About the Trans Papua
Hello and welcome to the blog. Yep. this is the place where I’ll be tapping out any missives from the mountaintops for the next few months as I turn myself from coach potato to jungle warrior, then it’s off back to the mountains, swamps and forests of West Papua in early 2012.
For those that don’t know me, my name’s Will Millard and I lead expeditions in West Papua with my very good childhood mate Callum Fester. I’ve been in and out of Papua since 2007 and Callum’s been with me since 2009. West Papua is truly one of the world’s most fascinating places, one of the last true unknowns, packed full of wildlife found only in New Guinea, and doubtless home to several more undiscovered species – as Australian Zoologist Tim Flannery eloquently puts it “one only has to urinate in the Papuan bush to spend a very good chance of pissing on the head of a new species”.
In 2009 we led an expedition sponsored by the Royal Geographical Society’s Neville Shulman Grant aiming to uncover the ‘Jalan Raya’, an ancient on foot inter tribal trade route that once connected all the major highland tribes of Papua. Much fun was had by all as we spent just shy of four months walking through swamps, getting abandoned, having altercations with the authorities and losing our treasured friend, the pig ‘Wam Sarah.’ However, we were extremely fortunate to record a group of Tribes people known as the Moni that still produced and transported natural salt – clips and writings from 2009 can be seen here: http://www.willmillard.com/?page_id=35
Now in 2012 we are back and attempting to make the world’s first unbroken crossing of the island. But this isn’t just an endurance slog-off, we’re hoping to find yet more tribal trade routes, this time linking the Great Road of the highlands with West Papua’s coasts. For centuries highland products have been turning up in places as far afield as Sri Lanka and China, I want to know how, why and where these great traders operated, and if possible record the practise before it is too late.
I hope you all enjoy reading about my adventures as much as I love writing about them. Please have a look at the more serious website www.willmillard.com for all my articles, images and footage and join ‘The Trans-Papua Expedition 2012’ group on Facebook.