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07 Oct Allons-y to Australia

It’s been an adventurous summer climbing and exploring the loveliness of the West – now it’s time to venture a bit further!

I’m excited to say I’ll be heading to Australia at the end of the week for an adventure that is a lovely combination of film, design, photography, & adventure-based learning!  Sounds epic, right?

I’ll be a part of visually telling the story of 50 Sports in 50 Weeks - a unique endeavour to travel the world and experience 50 culturally significant sports alongside renown athletes in over 35 countries – all in an attempt to inspire kids (and families) to be more active (and healthy!).  From trekking in South Africa to slack-lining in Germany, I’ll be helping to capture and craft the visual story to share with the world!

I’ll be joining the crew for the first two-week-leg in Australia (including surfing, swimming, fencing, & beach volleyball!), with the possibility of extending it for a year – either way, exciting times are ahead!

Check back for updates, or follow the journey on Facebook!

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05 Nov Mt Blanc

It’s funny, how people are wired differently.

I walked into my local coffee shop, and the barista greeted me with “So, where are you going to next? It’s about that time for you to be off again, isn’t it?”

…I think you know you’re wired for a life of adventure when even the guy who makes your coffee sees it.

Which, in a really roundabout way, reminded me that I never got around to writing about the Mt Blanc adventure… and while I will get around to a proper recap one of these days, this will have to tie you over. :)

I will say there’s nothing quite like it – especially the final day: waking up at an un-Godly hour, still half-asleep, eating the most expensive bread for breakfast, walking out into the pitch dark, freezing morning, and seeing the zig-zagging trail of headlamps that resembled ants on an ant-hill, leading the way to the summit. So quiet. So beautiful.

While I think we all struggled with mental battles of our own, we trudged on. It was a repetitious one foot in front of the other. Steady breathing.

It’s interesting, before I left, a friend told me a quote by Sir Edmund Hillary (of Everest fame) – “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” And as cheesy as it sounds, I suppose it’s actually quite befitting.

We weren’t setting out to break a record or be the fastest (I actually have no idea what our final time was) or climb it to achieve some level-up in adventure status. It was always about our personal desire to achieve something, and by reaching the summit, we conquered our goal, saw the months of early-morning runs and hours spent training pay off. We proved to ourselves it was possible and had an amazing adventure along the way.

And that’s exactly what I love about adventure. We aren’t pros or Alpine legends – we’re real people embracing the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and do something kind of epic.

  

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12 Aug Atacama

Last week Helen and I decided to take advantage of Santiago’s proximity to the Atacama desert, so we escaped the city and hopped on a plane for a multi-day micro adventure in the region’s largest (and world’s driest?) desert.

We set up base in the small (but super touristy) San Pedro de Atacama, where, between our time spent wandering the dirt streets and stuffing ourselves with fresh bread, we went on a hefty cycling adventure, sand-boarded some Chilean-dunes, (Vicuñas?), and got our heart-broken by a plethora of stray dogs.

  

We rented bikes for one of the days, which was definitely a highlight (and way cheaper, more exciting, and freedom-filled than the tour options!), so we spent most of our day venturing through Valle de la Luna and all its loveliness. We were the last ones to leave the reserve, so we had the pleasure of riding back to camp in the dark under a gorgeously bright sky full of stars. I love deserts.

  
  

So, it’s no secret I have a soft spot for canines. Or kittens. (Or really anything fluffy.) And seeing as there are stray dogs everywhere in Chile, it basically always kills me. But something about this one little dog was just the sweetest thing ever. And all the other dogs were just plain evil towards her, so I caved and bought her some food. Of course she ended up chilling with us at for the evening, shared our campsite, and ventured into town with us the next day with a new spring in her step. Then we were leaving for our sand-boarding adventure, and after being denied entry into the van (and looking absolutely doleful that she couldn’t come), she chased us down the street for a good mile… and when we eventually got out of site and stopped, sure enough, a few seconds later he came bounding over the hill after us.

Heart. Broken.

But seriously, how adorable is she?

(Moral of the story: go adopt a dog?)

Needless to say, it was an adventure-filled few days, and seeing as I am not at all a city person, it was a much needed escape from Santiago! Not to mention an awesome chance to put my Spanish to practice with some of the locals we met!

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30 Jun The (Long & Windy) Road to Coyhaique

Patagonia’s a pretty stunning place. Not that I expected any less, but it still blew my mind with it’s unending mountains and plethora of waterfalls gushing from the most unsuspecting and cinematic of places. Patagonia is one of those places I really wanted to visit. It’s like the epitome of adventure destinations – hiking and climbing and kayaking and everything in between. While our trip wasn’t exactly filled with this type of adventure, we got a lovely glimpse of the culture and got to plant some trees in a Patagonian forest. That’s a pretty legit adventure in itself, right?



 

In Coyhaique, we met up with Mattias, who was our trusty guide (and protector of the trees) working with the folks at Patagonia Sur. He took us eight (long, bumpy, windy, semi-scary, and totally beautiful) hours further into the heart of Patagonia. Like every good roadtrip, it included some scary driving moments, epic views, and a bit of Johnny Cash.

Speaking of trees, the primary reason we headed to Patagonia was to start planting the Only Bloody Human forest… which I realize sounds kind of horrific if you group the words wrong, so let me explain. Essentially it’s a 1,000 tree-strong forest, which will completely carbon offset the Only Bloody Human film project over the next year. We’re also pretty passionate about the idea of leaving the places we travel better than we found them; so we made our mark on the local landscape, reforesting some Nire trees in Valle California! So, that’s pretty exciting.

It is coming into Winter in South America though, so most of the time the skies were overcast and rain was definitely present, resulting in a week of wet-feet and looking drenched in basically everything we filmed, but it was totally worth it.

We even got to plant a few of the trees ourselves, in front of our fancy new sign staking our forest’s ground. It’s pretty cool knowing that there is a tree in the middle of Patagonia that I planted with my own hands. I mean, how many people can say that??

While we didn’t get to do much adventuring in the way of hiking or climbing (because really, Patagonia is the ultimate adventure destination), it was actually really exciting to experience more of the local lifestyle. Not that they should be mutually exclusive, but I suppose it’s difficult to experience the culture if you’re in the middle of the wilderness climbing. And vice-versa. Natural beauty aside, the small town community and basically every single person we met was super welcoming and definitely beautiful in their own right. A unique experience, to say the least.

I seem to fall in love with little towns more than anywhere else these days. There’s something about the simplicity, I think. Slow Sunday-afternoons spent by fires in cafes. Gauchos and their horses, and herding dogs and their sheep. And wood-burning ovens and their constant supply of hot-water for tea-making.

  

Give me some wifi, a loyal dog, a belay partner, and a stash of Yorkshire tea, and I could totally get used to living somewhere like that.

Who knows, maybe that’ll be the next big adventure?

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