Experience Rich An interview for UBS' UNLIMITED project

I was interviewed at the end of 2016 for UNLIMITED, a venture launched and supported by UBS that brings together ‘a unique, global network of people in search of the answers to life’s big questions’ and ‘a completely fresh perspective on topics that are truly significant, through our distinctive curious approach’.

They profiled an interesting bunch of thinkers and doers, from Lewis Hamilton to Mo Gawdat; Lily Cole to Stephen Hawking, and the questions I was asked were a little more thought-provoking than the usual “How do you answer the call of nature at minus forty?”. Perhaps the most interesting conversational tangent was in pursuit of the meaning and relevance of adventure in the 21st century, and I’ve pasted my response below. You can read the rest of the interview at UNLIMITED.

“Adventure is transcending your own knowledge and experience and attempting things that are outside those boundaries. I remember just before my trip to the South Pole and back, standing in Captain Scott’s hut and feeling like a complete fraud. I was about to embark on a journey that had killed him, it had defeated Shackleton, and no one else had attempted it in a century. I thought: “what do they know that I don’t, and who the hell am I to think that I can do this?”. It’s the same feeling I had in 2001 just before my first ever polar expedition. I was 23 and felt completely clueless, knowing I wasn’t qualified for the situation at hand. So to me, that’s adventure, being in that position where you genuinely feel over-extended. All the worthwhile stuff in life has been on the other side of that feeling of fear and self-doubt. True adventure lies in surpassing those boundaries.”

One comment

  • A brief note to say how much I enjoyed your presentation last night at the XL Catlin function in Covent Garden. Absolutely fascinating and an incredible achievement. I have ‘fallen into’ ultra running (mid-life crisis, can’t afford a Porsche) so the mental aspects of what you do are particularly interesting to me. And the commitment to preparation. We had a brief chat afterwards and I am running the Hardmoors 110 on 6/7 May – suddenly it looks very tame ! Thanks again for the talk, truly inspirational and I shall carry that with me on my run in 2 weeks time.

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