Ninth wave


We are an independent, international organisation and think tank which works in unknown or forgotten territories over the horizon generating space for investigation and positive change in environmental, community and social settings. We currently work in Europe, the Americas and Australasia, encouraging quiet, humble and slow exploration of places and people, opening up space for people to recognise shared humanity, needs and aspirations, culminating in concrete programmes of local-led, grass-roots development fundamentally based on local horizons, not imported value systems or solutions.


International Development, Community Engagement and Support

Most International Development is top-down, outside-in, item-led. Most particularly, an organisation or government from a developed country will analyse a situation in accordance with their own measures, and decide that a community require Item or Infrastructure A to better further their development, and install said item/infrastructure. As such, International Development tends to deal in very specific particulars and whilst we do not refute that on occasion infrastructure development is successful and useful, we absolutely reject that this process is not in any way owned by local communities, who are likely to have very different aspirations and needs to those imposed upon them in a time-specific and measures-led way by external first-world bodies. Having worked in territories over the horizon with remote communities for many years, we fundamentally believe that all meaningful change is necessarily slow, locally-led, attitude-and-aspiration-based. It is not about a water tap but about a sense of possibility. The water tap may bring clean water but it also brings dependency and encourages people to wait for further outside assistance, causing conflict when it fails to arrive. But someone who believes in themselves is capable of generating the autonomous power - with assistance and guidance - to develop systems for themselves. It may well be that these systems are not as modern, cutting-edge or perfect as imported systems, but they are generated and owned by local communities, which in the short-term may signify less, but in the medium and long term will signify so much more.

As such, working with communities primarily in the Americas, Ninth Wave is intent not on generating change per se, but on identifying and empowering people who are capable of generating change for themselves and their communities. These programmes and case studies currently take place in the USA, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru.


Getting out and exploring the world has the capacity to be a fundamentally humanising process, one in which contexts and the plate tectonics of our known world shift to reveal not just different cultures, values and people, but also the fact that who we are is not a pre-eminent value, but simply an accident of history and place. This can’t be seen, though, within the ego-centric process of conventional travel and movement, which is built around the desire to plant a self, import a pre-constructed identity, into a landscape. Indeed, it is hardly a stretch to say that exploration is systemically problematic, in its acquisitional, traditionally white-European-led 'conquering' of space, whether that be Columbus, or somebody climbing a mountain to stick a flag in the top, or even taking a selfie at the foot of the Grand Canyon to prove we were there.

We believe that it’s possible to reimagine exploration not just as a tool for positive change by humbly trying to connect with others and understand place, across spaces and time. As such, we do not believe in travel or exploration in the traditional sense, but we believe in un-exploring.

We believe in doing things differently, moving slowly, stopping frequently, not knowing what is around the next bend in the river. Because when we are vulnerable, uncertain and afraid, and still we step forward, is when we are at our most human, which is to say, most humble and engaged, most able to explore actual journeying, moving beyond what we think we already know, and able to leave our restrictive ideas of ourselves behind.

To this end, we embark upon journeys into spaces which are sometimes forgotten, or unknown, and move slowly, focusing on bridging gaps and having conversations. Ninth Wave invites people working in a range of fields including science, arts, environmental protection and communities to join our expeditions. They take place on sailing boats, canoes, on foot or horseback. These journeys are often physical, taking place over land and sea. But they are also voyages of the mind, because every journey is necessarily a mental one.

Opportunities for Re-Imagining Isolated Communities

In a global society built on centuries of environmental near-exhaustion, necessarily our knowledge and experience of how best to serve our environment is now greater than ever. In the context of established spaces and communities, this knowledge cannot be put to use whilst we constantly battle the damage that is done by the infrastructure we have already created. In other words, it is difficult to look ahead whilst we are constantly beset by the overwhelming need to fight fires from previous events and actions.

Isolated and remote spaces, by their very nature, offer an opportunity to rethink the way that environment is controlled and break free from some of the constraints of our past mistakes. In essence, the remoteness of such spaces is in itself an opportunity.

As such, we are working alongside remote communities in Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic to re-establish progressive local custodianship of space, cognisant of the fact that progressive, sustainable communities are managed by enabled, empowered peoples.

For more information please contact:



Voluntary Positions

We can house volunteers at one of our multiple locations for flexible periods of time. Volunteers need to be flexible, sensitive, humble, hard-working, inquisitive humans. To discuss volunteer opportunities please email with the subject heading "Volunteer".



Internships with Ninth Wave come in all shapes and sizes, from positions working on single programmes in a particular place, to wide-ranging positions across locations, to specific job roles supporting social media, urban farming, creative endeavours, grant applications etc. To discuss opportunities, please email with the subject heading "Internships".



We’re currently looking to expand our team of journey leaders and project staff with a view to delivering and extending the reach of our existing community, social and environmental programmes on both a local and international scale. We have no requirements in terms of qualifications, but have extensive requirements in terms of attitude, proactivity, inclusivity and getting out there and getting things done, with minimal or zero resources. Prospective applicants are invited to join the team on a journey (with subsidised contribution) for two weeks in order to support journey leaders while getting a sense of how we explore and operate, with a view to discussing a long-term role. We're accepting applications for journeys on the Hudson, Mississippi, Usumacinta and Amazon rivers — contact for more information.



Teams of Ninth Wave expeditionaries undertake interdisciplinary journeys of slow, thoughtful exploration in remote and forgotten spaces all over the world. To find out more about opportunities to gain experience, pursue research interests and explore, send us an email at


"I'm incredibly happy and grateful for this opportunity. Working on turtle conservation projects with Ninth Wave was an experience I never thought would impact on me so strongly; it took me completely out of my comfort zone and made me realise that I have the opportunity to do something positive and give a little back for everything we get from our planet. In only a short period of time I learnt an immense amount."

Gabriella Cambranis (Mexico) - pharmacist


"I embarked with a backpack of clothes but left with so much more: I found an enticing peacefulness. Through our triumphs and hardships, conquered by teamwork, I learnt things about myself that I will carry forward with me throughout the rest of my life."

Kelsey Phillips (England) – student


"I can't express enough how beneficial these trips are to communities and participants involved!"

Mike Paro (USA) - artist


"Interning with Ninth Wave left me with some incredible and life-long memories. Each day brought with it a true sense of purpose, whether I was building furniture for the cultural center, communicating with excited expedition participants-to-be, photographing events, serving pizza at music nights, playing with local kids, or practicing Spanish. The team are infinitely supportive, enthusiastic, understanding, and daring. I came as a person who often lacked confidence in her own decisions and actions, and I left with a much greater sense of self and purpose, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Ninth Wave is no less empowering for its volunteers and employees than it is for its expedition participants and I would recommend the experience to anyone who’s ever wanted to find a place beyond the daily grind. Although no longer working with the organisation, it remains a vital part of who I am."

Anna Sand (USA) – sustainability and organics


"Great organisation!
Great people!
Great experience!
Great adventure!
Everyone should go for it! You won't regret it!
But be careful, it's highly addictive!!!"

Agata Pawlowska Gronkiewicz (Poland) – artist


"Ninth Wave was a guiding light to me. I stayed working with the team around 3 months, having at my disposal all the resources and walls to paint on but most importantly, I had the opportunity to explore what creativity and persistence are and why I never felt I have them as an artist (my background is digital painting and 3d). Here I had the space to build and follow my own rules and find out what diminishes my creative spark. Thanks for the magic!"

Teodora Lila (Bulgaria) – artist


"At Ninth Wave I found the ideas and characters that you can only come across when you decide to push beyond what you know. It's about getting involved with progressive ideals and making them real."

Edgar Michel (Mexico) - architect


"If Ninth Wave has done anything for me, it has shown me that the front row of a canoe is a great spot to see how much we have to gain from unlearning what we might already know as the right way to go about anything. From cultural stereotypes (paddle construction), how to connect with people and communities, what to eat, how to eat it, all the way to what is apparently appropriate footwear. Personally, through journeying with Ninth Wave, I found a new confidence within myself as well as a true example of the great kindness of strangers, and that sometimes you just have to open up a space for greatness and see what happens. Good or otherwise. It has changed my idea of how to travel, by getting more involved in the community and culture. There is a feeling of responsibility to make a positive impact, and to search for a real connection not just among travellers but with real ground level people. I heard about Ninth Wave two-and-a-half years ago, through my car stereo system whilst I was driving the streets of Perth in Western Australia. Now I'm back and I find myself thinking of trading my car for a canoe. I cannot wait to go again, and I just keep thinking of the lines by Hafiz: 'Stay close to anything that makes you feel alive.'"

Jacob Jones (Australia) – electrician & musician


Working with Ninth Wave has pushed me to explore new things and inspired me to find my passion.

Alee Gillis (USA) – environmental scientist


"I learnt how to let go and how to deal with anxiety. I also learnt a new way of thinking about problems which was super empowering and I've been using learned strategies in my everyday life now."

Hayley Fielding (Australia) – artist


"Volunteering with Ninth Wave has given me the space to have questions answered that I didn't even know I had. More than that, my experience is continuing to propel questions towards me that continue to push me forwards."

Millie Jeanne (England) - student