The last two posts on this blog have focussed on the challenges we’ve faced and overcame in setting up Dewerstone clothing. Despite still reflecting on challenges, this week’s blog post is a bit different, as it nostalgically gazes back to a time before Dewerstone, by focussing on a single moment which happened exactly 5 years ago today, when months of effort came to fruition, and I completed the biggest challenge of my life.
If you’ve been following Dewerstone for a while, you’ll be aware that I quite like getting out and exploring the world via the medium of the road trip – the bigger and more preposterous the better. Dewerstone’s launch expedition – V8Nam – was the latest of these trips, but it certainly wasn’t the first, the moment which inspired this blog post having taken place on a previous epic drive.
So what was this moment? Well, it involved driving my old Porsche down South Africa’s N2 highway towards Cape Town, while watching the stirring silhouette of Table Mountain slowly form out of the haze, as Shania Twain’s ‘you’re still the one’ flooded painfully from the stereo. Not a particularly amazing moment if put like that, I grant you, but as with any experience, it’s all about context. To put this moment into context, in the preceding few months my co-driver and I had driven 13,500 miles through 26 countries, from England to South Africa. We’d passed through the tense deserts of Syria and The Sudan, dodged Somali bandits in Northern Kenya, and been chased past the pyramids by a policeman on a camel. We’d been robbed, got sick and overcame more red tape than we knew existed, and our trusty sports car had been crashed into, pummelled to pieces by non-existent roads, left us stranded in remote deserts and broken down no less than 27 times in the course of the trip. We’d overcame the challenges of half the world, and that moment was our reward, and that’s the context which can make driving down a motorway towards Table Mountain stir your soul so deeply that it still hangs in the mind 5 years later.
In a way, that moment set the foundations for where life has now led me. Without it V8Nam may never have happened. Without having already overcome the odds in Africa, I may not have had the conviction to believe that anything is achievable with perseverance, and commit everything to the Dewerstone dream. And without it, I certainly wouldn’t be writing this slightly self-indulgent blog post!
So where are these musings going? Well, I guess that can be summed up by a quote: it was Soichiro Honda who said ‘The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred.’ Those moments shape who we are and can profoundly change our self belief and approach to life. And there’s no better way of experiencing those moments than facing up to the challenges which the mountains, waters and open spaces have to offer, and in doing so, enriching our lives like only the planet’s wild corners truly can. So here’s to answering the call to adventure, getting out into the wilderness and creating stirring, life affirming memories which will last a lifetime!
You can read more about the expedition which inspired this post - AfricanPorsche Expedition - over at www.bencoombs.net