- Do you earn enough money?
YES. And I am fortunate that my ‘job’ is also my hobby (by and large) so I don’t think I need to spend fewer hours doing it. My concerns about earning more money are usually to do with feelings of self-worth and affirmation of success rather than having no food in my fridge.
- Do you enjoy your job?
YES. I love it! And I am regularly very grateful for that.
- Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
MONDAY. 9am on Monday morning is my favourite time of the week.
- What would you like to be doing one year from now?
HEADING to the South Pole. We have had been working towards this for so long that it requires a leap of faith, some real passion, and a bit of stubborn blind faith to keep persevering.
I’d like to be involved in a big, juicy fulfilling project, whether that be an expedition, a writing project or a TV series.
- What would you like to be doing five years’ from now?
IN five years I hope that I will be building up a decent portfolio of books. I have written five books so far and hope, in half a decade, to have written at least four more. I want to get to a position where I can live from the income from my books.
- What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
I would go on more trips, to more remote places. I would ride my bike more, run more, read more, write more. I would do no administration, paperwork or housework. I would eat deli food a lot. I would buy more bicycles, canoes and a paramotor. And I’d buy a camper van.
- How much could you cut your outgoings by?
I don’t worry much about this. I spend very little money, except on things I really want or really need. This comes from good Yorkshire upbringing combined with quite a few years of living off very little! I suppose I drink a bit too much and buy too many books.
- Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
NO. I don’t have enough spare time to do what I love. This is because I am AWFUL at saying No to things! I travel hundreds of miles for un-lucrative talks just because I can’t bear to say no to the Inverness lost cat hospice. I try to write too many books, plan too many trips, learn too many things, all at the same time. I need to learn to say No, and to attempt less.
- What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
SEE #8 above. I do too many talks for too little money that are too far away. I also spend too long answering endless emails that don’t particularly benefit me or my life.
- What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
TWITTER! Email! RSS feeds. Reading the sports pages of the newspapers.
- What would you like to do more of?
CYCLING, running, climbing hills, swimming in rivers, reading books, photography, sitting in pubs with friends, hatching new projects, going on trips, sleeping, watching live sport.
- What motivates you to do something well?
PERSONAL pride and peer pressure, prestige.
- Who do you envy, and why?
I won’t name names. But I envy people who get more speaking engagements than me and who earn higher fees. I envy adventurers who have got their stories on TV or have really good book deals or seem to attract more “prestige” (whatever the hell that means!!). These are not healthy things to be envying. And I envy people who are not at all ambitious and are content to pootle around having a pleasant, happy, gentle life.
- If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
SORT OF. Ars longa, vita brevis. I am proud with what I have done. But I am more frustrated by all that I have not done.
- What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
ACHIEVING difficult things. Making good and beautiful things. Starting new projects. Being in the wild.
- What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
Time wasting, mediocrity.
- What would you do if you had more talent?
Write more books. Play more sport. Music and art.
- What would you do if you had more guts?
Write more books. Ask people to turn their music down on buses.
- What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
Hopefully it would not be very different. I would probably write more slightly unusual books (like There Are Other Rivers) where you risk failing and looking like an idiot.
- What are you going to do about all this?
Watch this space!
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