This coming Sunday (12th May) I'll be talking about my walk across China at the London Eco Film Festival.
There's plenty of exciting things happening all day - the festival is split into themes, with a different screen for each (such as Conservation & Environment, Expeditions & Adventures etc.)
Highlights (I reckon) will be cameraman Doug Allan
talking about his 30 years of wildlife filmmaking, and the screenings of Tom Allen's
feature-length cycling odyssey 'Janapar
', and Dave Cornthwaite
's short, 'Swim 1000
I'll be speaking at 12.30pm, in Vibe Bar Screen 2 (Brick Lane.) Check out the full programme here,
and come along to say Hi if you're free on Sunday!
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
- Walt Whitman
NOTE - If you are here seeking professional advice, then you have arrived at the wrong place! Please redirect yourself to someone with years of experience in the matter.
I am a pretender, a distance running wannabe. However over the last few weeks I've learned some important lessons which I think may help other's in a similar situation. Enjoy, and please feel free to add tips of your own below.
1. Routine is everything
They say it takes 30 days to work something into your routine, and after that it becomes embedded in your psyche. This varies slightly for everyone, but I've so far found the basic theory to be correct. That initial period of time is tough - you'll have to force yourself into action every single time. Gradually though it becomes easier, and in my experience you reach a point where it just feels natural. Now if I don't run almost every day I feel sluggish and lethargic.
2. Make a plan
If you want to hit your distance, and do it well, then you're going to have to train properly. Research what others have done, ask advice from the pro's, and make yourself a schedule which is realistic yet challenging. This is also going to be tough, but once it's done, then all you have to do is stick to it!
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”
~ Edward Abbey
is the coolest adventure magazine around on the web at the minute, in my opinion. If you haven't yet heard of it, then you're in for a fantastic surprise! Each new edition is published monthly (this latest is the ninth,) packed with fantastically written and illustrated stories from around the globe.
I'm delighted that this month, amongst the many other very cool tales of adventure, my own story of trekking from Mongolia to Hong Kong also makes an appearance.
Do check it out by following the link
below- I hope you enjoy it, and remember to take some time out of your schedule to read through the rest of the articles!
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Let's be frank - good travel writing can change your life
There's no end to online lists and discussion about what may be the best travel book ever, but this blog post is not intending to wade into that arena. Reading (and talking and thinking about) good travel writing is one of my favourite pastimes.
Some of these works have changed the way I think about the world, others have sent me across the globe. Least Heat Moon inspired me to cycle across America with the warning-come-promise to "be careful going in search of adventure - it's ridiculously easy to find
." (2010.) Rory Stewart convinced me that walking a long way was a jolly good idea when he described how he had "...been walking one afternoon in Scotland and thought: Why don't I just keep going? There was a magic in leaving a line of footprints stretching across Asia" (2011.) Thesiger sent me to the Empty Quarter in search of "peace in the hardship of desert travel, and the company of desert peoples." (2012.) I quietly fear what the inevitable impact of Ernest Shackleton's epic tale will be...
The power of words should not be underestimated! Below, in no particular order, are my five favourite (or five of my favourite ) travel books.
Have you read them? What would you put on your list?
"A cloud gathers, the rain falls, men live; the cloud disperses without rain, and men and animals die. In the deserts of southern Arabia there is no rhythm of the seasons, no rise and fall of sap, but empty wastes where only the changing temperature marks the passage of the year. It is a bitter, desiccated land which knows nothing of gentleness or ease...
No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match."
Wilfred Thesiger - Arabian Sands
What is achievable in the space of 10 weeks?
I'll cut straight to it - I've decided to enter a 100km (62.5miles) trail run at the start of May. This in itself is not particularly extreme. There are many, many people who can (and do) run this sort of distance with relative ease. I however, am not currently one of those people. In fact, in the last 3 years, I've rarely run further than 15km in one session. The last time I did any running with a purpose I had an Olympic Torch and a six-month beard to keep me company. By way of a somewhat feeble excuse, I can only offer that I have spent a lot of my last few years either cycling
, or cart-pulling
(or resting inbetween said exertions!)
All considered though, I now have quite a challenge ahead of me to get ready for this race. The idea of trying to run 100 kilometres in a single day (or rather, in 10-15 hours) is rather a terrifying one. But, as a strong believer that fear should never be given license to take hold of us, I have decided to cast aside doubts and commit to it.
“Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors...disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking