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What was your earliest or childhood ambition?

A short little interview I gave for Steppes Travel…

Q: What was your earliest or childhood ambition?
My chief ambition in life was to play for Leeds United. This was never going to happen. Nonetheless I remember clearly the first time I went to watch a player younger than me in the team and I had to acknowledge that it was time for new ambitions! Adventure and travel filled the hole…

Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
That has varied a lot over time. At first it was to challenge myself, to prove something about myself to myself and to the world. Later it moved on to curiosity and a love of new and wild places, exploring what lay over the horizon. More recently adventure has become a medium for doing creative stuff – writing books, taking photos, and making films.

Q: Who has inspired you to do what you do?
A combination of great adventurers (Fiennes, Messner, Scott etc) and great travel writers (Fermor, Lee, Newby etc)

Q: If your 20-year old self could see you know, what would he think?
He would be absolutely chuffed to bits. And rather surprised.

Q: If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change?
I would try to be happier on my early adventures. I was so hard on myself. I’d tell myself to relax a little, slow down, have more fun.

Q: In what place are you happiest?
In the saddle of a bicycle, zooming down a mountain bike trail on a summer’s evening, with the pub coming into sight down in the valley.

Q: Do you consider your carbon footprint?
Only in as much as that I intermittently chastise myself for not paying enough attention to this. I know that I should / must take more steps to help preserve the wild places I love, but I am ashamed to say I’m pretty bad in this regard.

Q: The one essential you travel with?
A camera, a diary, a reading book.

Q: Your best piece of travel advice?
Begin before you’re ready. Don’t over plan.

Q: What advice would you give to young people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
See question above! Plus I would add, if you want to make a living from travel writing etc, then it is crucial to remember that authentic, exciting, personal journeys will always trump ostentatious endeavours designed merely to impress others.

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Comments

  1. Nice thoughts. I wish I can say some day that I am making a living from travel writing and speaking. Your are an inspiration. Thanks

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