Meet Ripley Davenport!
Meet Ripley Davenport!
Ripley Davenport is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He has dedicated his life to exploring the desert regions of the world. His adventurous spirit has taken him all around the world to deserts in Central Asia and southwest Africa.
He was first trained in desert travel techniques in Niger and later in the Thar Desert where he studied with the Gadia Lohars, a nomadic community. He has been on several expeditions, some where he went alone, except for his camel. One trip took just 52 days, where he traveled 1,012 miles and crossed the Mongolian-Manchurian Steppe and Gobi Desert.
In 2011 he led the Gobi 2011 Expedition, which was another 1,000 mile trip. That time he crossed the Altai Mountain range and the Gobi Dessert. How’s that for someone with multiple sclerosis?!
Davenport was also a serviceman who served in the Royal Navy. He was a warfare specialist who served in combat operations. He has also served as an Intelligence Photographer and a Ship’s Diver. In addition to the Navy, he has served as a Field Gunner in the Royal Air Force Regiment.
He has been deployed to the West Indies and also the Atlantic and Falkland Islands Patrol Task Force.
His relapsing-remitting MS diagnosis did not come till 2011, after he suffered an episode of severe numbness and blurred vision during the Gobi Desert Expedition. After returning from the expedition, he was unable to concentrate and lost his drive to continue on.
After thinking about it, he decided to open up slightly about his diagnosis, but still doesn’t want to talk that much about it. His attitude as expressed in his journal is this – “I have been put in touch with various MS organisations and it’s obvious that they do immense work but I’m not persuaded that their campaign to “wrestle” MS is right up my alley. I don’t want to have a juvenile scrap or feel that I’m caught up in a ‘my MS is bigger than your MS’ fisticuffs with a schoolmate. I want to acknowledge it and just get on with life.” Go to Ripley’s Blog to read more.
He deals with MS by continuing to do what he does best, walking across deserts. I say go for it. Live your life in spite of MS.
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