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What 2018 holds

What 2018 holds

This year is already looking action packed and adventure filled. With the main event being the Highest Dinner Party on the North Col of Everest in May, there will be other trips going on that I look forward to telling you about.

Next month I’ll be jetting up North to the Arctic once again where myself and my good friend KP (Katherine Pears) will be doing a week long ski expedition on the cheap. It will be fun to share how Arctic expeds don’t have to eat away all your savings. I met KP on my first ever Arctic expedition in Svalbard 2011. We shared ten weeks together and a year after we completed the Haute Route (Chamonix to Zermatt). We have been talking about going back to the Arctic for years and as they always do, the decision was made and shook on after a few to many wines… Now’s the time, I can’t wait!

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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?

Winding Down

Winding Down

I am currently sat at the kitchen table in my childhood Suffolk home. It would be easy for one to think that I've come home for the weekend from London to pop in for some home cooking and a log fire as a break from the city.  However this would be wrong. I haven't been in London, nor Suffolk, for two months.

What an adventure I've had. In early February, the team and I headed out to Chilean Patagonia for what I now know for sure, is the toughest endurance race in the world.

After the race, Tim and I stayed on. We had another six weeks worth of expeditions from high altitude mountains in Argentina to huge icebergs in the wilderness of Patagonia. We witnessed first hand some of the effects that climate change is having on the landscape of Chile and Argentina. When we returned to internet land, we were all to happy to hear how well Elon Musk's sustainable companies (and SpaceX!) like Tesla and SolarCity are doing.

I am struggling to wind down from all of the excitement and I'll have to make sure I keep myself busy so not to fall into PED (Post Expedition Depression - a horrible mindset to be in!)

I have many stories to tell but for now, I stare at a mountain of kit to be sorted and hours of washing to be done. Here's a few pictures from the trip as a taster of what's to come.

Scared of failure

Scared of failure

I am downright terrified. It's now less than two weeks until I fly out to do the Patagonia Expedition Race and I can't quite come to terms with it. It's not the race I'm nervous about. No, it's the possibility of failure, of letting my team mates down, of not going fast enough to make the check point times.

I know I can do it, I can go on and on in pain and suffering but it's whether I can do that at a pace that will get us through each round. My team are incredible and I feel honoured to have them but I do feel a huge responsibility to go much faster than my legs would like. They all seem to have an immunity when it comes to speed and endurance that I so envy.

To be honest, I'd be happy to go faster but lately, especially on the bike, I reach a point on hills where I simply cannot get the bike to move any quicker as my thighs burn to the point of exhaustion. All I can hope for is that as long as I push through, we will make the time and complete the race. My gosh, I want to complete it. All I can do is try my very best and believe in my mind as much as possible that finishing will happen and that I will achieve the impossible.

A more upbeat blog will come shortly, I just needed a little panic time.

Short term memory

Short term memory

I usually complain about the fact that humans have a short term memory. We do though, we will watch a hard hitting documentary about climate change and extinction and how we are one car drive away from wiping out this whole planet.. Then we will switch off the telly, get up and switch on the fan heater instead of putting on the wooly jumper grandma gave us. We are short term creatures, only a couple of meals away from starvation.

There's no wonder why most of the world can't see beyond their own lives and don't give a monkeys ass about what happens after they're gone.

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shutterstock_153806906

This short term memory is something to be ashamed of.

However the short term memory I am talking about is the kind that gets me through hard expeditions and training. It may be the only thing that will get me through Patagonia. (Although I really hope it doesn't apply with the skill sets I need to remember, such as rope and kayak skills!)

I went for a run this morning and I feel great now but if I really think back to just an hour ago when I was on that run; in the rain, wind and mud, going up hills and feeling like my legs were made of lead, I realise that I've forgotten those bad parts. For me, any good that can be found in that kind of thing, out ways the bad.

It's the same on bike rides. Going up a hill feeling like you're not making any progress as your thighs burn and you wobble because your speed isn't enough to keep you riding smoothly. Your lungs are at full capacity, your breathing hurts, your heart is pounding out of your mouth and your eyes droop as the hill doesn't ever seem to end. But then, you're at the top, the incline has changed and now you are going down, free wheeling and you think "that wasn't too bad." Already you've forgotten that feeling of struggle.

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I'm all too aware that Patagonia will consist of extremely hard struggle the majority of the time. What I've got to cling on to however is the idea that any little ray of light or enjoyment, will allow me to forget the terror and let me look around and appreciate what I am doing and where I am. Our team camaraderie should assist in this.

Because let's face it, it's been my choice all along to sign up to this ridiculous challenge that I am in no way qualified for. It should also be my choice to have a little fun with it and be grateful to everyone around me who have supported me in this insane idea.