Life as an expedition doctor and adventure photographer travelling the world
An emergency room doctor has come up with the perfect plan to combine his love of travel, photography, along with his medical skills. For about six months of the year, Andrew Peacock works in the accident and emergency department of a busy hospital in Brisbane, Australia.
For the rest of the year however, he treks the world – working as an expedition doctor or as an adventure photographer (or sometimes both). “Over the years, that has meant taking responsibility for groups of people, large and small, in unusual and remote environments,” he told Lonely Planet News. “That ranges from looking after a large group of hikers on a trail in Papua New Guinea through to being in arguably a more controlled environment on a ship full of passengers heading to Antarctica.” He’s helped mountaineers tackle peaks in Nepal and Tibet, and worked as a doctor on a charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
“For the majority of the trips – the reality of what I deal with is much more like looking after general practice type problems, that you would expect anywhere,” he said. “Much of it is about prevention and planning, understanding risk assessments. If you have a group crossing a river, jumping from rock to rock probably isn’t smart. “On the icy external stairways on a ship to Antarctica, you might slip and break a collarbone or worse. Often, if things go badly wrong, they’re really going to go wrong and the idea is not to have to face any of those situations.”
He’s dealt with serious altitude sickness that needed urgent descent and treatment, while on the other end of the spectrum it’s common that people can get hit with a bout of anxiety while “venturing off the beaten track”. Andrew also takes spectacular photographs as you can see from this selection and more recently has been working with Lindblad Expeditions as a photo instructor giving tips to travellers on how to take the perfect picture. His travels have taken him to Antarctica on six separation occasions, “an important and fascinating part of the world”.
“One of the most interesting trips for me was when I went to Pakistan as a kind of jack of all trades,” he said. “It was a climbing expedition where I was asked to help out by a friend of mine who was the main photographer, and I was a back-up photographer, doctor, and sherpa as well, carrying gear. That was a combination of medicine, photography, along with mountains and adventure. Those trips don’t come along all that often but they are the kind I love to do.”