“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
There are few more liberating sensations than the moment when you take the first step on a long and uncertain journey, committing yourself to chasing a well-worn dream and making the dream happen. The journey can take may forms, for example our decision to risk all by setting up dewerstone 4 months ago is a metaphorical journey which fits the description; however it is in the world of adventure travel where these long, uncertain journeys seem both most prevalent, and most rewarding. Whether you choose to commit yourself to a tough Alpine climb, an uncertain road trip or an ill-advised destination, the rewards are proportional to the risks. And once you’ve answered the call to adventure, once you’ve faced the risks and savoured the rewards, you’ll always be drawn back.
Which brings us to the here and now. It’s now over 4 months since I returned from my last big adventure; a 14,000 mile road trip across 21 countries, from England to Singapore, through which we launched dewerstone (full story here). And just like anyone with an adventurous spirit, on my return I soon found myself looking forward to the next adventure; looking forward to a way of surpassing the drive across Asia through an even more spectacular undertaking. So what’s been dreamed up as the follow-up? Simple. Pub2Pub. A trip from the most northerly pub on the planet, to the most southerly. From the Arctic to the Antarctic. All overland, with no planes allowed. And yes, the idea was dreamed up over a pint of Cornish Ale. Allow me to explain:
The most northerly bar open to the public is on the island of Svalbard, deep in the Arctic at 81 degrees north. The most southerly is at the Ukranian Antarctic research base at Vornadsky, at 65 degrees south. The plan is to start in the Arctic by downing a beer on Svalbard, before hitching a lift to mainland Europe on a ship. We’ll then hit the Arctic Highway and head south across Scandanavia to Northern Europe, then Britain. From Southampton, the expedition goes transatlantic, as we board the Queen Mary 2 and set sail for the New World, spending a week at sea living it up in a tuxedo on the world’s most prestigious ocean liner. After ending the 3,500 mile ocean passage by passing the Statue of Liberty and docking in New York, we’ll jump in a car and hit the road across the Southern States to Mexico. From there, a casual drive down through Central America, and a boat around the Darien Gap, will land the Pub2Pub expedition in Colombia. Then, a quick drive down the length of South America beckons. But not too quick, as the forests and volcanoes of Equador, the salt flats of Bolivia, the ruins of the Inca, the sands of the Atacama and the mountains of the Andes all demand more than a cursory exploration. And then it’s on to the most spectacular landscape of all; the Patagonian wilderness, where hopefully summer will have broken, allowing us to reach Ushiuia and board a boat to Antarctica – the expedition’s forth continent – where journey’s end awaits at the last bar on earth, serving vodka distilled on-site at $3 a shot.
This expedition – the next dewerstone uber-roadtrip – is scheduled to take place in 2016, and such is the size of the undertaking that planning a path through all the geographic, logistical and bureaucratic obstacles has already begun. But obviously, we’re not going to wait a whole 2 years for the next adventure, so what else is on the horizon?
Well, first up Rory will be heading to Bali in March, partly to touch base with a factory we’re working with there, and partly to soak up the rich cultures and ethereal landscapes of one of the jewels of the Indonesian archipelago. In April we’re heading to France for visits to Fontainebleau and the Alps, where we’ll be spending a couple of weeks climbing, skiing, testing product, staging photoshoots, and visiting shops and suppliers. And further in the future we’ve got a few more trips planned which should blur the line between business and adventure, but we’ve got to keep something back for future blog posts, so you’ll have to watch this space to find out the details!
So there you have it, in the next few years we’re already planning to take dewerstone on journeys to 5 out of the 7 continents. But what of the other 2, Africa and Australasia? All I can say is, watch this space…