Dwayne Fields and Phoebe Smith, known for their solo exploits, have decided to work together to change society’s image of the typical explorer and crowdfund to take a group of young, underprivileged people to Antarctica in 2021.
Who decides what an adventurer looks like and where they are from?
“For different reasons we feel underrepresented in both the media and society when it comes to showing what an adventurer looks like and where they are from,” explains Phoebe, a travel writer and photographer who was the first person to sleep at all extreme corners of mainland Britain on consecutive nights.
“I was always told black people just didn’t do this kind of thing,” says Dwayne, “that I shouldn’t follow this path because, after all, no one else like me was doing it.”
Growing up in east London he fell in with the wrong crowd where he was confronted with gang violence, but he found his escape in the outdoors. Since then has walked to the North Pole and last year led a group of underprivileged young people to the top of Ben Nevis in a ‘Street 2 Peak’ programme, after which several of them went on to gain employment and pursue their own adventures.
Tired of seeing lists of the ‘Top Adventurers in the world’ which don’t represent diversity or acknowledge the need to open up the outdoor for everyone and constantly being courted by media who say they wanted to change the image of adventure but never followed through, they decided that they needed to take action themselves. Setting up #WeTwo they are embarking on the first in a trio of special missions starting on November 18, 2019.
Seabirds to South
The first mission which started last month, sees them walking from the seabirds at Dunnet Head – the northernmost point of mainland Britain right to the end at The Lizard by 1st January 2020. It’s a journey of around 1300km – which is the same distance that they intend to cover in Antarctica the year after.
They are doing it on foot and rollerskis and pulling their equipment in specially made wheeled sleighs – named Walter and Wilma - to mimic an Antarctic expedition. They've been connecting with Scout groups and schools in underprivileged areas along the route, so that the children can see what they're doing, ask questions and see with their own eyes that anyone no matter what their gender, their upbringing or their colour, can be an adventurer.
“’It’s not about planting flags, it’s about planting seeds’ is the #WeTwo motto,” says Phoebe, “and when we get back from the Antarctic expediton, in 2021 we will be taking a group of underprivileged young people to the White Continent by expedition ship to create the next generation of ambassadors – for adventure, for wildlife and the environment through our #WeTwo Foundation. It’s our aim that #WeTwo will eventually become #WeToo.”