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BBC Radio 4 logoJourney of a Lifetime

The Journey of a Lifetime Award, given by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), in partnership with BBC Radio 4, offers you the chance to make a 'journey of a lifetime' and to tell the world about it in a memorable piece of radio documentary-making.

The award offers a £5,000 grant for an original and inspiring journey anywhere in the world. The award recipient will receive training in radio broadcasting from the BBC and will record their experiences for a BBC Radio 4 documentary.

Deadline

4 October (each year)

Apply

  Journey of a Lifetime Award guidelines (PDF) 
  Code of Practice for the Grants Programme (PDF)

Listen to previous recipient's shows on the BBC Radio 4 Journey of a Lifetime website

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Video by Dave Waldman

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This year's recipient

  2014: Peter Geoghegan.

Wrestling with Modernity in Mongolia

Life in Mongolia is changing quickly. As the country’s mineral-rich economy booms, today’s top Mongolian wrestlers enjoy celebrity status and huge financial rewards. But for lesser-known wrestlers, life is still a struggle between work and competition, a choice between the mine and the city. Peter Geoghegan will travel this summer to a training camp for wrestlers in rural Mongolia. Living among them in ger tents, he will learn how to wrestle - and about life in modern Mongolia - before competing himself in a summer competition.

The BBC Radio 4 documentary of Peter's journey will be broadcast on his return. All broadcasts from previous recipients are available to listen online.

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Journey of a Lifetime award recipients

  2013: Will Millard. Downstream: A journey by raft through the heart of Sierra Leone and Liberia’s Peace Park

In 2013 Sierra Leone and Liberia combined their portions of the Gola forest to form one of the largest and most ecologically important National parks in West Africa. Will Millard packrafted 100 miles down the remote Mano River, through the heart of the ‘Peace Park,’ meeting the local people, ecologists and unique wildlife on an extraordinary journey at the very frontline of African conservation. Find out more about Will's journey on his Blog or Facebook.

  2012: Jas Jhalli. Indians and Cowboys

Jas Jhalli goes in search of Argentina's legendary cowboys, the gauchos, in a horseback voyage to the southernmost tip of the Inca empire.

  2011: Jane Labous. The Sand-diggers of Mali

Jane Labous travels to Mali to meet the men and women who face hardship every day as they eke out a living digging and diving for sand and gravel from the bed of the River Niger, for the growing construction industry.

 2010: Nick Hunt. From Riches to Rags: Dubai to India

Nick Hunt follows the journey of Indian migrants, from Dubai back home to India, having lost their jobs in Dubai’s construction industry due to the economic downturn.

 
Dan Box attempts to reach the Carteret Islands where a mass evacuation is taking place as the sea level rises due to climate change.
 
 
Emily Ainsworth travels to Mexico to join a family circus, Circo Padilla, where she becomes dancer Princess Aurora.
 
 
David Waldman travels to Kenya's rift valley to live and run with the Kalenjin, the world's fastest long distance runners.

 2006: Jessica Boyd and Bill Finnegan. Deep into the Rubbish with Cairo's Zabbaleen

Jessica and Bill journey to Cairo’s biggest rubbish tip to meet with the Zabbaleen community, originally of rural Egypt, who make money out of Cairo’s waste.

 2005: Chris Brown. The high snows of Ladakh

Chris Brown travels to Ladakh and encounters the coldest winter for 30 years. Travelling with nomadic peoples, Chris seeks out a great friend he met on a previous journey.

 2004: Luke Freeman. Cattle roads and motorcades

Luke Freeman fulfils his dream to drive a herd of cattle along the old drove-paths of Madagascar and ends up jetting around Africa as chief speechwriter to the President.

 2003: Andy Home and Grigori Gerenstein. Land of black snow

Journalists Andy Home and Grigori Gerenstein visit Russia's most polluted town where the snow is black and life expectancy is 10 years below the national average.

 2002: Damian Welch. Hoping for a miracle: Tokelau

Damian Welch travels to the tiny atolls of Tokelau in the middle of the South Pacific. He meets with the Tokelauan people, skilled fishermen who run a co-operative so that their catch is shared fairly amongst the population.

 2001: Tessa McGregor. By rocket to Tigerland

Tessa journeys into the heart of Sundarbans, the wildest tract of mangrove forest in the world and the only forest of its kind inhabited by tigers.

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About the Award

The award, established in 2001, is a joint collaboration between the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the BBC generously supported through a private donation. The award aims to support informed travel and learning, through experience rather than scientific research, and to discover new radio talent. The outcome of each of the journeys culminate in a BBC Radio 4 travel documentary.

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