THERE FOLLOWS THE REFLECTIONS OF AN ‘OPINIONATED’ MODERN-DAY PLANT HUNTER.  PART 1 WILL COVER THE APPROACH OF US ‘BRITISHERS’ AS WE ARE STILL, MOSTLY AFFECTIONATELY, KNOWN AS IN INDIA.  PART II IS FROM A ‘LOCAL’ (HIMALAYAN) VIEWPOINT.
 
Attempting to “Play by the Rules”……
 
REGARDLESS OF CURRENT REGULATIONS AS TO WHAT CAN AND WHAT CANNOT BE IMPORTED INTO A PARTICULAR COUNTRY AND WHAT IS PERMITTED TO BE TAKEN OUT OF ANOTHER, GARDENERS (EVEN STAFF EMPLOYED BY LEADING BOTANIC GARDENS) HAVE NEVER HAD THE ‘RIGHT’ TO ATTEMPT TO GROW A PARTICULAR SPECIES (NO MATTER HOW ORNAMENTAL) IN THEIR PRIVATE OR EVEN ‘BOTANIC’ GARDENS, AT THE EXPENSE OF POPULATIONS OF IT IN THE WILD.  NOR, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF ATTEMPTING TO CULTIVATE A GIVEN SPECIES, SHOULD THEY RISK SPREADING PESTS OR DISEASES OR ACCIDENTALLY ‘INTRODUCING’ AN INVASIVE PLANT.  ‘INTELLIGENT’ COLLECTION OF SEED DOES NOT HARM WILD POPULATIONS, WHILST RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT PREVENTS DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE COUNTRY WHERE AN INTRODUCTION HAS BEEN MADE.  THOUGH THIS NECESSITATES ALL THOSE INVOLVED TO BE WELL-INFORMED, HAVING UNDERTAKEN ADEQUATE TRAINING AND PREPARATION. WE HAVE IN BRITAIN, SOMETHING OF A TRADITION OF THE ‘ENTHUSIATIC AMATEUR’ APPROACH TO OUR TRAVELS ABROAD BUT THIS IS NO LONGER APPROPRIATE. 
 
Chris HAVE SPENT DECADES, RIGHT FROM his FIRST JOURNEY INTO THE BORDERLANDS OF WESTERN TIBET, ON THE ‘UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON LADAKH EXPEDITION, 1980’, DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE NEED FOR A MORE PROFESSIONAL APPROACH TO PARTICIPATION IN EXPEDITIONS AND TRAVEL TO THE HIMALAYA/INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT IN GENERAL.  THIS HAS NOT ALWAYS MADE POPULAR BUT WAS THE “RIGHT THING TO DO”.  ON THAT FIRST TRIP, THE ONLY HARM, BEFELL! He BECAME SERIOUSLY ill AND HAD TO LEAVE PREMATURELY.  NOT THE BEST OF STARTS…  PROBABLY, THIS PERSONAL DEBACLE,  HELPED INSTIL IN A DETERMINATION TO, “SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT”.  He KNEW he COULD DO A BETTER JOB OF ORGANISING AN EXPEDITION AND COULD RELY UPON himself – RATHER THAN THE EXPERIENCE PROVING he HAD NEITHER THE MENTAL NOR PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES REQUIRED TO FUNCTION WELL UNDER ‘EXPEDITION’ CONDITIONS.  
 
OTHERWISE, LIKE MOST WHO PARTICIPATE IN ‘STUDENT’ EXPEDITIONS, IT WOULD ALMOST CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN A ONE-OFF.  MIND YOU, CONTINUED TO BE SUSEPTIBLE TO ‘GASTRO-INTESTINAL’ DIFFICULTIES AND FINANCIALLY, PURSUING A CONVENTIONAL CAREER PATH WOULD HAVE MADE MORE SENSE.  EVERYONE HAS WEAKNESSES/VULNERABILITIES – SO IT IS A QUESTION OF MANAGING THESE AND SELECTING YOUR FELLOW TRAVEL COMPANIONS WISELY.  IF ONLY  HAD KNOWN, FOR THOSE EARLY EXPEDITIONS, OF THE SIMPLE AND QUICK REMEDY SHARED FOR ‘GASTRO-INTESTINAL’ PROBLEMS, BY DR TED A FEW YEARS AGO.  CERTAINLY AN IMPROVEMENT ON THE GHASTLY AND HIGHLY INFFECTIVE BOTTLE OF ‘KAOLIN & MORPHINE’, THE ONLY TREATMENT AVAILABLE TO IN 1980 (ALONG WITH SOMETHING FOR AMOEBIC DYSENTERY).  THOUGH WHO KNOWS WHAT DIFFERENT PATH I MIGHT HAVE TRODEN IN MY LIFE, IF THINGS HAD WORKED OUT SATISFACTORILY IN LADAKH DURING THAT FIRST, STUDENT EXPEDITION?  THOSE WHO GO ON TO ACHIEVE THINGS IN LIFE, OFTEN GO THROUGH BAD EXPERIENCES BUT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO “PICK THEMSELVES UP” AFTER ADVERSITIES.  MOST SUCCESSFUL REALLY BUSINESSMEN HAVE HAD COMPLETE FAILURES, GOING “BANKRUPT”….