisde my tent. I silently open my tent, and see them approaching while grazing on the sharp grass. They pass a few metres from my tent. I feel so close to Nature at these times.

China

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Gobi Desert, 100km from the Chinese border. I was sick this morning, but I had to keep going. I didn’t have enough water to wait even one more day before reaching the next water source. Life here hangs by a slender thread.

China was refreshing. Without map (forbidden) or GPS (forbidden), she walked through the Szechuan mountains with her compass and years of experience as her only companions. Finally she was arrested by the military special forces and had to leave the country.

Laos – Thailand

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Thailand, at the border with Burma I plunged into the blissful water, only then spotting an elephant on the other side. I would need to light a fire that night to let the jungle creatures know I was there. Normally I hide myself away to stay safe, but here the threat weighs several tons.

She was struck down by dengue fever in the middle of the jungle in Laos, then attacked at night by rifle-wielding drug dealers. Although shocked, she had avoided a tragedy.

Ocean

She travelled from Asia to Australia as a passenger on a cargo ship. She spent tense 13 days at sea alongside the crew to reach the shores of Australia.

Australia

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Australie, WA The beauty of living outdoors is living with the light, and the joy of witnessing every sunrise and every sunset.

Sarah he revelled in her return to this red earth that she now knows so well. She happily shared her everyday life in the blazing heat of the wilds with crocodiles, venomous snakes, wild pigs and buffaloes. Her journey to South Australia ended in the middle of the Nullarbor Plaine. “Where land stops and sea begins…” During her incredible Australian journey ten years ago, she slept under the only tree for kilometres, which became “her tree”. She promised she would come back. And so it was that she ended her amazing expedition under this tree on 17th May 2013, 3 years after her departure. “More than an expedition.. it was a constant adaptation to my environment and to all kinds of danger”.

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Northern Australia, day 836. I was overjoyed to be back in the bush, where every plant, every tree, every noise was familiar. But I would still need to pay attention to everything around me, as the bush holds constant danger from unseen threats such as crocodiles, bison and snakes.

South America expedition, 2006

“The way to the Andes” 8 months on foot alone in the mountains

She started from Santiago in Chile to travel 7000 km and end her expedition in Peru, on the top of the majestic Incan city of Machu Picchu. While walking through the Andes, Sarah suffered from altitude sickness for almost the whole journey. The cold weather (more than 2 months at -25°C), the altitude, and wind down her progress. Her brother Joël, head of expedition, left food and water in hiding places on the route for Sarah to find with her GPS. Even though it was meticulously organised, Sarah wondered if animals or the weather wouldn’t ruin the food in the months before she reached each cache. But in the end, thanks to her brother’s careful work, only one hiding place had been invaded by mice.

Machu Picchu – arrival

Sarah finished the Machu Picchu ascent at dawn. An emotional moment that didn’t last long, since the adventure didn’t stop there. After a few minutes at the site the authorities expelled her from the site, despite the special authorisation she had received.

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Chile – Laguna Verde The freezing cold, the winds and the altitude sickness were constant on my 7,000 km expedition. © Photo Joël Marquis

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Bolivia Difficult living conditions in altitude.

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Chile A cart and a backpack allowed me to carry my food and water until the next GPS point, where my brother Joel had buried, several months before, my new supplies.

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Northern Chile Moments alone to face the harshness, but also the beauty of nature.

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Bolivia I followed the footsteps of the Inca ancestors. I had in my possession the valuable topographical maps that lead me to this perfectly aligned cordillera.

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Peru – Machu Picchu An early arrival to the summit in the morning – from the back, on an unauthorized trail. A permit was obtained after months of negotiations. My last two expedition’s nights were magical, a full moon was my witness.

Australia expedition, 2002-2003

she walked 14’000 km alone in the AUstralian outback in 17 months

Sarah spent five hundred and ten (510) days wandering through the Australian continent alone. The thought of abandoning her mission never even crossed her mind. Faced with Mother Nature’s un-forgivingness, she humbly confronted her destiny by pushing beyond both her physical and her mental limits. Her basis for survival was her experience. She used her flair, her tricks and some leading-edge survival techniques borrowed from the US Army. Most of the time the animals she preyed on were faster than her. Sometimes nature pitied her and allowed her to satisfy her appetite. Her only points of reference were her precious topographic maps and a compass that never left her side.

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Great Sandy Desert I still have 800 red sand dunes to cross. A mesmerizing place. © Photo Joël Marquis

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Canning Stock Route I feel the isolation around me; 2,000 km of desert with no signs of life. It is a rare thing to experience a part of the world that hasn’t been invaded by humans. And thank you to my brother for this 2000 km of dry spell where he provides me with logistics (food and water )

It was very difficult to survive. I ate roots, plants, bush fruits... but I also had to hunt. As a diligent vegetarian, it felt like I was betraying MOTHER NATURE.

It was very difficult to survive. I ate roots, plants, bush fruits… but I also had to hunt. As a diligent vegetarian, it felt like I was betraying MOTHER NATURE.

When Joe joined me, it changed my life. He carried its water and food with pride and determination in its own backpack, for all of 10,000 km.

When Joe joined me, it changed my life. He carried its water and food with pride and determination in its own backpack, for all of 10,000 km.

After having spent a few months without bathing, my brother Joel (Logistique expédition) found me at a GPS predetermined location. I was finally able to wash myself with water from jerrycans he brought for me.

Supply After having spent a few months without bathing, my brother Joël (Logistique expédition) found me at a GPS predetermined location. I was finally able to wash myself with water from jerrycans he brought for me. © Photo Joël Marquis

I discovered at my own expenses that my walking shoes could not be used beyond 2000 km.

I discovered at my own expenses that my walking shoes could not be used beyond 2000 km.

USA expedition, 2000

She crossed USA on foot alone, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border: 4,260 km in 4 months and 6 day A journey filled with of obstacles, forest fires, bears … and police, who subjected Sarah to her first ever arrest.

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Mojave Desert With infernal temperatures, I faced alone my first crossing of the desert.

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Washington Alone in the woods, I hang my food up in the trees, in hopes that the grizzlies won’t steal it overnight.

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High Sierra – California I experienced my first mountain scare, narrowly escaping a avalanche up north. I will have to wait six days at the top, before being able to finally get down, one morning at 3 am when the snow became hard enough.