Torrential rain, sheer mountain faces and exhausting humidity couldn’t stop the ‘invincible’ Not Just Travel team from reaching the Lost City of Colombia and raising thousands for charity Mind.
The gruelling challenge saw the team trekking through the Colombian jungle for five days, at times battling exhausting humidity, scrambling up mountains and clambering over obstacles. At one point the team battled for three hours against the challenging terrain to get just 1km closer to their goal – the Lost City. This stunning location can only be reached on foot or via helicopter.
Heat of 35 degrees and 91% humidity saw them battling to keep hydrated, while at other times torrential rain made the going slippery and progress slow. The team took on the challenge for a host of charities close to their hearts, but most supported Mind for a very special reason.
Not Just Travel co-founder Steve Witt’s brother and business partner Robin was recently diagnosed with rapid onset frontal temporal dementia aphasia at only 42. This very rare dementia means Robin, a father of two young children, not only has dementia but quickly lost the ability to communicate. Not Just Travel has pledged to raise £50k this year for Mind in honour of Robin and have already raised tens of thousands of pounds towards the total.
Steve was originally meant to join the team on the trek but had to pull out at the last minute to help with making emergency plans around the Thomas Cook collapse and to help look after his brother. He said he was incredibly proud of all the team: “It was a tougher challenge than expected, but the team did brilliantly. It’s an incredible testament to their determination that they have pushed through and helped to raise so much money. It’s been great to see the updates from everyone and see their willpower to succeed and help so many good causes, especially Mind. Everyone should be incredibly proud of themselves.”
Not Just Travel’s Gabrielle Dearling said the team had really bonded ‘like a family,’ through the trek, she said: “It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done, by far. There’s nothing that compares to it. The thing is, I felt prepared with my training, but I couldn’t have prepared for the weather – torrential rain and 35-degree heat and humidity. You were drenched in sweat before you started walking!”
“We all made it to the Lost City at the same time and we felt so euphoric. Everyone said a few words and we all got quite emotional. It was amazing. It brought everyone so much closer as a team and we all came away with a new perspective – you feel invincible.”
The team had some time in Toronto after the trek, where they went to visit G Adventures. Not Just Travel and the Charity Challenge were massively supported by the company, who are normally known for their small group tours. “We wanted to work with G-Adventures because of their ethical travel policies” says Witt. “Every penny put into the country stays in the country and helps the local population”
To donate to the team’s Mind fundraiser and help them hit their £50k target, please visit https://wonderful.org/fundraiser/njtcharitychallenge-683f0ef7