What an amazing year.
Wishing you all an amazing year ahead.
|BEARD [beerd] - Verb: to boldly confront or challenge - #FindYourBeard||
Without a doubt 2015 has been the best year of my life to date. Many achievements, dreams and memories that will stay with me forever. This is how it went in chronological order.
Kayaking the length of the Thames. A great adventure and a great way to start the year.
Spending time in Chamonix with friends was a nice way to spend some of the winter.
Doing my first tandem paraglide with my friend Alex Ledger
Building and sleeping in half an igloo. I'll build a full one one day.
Publishing my book about swimming the length of Britain.
Appearing on the cover of Timeout Magazine
Running the length of Britain (on second attempt)
Having the world's best pub lock-in with Matt Pritchard.
Becoming first person in history to complete a length of Britain triathlon.
Doing my first solo paragliding flight
Being invited to St James Palace
Alesha Dixon wearing my beard on BBC 2 with Chris Evans.
Fooling around with other adventure buddies at 'Campfire' night
Watching myself on telly for the first time with my show on Discovery Channel
Zooming around Southampton on a motorised sofa with Bonita Norris
Cycling London to Paris in 19 hours
The first winner of my adventure scholarship - Dave Humphreys
Sharing a stage and signing desk with the legend that is Sir Ran Fiennes
An amazing weekend in Scotland with friends
Family holiday in Zimbabwe
Finishing all the final touches to my boat
Featuring in a pretty awesome campaign for Barbour
Learning how to brew my own ale
Appearing on Russell Howard's Good News
Breaking record for sailing the length of Britain - 83h 53m
Having the best manager and assistant ever. Thanks Chloe and Cathy.
Spent the last five days of the year walking through Wales with friends
What an amazing year.
Wishing you all an amazing year ahead.
I love following people who've had a big idea and gone and made it happen. Here are the top people that inspired me in 2015. If you haven't checked them out please do. They're all pretty darn impressive. Their online descriptions say it all.
The kit I'm taking to walk 180 miles following the Offa's Dyke path - the length of Wales.
From left to right
Waterproof trousers - Canada Goose
Waterproof shell - Canada Goose
Lightweight down jacket - Canada Goose
Blow up pillow - Slight luxury as rolled up clothes also work but this isn't a race.
T-Shirts X2 - One for the walk and one to wear on the train home
Small backpack - Lifeventure - Some kit will be on the outside.
GPS tracker - SPOT - Come find me. Bring ale ;)
Socks X5 - All thin pairs. Wear two at a time and rotate them. Saves space.
Jocks X2 - might regret not taking more.
Tent - Terra Nova Laser Ultra - I LOVE THIS TENT. Its 580g. #GramNerd
Camping mat - Therm-A-rest Neo air - Also light and comfy
Down sleeping bag - Haglofs
Oat cakes - For emergencies. Relying on pubs mainly on this walk.
Light trail shoes - Adidas - lighter than hiking boots. First time I'm using this type of shoe.
Hip bag - Haglofs - For easy access stuff like camera, food, chargers etc.
Various stuff sacks and ziplock bags - Keep things dry
Wilson - My leg massaging aid. Roll the knots away.
Little Flying Cow - My adventure mascot
Bog roll -
Water filter - Fresh2O - Filter 99.99% of all bacteria, not viruses though. You will get ebola!
Jetfoil - Coffeeeeeee!!!!!!!
Biltong - Gavins Homemade Biltong - Protein recovery
Waterproof camera case - Quad Lock
Lighter - in case jetfoil click-light fails.
AAA batteries - or head torch and SPOT
Head torch - Black Diamond - Lots of night walking this time of year.
Mug - Thermos - Coffeeeeeeee!!!!!
Toothbrush and paste
Deodorant - To be more pleasant to be around din pubs.
Nail clippers - Also good for cutting rope if you need.
Cable ties - always useful
Guide book - Offa's Dyke
Cables and chargers
13000mAh battery bank - I get about 6 iPhone charges out of it.
Coffee maker - very important
Hip flask with whisky - even more important
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Lords and Ladies, welcome to the Palace . . . . "
Never in a million years did little barefooted farm boy Sean running around Africa think he'd ever be at an event at a Royal Palace where at least 57% of the room were in fact one of those Lord and Lady folk, tweed and all. The Lords. I've been reliably informed Ladies don't wear tweed dresses.
The introductions went on for a moment longer but some of it was so posh all I heard was "Rah, rah, rah, horses, rah rah". The constant stream of free wine might have hindered my hearing though to be fair. Im sure they were perfectly eloquent.
"We'd now like to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke Of York to say a few words."
Most of the room had that awkward moment of trying to clap while still holding a glass of wine. It's harder than you think. I went with the classic slapping my thigh. No one else did. Not cool!
The Duke proceeded to deliver a pretty captivating talk, pausing at the right moments, funny, clever and the perfect length. Long enough to be a proper talk but short enough to make you want to hear more. He's done this before. The Duke is the Patron-in-Chief for the British Exploring Society, an incredible organisation which helps give The Youths of today a reason to get off the ever present 'killer' in young people's motivation, the Sofa-of-Unambitiousness.
He ended his speech and walked off stage. Shit. I didn't learn from my clapping disaster from before and still had the wine in my hand. I looked over to my right and saw Ed Stafford, another Patron and one of Britain's elite current explorers holding his wine glass in the bend of his arm tucked next to his rib cage, thus allowing both hands free for clapping. He's done this before. I gave it a go and immediately spilled a bit of wine on my blazer. Shit. I really need to learn this new skill, FAST! Eventually I had it balanced and in a moment of excitement gave the loudest clap in the world, at the exact moment everyone else stopped clapping. Awkward! I didn't care, I was clapping myself for learning how to do the hold-a-wine-glass-while-clapping trick.
Historically the Exploring world was dominated by a certain corner of society who, lets just say, when you mention the word Polo they think of last weekends party. (I think of the 69p sweet available at most corner shops) This was partly because of the enormity and expense of old-school expeditions which meant only certain people could afford to get the funding for them. Today adventure and exploration is far more accessible, and affordable to everyone, a philosophy I try and promote. If a short hairy ginger dude can do it, then ANYONE can. That I promise you is FACT!!!
It is however very important not to forget the people who paved the way for people like myself to have the courage to take the risk, leave a conventional way of life, and experience what this amazing planet has to offer. Everyone from Captain Scott, Ranulph Fiennes, Ed Stafford, and all the rest have certainly inspired me to live a more adventurous life. Obviously I haven't met Captain Scott but I do remember meeting Ed soon after he did his walk thinking to myself, "Damn, he's got it right. I hope to live a more adventurous life like he does one day."
That was four years ago and I'm happy to announce that I am finally there. Happier, healthier and more confident in my abilities than I'd EVER have been no mater how much money I earned or how big my house would have been if I had stayed in the 'rat-race'.
An evening with some of Britain's influential explorers certainly inspires me to try and push the boat out a little more, although no matter how far I push it, nothing can come close to expeditions of yesteryear. I really wish I had lived 200 years ago.
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