CASKE 2000Expedition leader: Jean-Philippe Soulé
Born in France, I spent 2 years in the elite French
Mountain Commando unit. In addition to commando training, I operated in mountain rescue
under extreme conditions and received the medal of the national defense for excellence in
leadership. After leaving the army and France, I landed in the States with a backpack and
$200. I settled in Seattle and worked at Microsoft as a team manager. I used my 5 years
there constructively. I trained as a rafting guide, and I am currently a PADI scuba
instructor, Medic first aid and CPR instructor, a licensed pilot and a certified massage
therapist. However, the wilderness kept calling me back so I quit Microsoft, and left for
Asia. I spent a month in Thailand with Aka and Lissu tribes, and two months learning Thai
and Chinese massage techniques and medicinal plants. I moved on to Indonesia, spent a few
months acclimating and learning the language. In Irian Jaya, I discovered a world I had
only dreamt about since I was a child. The jungle, with its insects, parasites, humidity
and malarial fevers can be a living hell. Yet the combination of life, energy and spirits
is unrivaled. After hearing that the Mentawai tribes mastered the secrets of poison and
black magic I went to Siberut without a guide as Mentawais do not like other Indonesians.
Most people didn't speak the national language, but outside of the cities, words become
secondary. Communication is done with instinct, gesture, and energy. During my months in
the jungle, I had time to reflect on the way we live in the modern world and about the
people we call primitive. They live happy in harmony with the nature they preserve. They
know by instinct what takes us a life time to learn. I'm also an experienced photographer and have recently written the
cover story in Wilderness Way magazine regarding my travels in Irian Jaya. After three
years planning my next expedition while teaching English in Japan, I'm finally ready for the ultimate challenge of kayaking the shores
and rivers of Central America and returning to the jungle to once again share the
lifestyles of indigenous people.
A summary of the experience and skills that I have
to successfully lead this expedition are as follow:
Travel: Europe, North America, North
Africa, South and South East Asia. One year of experience living in the jungle with
Mentawai medicine men and other tribes in Indonesia and Thailand.
Languages: French, English, Japanese,
Indonesian, Spanish (currently learning).
Sports: Scuba diving (PADI MSDT
instructor), Mountain climbing (numerous expeditions: Europe, North America, Nepal),
Kayaking, Sailing, Power Kiting (use on land, snow and water), Cross-country skiing (ultra
marathon races), Cycling (96 stage winner in Tour de Hokkaido, Japan), Spelunking,
Canyoning, Orienteering, etc.
Rescue, First Aid and Survival: 2 years in
mountain rescue, Medic first Aid and CPR instructor, Licensed Massage Therapist (WA State
and Thailand), Mountain (Solo and team) and jungle (Solo) expeditions as well as
experience and great interest in "primitive" (natural living) skills.
Use of Media: Experienced photographer.
Enjoy writing and sharing travel stories (recently published the cover story in Wilderness
Way magazine). Good computer experience (4+ years at Microsoft managing a publishing and
localization team). Interest in video and other new media (Internet, DVD, CD-ROM, etc.).
Expeditions Photos of Jean-Philippe
Genesis of a Friendship (how J-Philippe and Luke
met), a story by Luke.
Our book is currently being edited and
is pending publication.
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