I wrote this blog post with the intention of it being very short. It's now rather long. Sorry. If you don't want to read it all, here's a summary:
For the month of October I am endeavouring to do one 'adventurous' thing every day. I won't be on expedition. In fact, I'll mostly be sat at my desk in London, so the adventures will be small - bite-size chunks of new experiences, snatched in the moments in and around my normal working life. The goal is to challenge myself (even in just a very small way) mentally or physically on a daily basis, in an attempt to lead a more adventurous and fulfilling life. An attempt to feel more alive.
If you want to read more, here goes...
At the end of June I'll be riding around the British Isles on a folding bicycle, climbing the highest peak in each of the six major regions (want to know more? Check out this page!)
From this week onwards I'll be starting to update my website with progress (or lack of it) as I get ready for this fun summer adventure right here in the UK and Ireland!
You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and also via my Punkt interactive map - this will be where I post most of the photos and videos as I go, so check it out. Click on the map above to access the Punkt content.
Finally, if you'd like to meet me at any point along the way to climb a Peak or ride a few miles (or bring me presents) send me a message here!
New Years Resolutions are surely one of the most popular topics of conversation at this time of year. And why not? It’s a fantastic opportunity to make an advantageous change or adjustment in life – a reason to finally get around to doing that thing we’ve been meaning to do for a long time.
The catch is, however, that most of us fail. Around 88%, according to a National survey done in the UK a few years ago. That seems to me to be an astoundingly high failure rate. What’s more is that most people I talk to now seem to be almost expecting that they too will fail – there is an impression that succeeding is very unlikely, so while it’s worth giving it a bit of a go, we shouldn’t worry too much when it falls apart. This seems to me utterly daft, although I’ve fallen into the trap often myself.
Last year was a busy one for me. I started 2012 in China; six weeks into a seven month, 3000 mile walk across the country from the Gobi desert to the South China Sea (www.leonmccarron.com.) I completed the journey and was back in the UK by June, and in November I set off again to trek 1000 miles across the Empty Quarter desert in Oman, finishing just before Christmas. I was delighted to have had the chance to undertake two great expeditions, yet I still fell short on some of my other goals for the year. I had wanted to write my first book, but only got a few thousand words into it before I lost motivation. I also failed to keep up my pursuit of becoming fluent in Chinese So one of my New Year’s resolutions this year has been to keep up my New Years resolutions. For the purposes of transparency, here is what I have vowed to do in 2013:
Wilfred himself in 1947
It’s now just a few days until Alastair Humphreys and I set off to explore the Rub' al Khali, or Empty Quarter desert, on foot. Al has written a great blog post explaining some of our motives and what we hope to achieve on this expedition. We will follow the British explorer Wilfred Thesiger – literally in that we hope to roughly retrace the route of his 1947 crossing of the Sands, and metaphorically in that we are seeking some of the same escape, fulfillment, joy and ascetic misery he was searching for in the largest sand desert on earth.
We won’t be blogging during the trek. Instead we’ll be filming the whole journey extensively, with our main aim being to make a great documentary at the end of it all. We’ll be tweeting using our SPOT tracking device to give some basic updates on our progress.
Our start point is Salalah, the second city of Oman. Having never been there I can’t comment on it too much, but it certainly seems a beautiful and relaxed place. With help and guidance from those much more experienced than us, Al and I have settled on a design for our desert cart. We’re using quite a simple but robust structure, and doubling up the wheels on each corner for increased surface area on the sand (to stop us sinking.) Onto the cart we will load jerry cans of water, bags of food and the rest of our personal equipment. Everything will have to be exceedingly minimalist, as it seems dragging a heavy cart through sand in 40 degree heat will be rather tiring.
We hope that the total weight will not be much more than 250kg, and we’ll tandem pull. Every two weeks or so we will resupply with water, but the food we carry from Salalah must last us until Dubai, our end point, 43 days later.
The challenges of this journey are probably rather clear. Heavy cart, deep sand, relentless heat. Potential for sandstorms. Infrequent, if not complete absence of, human contact. Spending 6 weeks walking just inches away from each other, with no escape. Long, hard days of trekking with monotonous scenery. A diet of dates and couscous. No (or heavily rationed) whisky supplies.
Dear friends, readers and casual passers-by,
I am delighted to be able to announce the launch of my new expedition (and undoubtedly the hardest thing I'll have ever attempted!) - Walking Home From Mongolia
The new website is http://walkinghomefrommongolia.com
Setting off in November, it will be an epic 2,500 mile journey from Mongolia to Hong Kong by foot and portable kayak (packraft), and is being supported by National Geographic who will broadcast a TV show of the journey. I will travel in winter, from the wastelands of the Gobi Desert to the glittering skyline of Hong Kong, via the Great Wall of China, the Yellow River, the ancient city of Xi An and the limestone peaks of Gulin.