Thursday, 27 November 2008

Explore - a weekend of inspiration

What a weekend! The Explore conference at the Royal Geographical Society was nothing short of brilliant. I met and learned from some of the most intrepid and interesting adventurers, film-makers and scientists alive today. To top it off I was given an amazing bike! Genuinely one of the most inspiring weekends of my life. Friday kicked off with a chance to look through the RGS library and maps. After a few hours researching routes through south-eastern Europe I'd come no closer to choosing the easier route along the Danube or the one that originally inspired me, along the beautiful Adriatic coast. After four hours I needed some perspective. On entering the bar the first person I saw was Dan Martin - who has just completed a shudderingly impressive cycle from South Korea to South Africa - through the 'Axis of Evil'. http://www.koreatocapetown.co.uk/ Now to be honest I didn't like this guy before I met him. Why? Well he's already ridden from London to Cape Town and what's more he's 6'5 - one inch taller than me - totally stealing my thunder! Ego looking to be unique; flattened! Jokes aside meeting Dan was fantastic - he gave me heaps of good advice in exchange for a few beers, then out of the blue offered me his bike! Awesome! (Apparently he doesn't like cycling - go figure!) The weekend continued in the same thrilling vein, with lots of fascinating lectures on subjects as diverse as fundraising to film-making. The cycling workshop was superb and provided me with the sort of advice that will save me days on the road. Big thanks in particular to our well peddled hosts: Hallum Murray Al Humphreys – http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/ Rob Lilwall – http://www.cyclinghomefromsiberia.com/ Jessica Hatcher – http://www.cycleoflife2008.com/ It was great to meet so many positive people doing original and challenging things. Inspiring and motivating – I’d recommend the Explore conference to anyone.