The trip leader Patrick was able to sit down today with expedition-mate, student, and photographer extraordinaire Ryan E., who is from just outside the Washington, D.C. area in Virginia. He asked him a few questions about the trip thus far. Here’s what he had to say…

Patrick H.: How does it feel to be a member of a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip?

Ryan E.: Blessed! This being my third trip, I feel very lucky. I have spent multiple summers on the “road” thus enabling me to hone my photography skills, all while experiencing local culture and wildlife at the same time.

PH: What has been your most interesting experience thus far?

RE: To be quite honest, it was hearing and seeing [fellow student explorer] Lilly’s reaction to a recording of my a cappella group that we played while on the road in the Outback.

PH: Why was that so memorable?

RE: Well, singing a cappella at my school is sort of a nerdy thing. Students appreciate it but most of them never go out of their way to hear us out. It was nice to see someone show genuine appreciation for it.

PH: Interesting. Your reply would suggest that the people on this trip are as important as the place. Would you say that one is more important than the other?

RE: I think they are equally important. I am on this trip with people from all over the U.S.A. and even internationally [including Colombia, Cypress, and China]. We say different things and we have different expressions. Especially Luca. Man, the way he talks… That whole New York City thing has always, always got us in laughs.

PH: I see you laughing yourself. It’s great to see there’s a good mix of people. Let’s switch gears to the traveling part, though. What’s one piece of Australia that you can’t get or experience back home?

RE: The Outback. Because I live in the D.C. area, there’s always something happening. I’m always having to go somewhere. And it’s never quiet. I got to experience dead quiet in the Outback. True silence. Put another way, the place is slower here and the people are a bit more laid back here in Australia; and in the Outback specifically. I find it serene.

PH: Alternatively, what’s something back home that you can’t get here (and that you miss)?

RE: A “good” shower. The water temperature was good, but the air temperature in the Outback combined with the lower water pressure was far too cold to have a quality experience. And don’t get me wrong, I love camping and getting really dirty, but nothing beats a high quality shower.

PH: Anything else you want to share about this adventure?

RE: Get out here. It’s worth the 30+ hour-round trip flight because it doesn’t compare to anywhere else. While I hope my pictures can somewhat capture the landscape, I wish I had a wider lens. I wish I could get even more of it, because there is so much more to get!

Check out some of our photos from the Outback!

Photo by Ryan

Photo by Ryan

Photo by Rachel

Photo by Kai

Photo by Ryan

Photo by Clara