Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sexy and Gothic

Not my normal type of blog title, but I'm off on holiday now for a week. Hill running, swimming in the sea, breathing fresh air - I can't wait!


Here's some guys making an effort to make a difference:

"Bicycology is a cyclists' collective that offers a range of activities to promote cycling and make the links with wider issues of environmental and social responsibility.
We use our passion for cycling to pursue our vision of a just and sustainable world through a combination of education, entertainment and creative direct action.
Bicycology was formed by riders who wanted to build on their shared experience of the 2005 G8 Bike Ride and organise future events of a similar nature. Bicycology is an independent, non-hierarchical group run directly by all its members through regular meetings that rotate around the country. Bicycology is funded by donations, fees and occasional grants."

Read more about their varied activities here.


Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Man who Cycled round the World (2)

Round the world cycling has hit the big time, at least for Mark Beaumont who's made it onto the London Underground!


Friday, 29 August 2008

John Muir - a real adventurer

I really admire the achievements of Australian adventurer John Muir. He's climbed Everest and trekked to both poles. I learnt about his walk across Oz (thanks, Wolf) as I am currently toying with the idea of walking across Australia. The vid's a bit cheesy, but it's a heck of an expedition.


Monday, 25 August 2008

Photography for Sale

It is now possible to purchase some of my photography online. A selection of images are available to own as cards (even Xmas cards already - I hate myself!), prints, posters, canvases or framed pieces in a variety of styles (see below). I intend to rotate the stock every few weeks so, if you like anything, I suggest you grab it now! Similarly, please do pop back now and again to see if anything new appeals.
These limited edition, reasonably priced photographs make for original, low-effort gifts as well. 
Please click here to view the images available.

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

To cheer you up on a Sunday morning

Girlfriend, originally uploaded by Salminen.

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to hit the road as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the road. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the road with me."
(With thanks to Moby Dick, and apologies for swapping the word 'ocean' with 'road')


Saturday, 23 August 2008

Standing Out

Us 'Adventurers', or 'Explorers', or whatever else we call ourselves are pretty interesting people. What we do is a bit unusual, and most of the world would not want to do it. Standing out's how we can pay the bills. The reasons we do what do varies a lot. Some do it for celebrity, some for glory, some to impress girls (or boys), some to pay the pay the bills, some with a lust for life, some with a death wish, some to avoid 'real jobs', some for fun.
Many people climb mountains, ride bikes, sail boats, run and row just because they enjoy it. That's the best reason of all. A few of us enjoy them so much that we decide to try to make a living from it. And that's where the difficulties begin.
To make a living as an adventurer you need to do some of these things:
a) interesting expeditions
b) write books or articles
c) take pictures or make films
d) 'motivational' speaking
You don't need to do them all. A few people get along fine without even doing category 'a'!
In order to survive, let alone thrive, in this 'business' you need to stand out. You need to be the first or the fastest or the funniest or the most inspiring or the best looking if you want to be top of the heap. And, if you're not careful, your undignified scramble to the summit can begin to be done by stepping on other people's heads and pushing them down.
It's very hard to stand out in our niche little market. The webshots of some successful adventurers below demonstrate that. There are too many motivated, intelligent, tough people scrabbling for too-few sponsorship, book and speaking deals. And we all need to claim to be the best and different. The reality is that we are not that different. We're mostly doing this stuff for similar reasons. We need to remember that we're all pretty similar, and we should respect and help each other rather than standing on heads. 
The critical thing is to maintain your self-respect and remain true to your original motivations. Don't fool yourself on the way to fooling others. If you do that, the rest will follow OK.

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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Share a load, hit the road

With over a year until our expedition begins, and the mornings damp and grey, I sometimes find it hard to enjoy the daily 6am alarm. My wife is unsympathetic. She boots me out of bed and sleeps sensibly, contentedly and undisturbed for a couple more hours.
Insidious thoughts worm into my grumpy mind. What difference will one training ride or one gym session make? There's over a year to go: roll over and go back to sleep...
Almost always I overcome these devils, and by the time I have splashed cold water on my face and stepped outside I am awake and smug to be awake and I am ready to train.
I know that every session I do will help me get to the Pole and back. It's not so much the physical fitness increasing fraction by fraction. It's more the memories in the mind, the strengthening of resolve that each weary awakening gives me.
Sometimes though it is still not enough and I just cannot make myself care. I know that I will regret it in the end, but I just don't worry enough about letting myself down. This week, however, something dawned on me. Every time I get out of bed to train it increases Ben's chances of a successful expedition. Every time I don't bother, or cut corners, or make excuses to myself in the gym; all these times I am reducing Ben's chances of making it. Our futures and our dreams are bizarrely intertwined for the next 18 months. And it seems that, even if I'm willing to let myself down, I'm not willing to let down somebody else. So I get out of bed.
And on which note, it's time for bed: it's swimming in the morning and I hate swimming.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2008


IMG_3844.JPG, originally uploaded by

The new magic number.
19.30 seconds.
I hoped that I might see it but I did not think it would really happen. I knew that it might. I hoped that it would.
I wonder what Michael Johnson was thinking up in the BBC studio? When he ran 19.32 I was utterly enthralled at the capabilities of mankind. I was additionally stunned because what was possible for Michael Johnson (and now for Usain Bolt) was so palpably impossible even for all of the very, very best athletes in history.
The speed they ran is possible -they proved that- but it is impossible for 5,999,999,998 of us. That is gripping. Those 19.30 seconds in today's 200m men's Olympic final rescued a fairly uninspiring day for me and reminded me of how intoxicating it is to push the very limits of what people believe to be possible.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I hate gyms

Lets Biking, originally uploaded by aliraza*.

Wise words from Miss Pollyanna ( "Well screw that! I am utterly sick of the turbo. I now know the reasons why I took up cycling. It's not to race or win, nope sirry! It was to feel the fresh air on my face. To battle on a solo mission on one's self over mountains and unexplored roads. To feel the elements all over my body as I can hear my ever increasing heart rate pound in my ear and lungs heave in the cold Irish air and then expel out all that crap that life throws at you. It was to find myself and be me. Cycling allowed to me for once to be utterly comfortable in myself and my own presence. We all at the end of the day really only ever have to live with ourselves. The bike in a nutshell made me like living with myself. It forgave me, accepted me and built me."

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Blogging from Flickr

Rage has been all the rage in the last few weeks. My website has grown so unwieldy that it has become unmanageable. So I have been trying to switch so that I can use Google's Blogger to feed directly (via RapidBlog, if you care) to my RapidWeaver website. Trying. Very trying.
Anyway, I've finally nailed it.
And so, as the memories of pain fade towards a rose-tinted blur, I've decided to try to see now if I can get Flickr to speak to my website (via Blogger, via Rapidblog). So this doesn't make for a very exciting blog entry (though I hope you like the picture). But if it works ('if': such a small word, such a big 'IF') then I'll be able to start sharing some of the amazing photographs on Flickr with you. It's the site I use to learn so much from in my quest to become a competent photographer.
Right. Time to click 'Go'. Deep breath... Prepare for rage...


The essence of adventure

I write occasional articles about travel, adventure and expeditions. This piece, that I wrote for the classy Traveller magazine, is one of my favourite pieces. It's short and sweet and makes me want to get out on the road. You can read it online here.

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Fancy an expedition in Borneo?


Five people are being sought for an expedition to Borneo. 
Renowned photojournalist and author Mark Eveleigh is leading the expedition. Mark has worked for more than 60 international magazines and newspapers and is director of THE WIDEANGLE photographic agency.
Mark also guides journalists, photographers and enthusiasts on expeditions. If you want to learn more about this magnificent opportunity why not drop him an email

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Monday, 18 August 2008

The Man who Cycled the World (...errr... not me!)

The Man who Cycled the World. Not me - no, Mark Beaumont puts me to shame! What took me over 4 years to complete took Mark just 194 days, shattering the world record for cycling round the world. I don't envy him his ride or record; I did my ride for different reasons. But it was a bloody good effort, Mark's a really genuine guy, and I hope you'll watch the four-part, prime time TV documentary about his expedition. It begins tonight at 10.35 on BBC1.
You may also have seen Mark on the new Orange ad on TV.

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Thursday, 14 August 2008


SOUTH is postponed until 2009.

It looks simple like that. It was an easy thing to type. It's easy to say. It was even an easy decision to take (our sponsor pulled out and there was no Plan B).
But a year is a long time. I quit my job to become what I really want to be: a full-time adventurer and writer. Now I am without an income and sitting in an office for the next year, chasing sponsors and dreams.
For now, I am not going to think too much about it.
We have so much potential for SOUTH - the filming, the charity aspect, an epic expedition. We now must take the chance to really, really make the most of this project, and to maximise our chances of success down in Antarctica.
I read an interview with Seb Coe recently. He was asked how he maintained momentum with years still to go before the London Olympics. He spoke about the need for "every day to add value", to ensure that you end each day closer to your objective than you began it. What I worry about now is that we have 14 months until we head for Antarctica. It is so easy to fritter days, weeks and then months when the pressure is off. I am conscious of the need to work like men possessed, to be driven and desperate to secure sponsorship as soon as possible so that we can get on and concentrate on the fun stuff and ensure the success of SOUTH. So much to do, possibly too much time to do it in?
SOUTH is a wonderful project. I am thrilled and fortunate to be a part of it. It is a great thing, and great things require lots of hard, hard work.

(The day after I wrote this entry I came across a similar blog from Seth Godin.)

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Eric Newby, Laurie Lee, Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Benedict Allen recently presented a fantastic 3-part series on three of the greatest travel writers of the 20th Century. Patrick Leigh Fermor, Laurie Lee and Eric Newby were all fascinating characters, great travellers and superb writers. Here's a few tributes:
Eric Newby's Times obituary
Laurie Lee's obituary in the Independent
A BBC piece on Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor

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Free books! Why give them away?

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I have been asked a few times why I give my books away for free. For me there is no question of the benefits of doing this. I make little money from writing and am more focussed on the potential benefits of getting my books out to as wide an audience as possible. If a million people read my book for free online I would be delighted. I would not make any money from it but, if those people liked the book, they might buy a real copy for friends and family as presents. More people will learn about Hope and Homes for Children, more people will learn about my expeditions. Sponsorship opportunities may arise, helping me take on future expeditions.
I'm not the only person who sees benefits in giving stuff away for free. This is an interesting article on the subject. Another one here, focused more on the Web 2.0 angles.

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A hopeful person

Some of the early reviews for Thunder and Sunshine have been really encouraging, which is a big relief! Here's a nice one from the US.

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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Bike Show - a podcast

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I was recently interviewed for the Bike Show, a really great London radio show that's interested in all aspects of cycling. I had a really interesting chat with Jack as we cycled a lap of Richmond Park together. You can here the rolling interview here.
Resonance 104.4 fm is London’s first radio art station and is run by the London Musicians’ Collective. It started broadcasting on May 1st 2002. Its brief? To provide a radical alternative to the universal formulas of mainstream broadcasting. Resonance 104.4 fm features programmes made by musicians, artists and critics who represent the diversity of London’s arts scenes, with regular weekly contributions from nearly two hundred musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists and instigators; plus numerous unique broadcasts by artists on the weekday “Clear Spot”.

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Thursday, 7 August 2008

All you need to know

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(Thanks 5Alpha!)

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