‘One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star’. Friedriche Nietzsche
12 months had passed and I was still no closer to my goal.
I’d left the Royal Marines, and then the safety of the BBC to go into a lifestyle I had little knowledge of or planning for. But faith that hard work would carry me through into medicine – my ultimate goal. Or so I thought.
My issue with goals is when they masquerade as dreams. A dream has the power to mobilise your deepest energy reserves and drag you through flames to make that vision a reality.
Nietschze said ‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how’, and its true: When you engage passion into your everyday, you can literally scale mountains. But this is what also ended one dream in my past. And I learned that the human body must also know balance and rest; something I’m not particularly good at when my circuitry is energised by dreams.
Struggling with the idea of re-joining another machine-like organisation, I unknowingly placed subconscious barriers in my way to prevent me moving forward in my preparation. One afternoon writing in my journal, I realised that this wasn’t my dream any more.
I had to do something bigger, more defining. Something incredible.
Everest had been a dream for as long as I could remember. The stories of the difficulties, struggles and personal tolls only served to reinforce it as a worthy challenge. The image of down suit clad mountaineers persevering up its slopes etched onto my mind like heroes carved from granite.
But doing it just ‘because it’s there’ never made sense to me – why risk life just to say you had done it? This conundrum weighed heavily on me for years.
One is never enough
With more people scaling the great ‘Sagamartha’ over the years, it started to lose its appeal. All sorts of people have now stood atop her 8848 metres of majesty and seen the world from the highest possible point. The Everest challenge soon grew into the seven-summit challenge; but again, it always came back to why?
And then I realised I was shade-shifting others.
People were starting to notice the things I was doing. The personal endeavour I was setting myself to develop and find out what I’m truly capable were influencing others to aim higher, and be more. It struck me that I could really show others from low economic backgrounds and social housing projects.
The Hiatus Journey was born
But people have scaled the seven summits. Over 50 people at the time of writing this.
I wanted to do something that no-one else has ever done – to show people that with the right preparation and work ethic; you could literally overcome anything from the most modest of starts.
This Hiatus Journey is a global endeavour to be achieved in one decade. The set an example to those from similar backgrounds and show you can make your mark on the world, no matter what your start is and in a relatively short time frame.
The mission is simple:
‘Create an unbroken line between the highest point on each continent, using human power alone.’
Whether this falls on land or sea, the line must link the summits of Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Vinson, Cartensz pyramid, Elbrus and Kilimanjaro.
Each component will contain a different story and a separate challenge. This could be a world record attempt or fundraising for a cause that I passionately believe in. The endeavour will be open to people joining me – for the experience and the cause.
Phase 1: Rowing for Rubicon
The first part will be to the row the Atlantic Ocean and connect the two landmasses where the majority of the peaks lay. Entitled ‘Rowing For Rubicon’, I will attempt to row 3500 nautical miles from mainland Europe (Portugal) to South America (French Guiana) with 3 other rowers.
Setting off in December 2017, we’ll aim to break two world records for the fastest crossing (fastest overall and fastest four). Going under the team name ‘Atlantic Allies’, we’re four individuals coming together for own personal reasons to undertake this challenge.
And along the way when it gets hard and the path unclear, I’ll know I chose this.