Arita Baaijens is a Dutch biologist and award-winning explorer and writer. Thirty years ago she gave up her job as an environmental consultant and has been pursuing her dream of exploring the world ever since. She has completed over 25 desert expeditions on camel, is the first woman to have crossed the Western Desert of Egypt solo on camel, and the first to circumambulate the Altai Mountains in Central Asia on horseback. She blends science, art and indigenous knowledge in her surveys. She employs innovative techniques to blend sensory, geographical, ecological and cultural information in multi-layered maps that can aid and empower indigenous communities to stand up for their way of life and land rights.
Hometown: Ede, Netherlands
Education: Free University Amsterdam
Occupation: Explorer, writer, biologist
Expeditions: Over 25 expeditions in the Sudan and Egypt since 1988, since 2007 travels on horseback in Siberia and Central Asia, Altai Golden Mountains Expedition (summer 2013 (1506 km, 101 days, circumnavigation on horseback of the Altai mountains in four countries)
Favorite place to be: Libyan Desert, Alai Mountains
Best discoveries: Nurayet, sacred rock art, Red Sea Hills in Eastern Sudan
Favorite items in the field: Compass
Personal heroes: Wilfred Thesiger, Alexine Tinne
Hobbies: Being outdoors is work, hobby and life – all in one
Advice: Follow your dreams.