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Inspiration

Adventurer in the city

Adventurer in the city

The presumed opinion is that to enjoy a life of adventure, one must reject the 9-5, the fast pace of the city and the seemingly superficial lifestyle to then resort to the sticks, become a vegan and hike all day and night. This is fine to do if that’s what you want but it’s not the way I have created my expedition orientated life.

I’ll be honest, I know I’m young and relatively responsibility free (I am fully aware that many people have more commitments) but I wasn’t born with it all mapped out for me. I had to create my own path but I made it how I wanted it to be. I’m fortunate enough to have a full-time job that I enjoy and that challenges me when I am not in the remote corners of the world but a job that allows me to take the time (within reason) to continue my exploration career.

I enjoy the glitz of the city just as much as the peace and beauty of the wilderness.

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ADVENTURE ADDICT

ADVENTURE ADDICT

I've got major cold turkey. Adventure is my drug and I'm a self confessed addict. Oh how I long to be struggling in the extremes, to be questioning why I decided to push myself so far and to be overcoming adversity. 

Pretty sure it's not too good for my skin!

Pretty sure it's not too good for my skin!

It's an odd relationship I have with expedition life. I am desperate to be out but at the same time hoping I last to tell the tale. There's no hiding that the expeditions I do are hard, life threatening and at some times miserable. However those traits go hand in hand with rewarding, living and enlightening. I can't have one without the other (short term memory helps with forgetting how hard it actually is) and now I just want them all now now now. 

I find myself chatting with people and i'm looking at them, nodding my head and making the right noises but really my mind has wandered and I'm deciding on how I'm going to make my next idea of an expedition happen. 

For those people who just don't get the whole 'put yourself in challenging environment with an absurdly hard goal' I can only try to share my experiences and the benefits it has as a whole.

Really though, "why do you do it?" They ask. My answer could fill a book capable of competing with the seventh Harry Potter book. In brief; to create memories, to grow as a human being, to inspire my future self, to get perspective, to appreciate, to see the planet, to honour the planet, to live, to fill me up, to explore. I could go on.

It's an obsession that puts my life in danger, takes my money, hurts my body, strains relationships, builds relationships, takes my free time, distracts me and leaves me wanting more. Despite all this it is an obsession that I am proud to have and I think that everyone has their thing... For some, they simply haven't found it yet. What is yours?

Extreme is not exclusive but it does take dedication

Extreme is not exclusive but it does take dedication

I like to go on extreme expeditions in extreme environments. Admittedly the main and initial driving force for going on them in the first place is for purely self-indulgent reasons as I have found what I love and just keep finding ways of continuing doing it. No harm in that, right? Other parts of my life suffer from that passion but compromise is the golden word here. Thankfully there are other elements that come out of it which also give me a kick. They have less selfish reasoning behind it like promoting the can do and self-belief attitude and defying stereotypes as well as highlighting the biggest issue of our time, climate change. All of these make it all the better. I am one of those 'lucky ones' who has found their passion and is able to make it a reality but if you haven't found your passion or you are not doing what you love for whatever reason... Why not? There's a whole world out there for you and you can make it yours!

I really want to drill home to you guys reading that what I do is not exclusive. It takes time, effort and complete dedication but that’s the beauty of it as I enjoy all of that just as much as the expedition. It all goes hand in hand.

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Holiday? What holiday?!

Holiday? What holiday?!

“Going on another holiday again?”

People often think I’m off on another holiday when I commit myself to another expedition.

Truth is, I haven’t been on a holiday since 2011. Expeditions of my type are not a holiday. They are everything but. Yes, I look forward to them and get a sense of escapism from city life, but those are the only comparisons. They are hard going, they take grit and determination to get to the other side and a lot of questioning on why I’m doing it. They are often uncomfortable, scary, exhausting, make me hurt in ways I didn’t know could hurt, involve lack of sleep, (lack of oxygen a lot of the time too), are too hot or too cold, take a lot of brain power worrying and then there’s the making of quick life determining decisions. I cannot say enough how far away from a holiday they are.

The last time I went on a holiday! The difference!

The last time I went on a holiday! The difference!

Not looking my best! Sunburn, no shower, cold!!!!!

Not looking my best! Sunburn, no shower, cold!!!!!

On Denali, myself and Tim swore to each other that our next trip would be a beach holiday with no bag carrying. I can’t see that beach holiday happening anytime soon but I must say I do long to be by the Mediterranean! Of course at the same time I look forward to getting my teeth well and truly into the next big trip. It’s what I live for and I’m not complaining in any way about the toughness of them... The tougher the better!

Coughing my way up! Feeling pretty exhausted on this photo. Not a holiday but a test!

Coughing my way up! Feeling pretty exhausted on this photo. Not a holiday but a test!

The feeling of vulnerability and having to roll with whatever nature throws at you is a humbling experience. You have to know what you're doing otherwise things can easily get out of hand. Knowing you have a situation under control is a rewarding experience however, if anything goes wrong it's easy for that rewarding experience to turn nasty and life threatening. 

I know it’s a privilege to be able to actively put myself into such a challenging and extraordinary position but it is something I work hard for in order to make happen. I thrive on the better person I become after each trip and I am addicted to making wonderful, proud, incredible memories and addicted to the bonds I make with teammates that go on to become the closest friends life can give.

So next time someone uses the word holiday to describe one of my expeditions I’m going to crack down on them. I came back from Denali and it took me over a month before I had caught up on sleep and recovered. A month of bad sleep, lack of oxygen and being cold does that to you. I could not keep my eyes open after 12 noon and had to retreat to bed for 4 hours! Thankfully, I’m over that now and I’m now back after that hardship again.

This is what we woke up to every morning. We breathe in the night, our breath freezes to the tent, it snows on us in the morning. Not a pleasant start to the day and I'll never complain about getting out of bed again.

This is what we woke up to every morning. We breathe in the night, our breath freezes to the tent, it snows on us in the morning. Not a pleasant start to the day and I'll never complain about getting out of bed again.

Having hardship means that you appreciate everything again which is another addiction of mine. One moment that sticks with me after Denali was when we flew out from the glacier. A very short plane ride from the bottom of the mountain back to Talkeetna was out of this world. We went from full expedition mode in freezing temperatures on a barren mountainous landscape to landing in Talkeetna to their summer.

Leaving the mountain behind!

Leaving the mountain behind!

It was full of greenery, the smell of flowers was in the air, warmth on our skin and we were met by Sheldon Air Service crew who carried a plate full of fresh fruit all cut ready to eat! I’ve never felt so high in my life! If ever I’ve felt immensely happy to be alive, that was it!! That’s the closest that came to a holiday! (And knowing a shower could finally be had!)

My Training for Denali

My Training for Denali

Training/workouts/exercise/session/thrashing/beasting/gymming … Whatever term you use it all comes down to one focus – improving yourself physically and mentally.

I feel I can write a post about training now. I’ve been seeing real improvements over the last 3 months on the run up to my Denali expedition. It’s a real relief to see clear results of my developments because in the last year or so, moving forward with training was going at a real slow rate and injuries kept reoccurring. A few years ago I was fit as a fiddle, some may even say too fit/did too much as it later developed to injury (and when I say injury I mean running so much that I broke the bones in my feet.) Being injured really knocked me off guard and I lost my focus a little in the fear of injuring myself again.

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