Dave Cornthwaite | Adventurer - Author - Speaker -

When Dave was 25 he realised he was a pretty rubbish graphic designer, so he took up a skateboard and crossed Australia. He hasn't looked back, and now he's a record-breaking adventurer, author and motivational speaker, as well as the founder of SayYesMore, aka. don't waste opportunities.

Amongst other things he has paddleboarded the length of the Mississippi, swum 1001 miles, written three books, stayed awake for 72 hours without turning crazy, and for years has tried in vain to get Nutella to sponsor his adventures. But will he give up? Never!
Recent Tweets @DaveCorn
Posts tagged "adventure"

When the rain starts to fall and an icy wind begins to blow in from the north, heralding a change of season, leaving toes blue, rendering t-shirt attire quite useless. Well, that’s when it’s time to have an arsenal of suitable clothing ready to combat the elements and ensure that this journey is one you’re going to remember pleasantly.

When the likelihood of being exposed to bad weather on the ocean, whether sailing or paddling (or pedalling), your choice of gear doesn’t just mean the difference between happy and sad, it’s far more vital than that.

Palm Equipment Europe's range of paddling gear covers all seasons and for me, guaranteed peace of mind as I kayaked my way between Oslo and Helsinki between August and October this year.

When you spend 850 miles on rugged coastline or in the middle of some of Europe’s biggest lakes you’re going to experience the full range of Mother Nature’s fury and kindness.

So I wanted to make sure I had the clothing to fit all seasons.

I started late in the season. Mid August is about the time when most coastal paddlers in Scandinavia are rounding off their expeditions, which explains why I saw less than ten other kayakers in 50 days (and six of them were in the same group).

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Well, the essence of this is true, although I’m pretty sure I occasionally found myself in bad weather on Sweden’s west coast, and in the waters of southern Finland.

A paddling jacket like Palm’s Oceana has the ability to insulate not just your body’s warmth, but your nerves, too. This is the jacket I wear to bring the sun out even if the sky is swirling with grey, cold storm. It settles my temperament and keeps me calm, even when paddling through a cauldron of waves. 

You stay dry and warm, you’re happy.

On better days, even with a slight chill in the air, a lighter Tempo jacket fended off splash and spray from the sea, and doubled up as a perfect hiking or cycling top layer.

Thanks to a forest-like growth of hair I rarely feel the cold in my legs, so for most of the trip opted for a pair of Horizon shorts, which I really liked thanks to a Neoprene waist band and a warm, comfortable fleece inner-lining.

As I approached Helsinki in the last week, Finland turned cold. Temperatures regularly tickled zero and the Baltic (sea and winds) finally tested my leg’s limits. Off came the shorts and on with Neon pants. They’re not intended to be 100% waterproof, but there’s a snug near-neoprene fit around the ankles and a high, velcro-tight waist, so not much is getting in there. 

Suffice it to say, I was overly smug and warm with the Oceana/ Neon combo. Not to mention infinitely colourful.

Safety, of course, is paramount when on the water. As a solo traveller I don’t take chances no matter how comfortable I might be with the conditions and the Kaikoura PFD is my flotation jacket of choice. Comfortable and furnished with more pockets than a snooker table, the Kaikoura was a second skin between Oslo and Helsinki.

- Visit Palm Equipment Europe’s Website

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The seeds of my first true adventurous ideas began to blossom as I rolled the streets of Swansea, South Wales on a longboard. There was no greater plan at that stage, just a will to push some boundaries and create a new road to the future, for me at least.

There’s a certain irony that a love for travelling on water was born halfway through a dry and hot journey on land. Exhausted, with two thousand miles of bitumen beneath my wheels I skated onto a car ferry in Wellington, South Australia and stopped for three minutes as ropes did the work and we crossed the Murray River.

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Those 100 metres or so will always stay with me. The pelicans swooping, willows waving in the wind. The Murray’s journey finishes close to that ferry crossing but it took me two and a half months of paddling to reach that intersection for the second time, when three years later I returned to Australia and kayaked the Murray’s length.

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I fell in love with the soft meandering of water travel and as these journeys became more central to my lifestyle and work life I began to value the gear I took with me. Integral to keeping this gear in working order - and this counts for clothing, camping and cooking equipment as much as electronics - is a set of waterproof bags capable of protecting their contents in case of rain, splashing or submersion.

I tried a few different brands but eventually settled with Aquapac's range of duffels, dry bags, stuff sacks and electronic pouches.

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In remote areas I need to trust that my equipment is in good hands. I travel relatively light and simply can’t afford to lose any items because the protection isn’t up to scratch. 

When I travel I put everything into an Upano Duffel and if flying I throw that into the underside of the aircraft. 

I tend to keep smaller items and electronics in Trailproof Drybags, usually with the most important electronic items in their own separate pouches, just in case.

Clothes don’t take up much room when stuffed down into compression Pack Dividers, which are 100% dry bags also.

I’m a big fan of Noatak Wet and Drybags, they’re super hardy. One lived permanently on the front of my Hobie Kayak when pedalling across Scandinavia and was subjected to a constant barrage of waves and splash. Never did any water creep inside.

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Aquapac make a bunch of pouches sized for various electronics which allows operation and waterproofing at the same time, especially handy for GPS, iPhone and iPad.

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I try not to have more than one bag in any given size or style so when unpacking in camp at the end of the day I can see instantly where everything is.

Ultimately, with Aquapac I know what I’m getting. Protection, trust, peace of mind. I haven’t yet been on a journey with them where I finish with less gear than I started, which is exactly how I’m going to keep it.

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Official Website: www.davecornthwaite.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/expedition1000

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There’s something deeply basic and beautiful about following your feet. Some wise Buddah once said that every journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step, and although that isn’t strictly true the sentiment is there and applies to every decision, step, bounce, push, pedal and whatever action we choose to take us forward.

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I’ve been a long-time admirer of KEEN footwear, not just because they make strong products in a nice, sustainable way, but because they have a simple, powerful ethos. Yes, they’re a business, but they want to make a difference at the same time as trotting through life. And like me, they’ve chosen the outdoors and adventure as their playground.

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Earlier this year KEEN invited me to be an Ambassador for them, which made me smile. And you know what, they made me feel wanted. I’ve worked with plenty of companies over the years but have sometimes been left with a sense that I’m not really valued.

KEEN aren’t like that. From the first minute they tuned into my motives, asked me to get involved with projects, shared my stories on their channels, and when I rolled through their home base of Rotterdam on my ICE Trike they gave me a bed and a place to chill, and instantly had me up on stage at one of their Ocean Film Tours, which just happened to be on when I arrived.

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And Julian and Perry even gave the Trike a good workout in some pretty hefty wind!

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I felt like I was part of a family. Can you ask for more than that? As a nomadic traveller community is something I often miss out on, so in that sense, KEEN had me at “Hello.”

A few months after we met I embarked on the 11th leg of my Expedition1000 project, this time in a Hobie Kayak across Scandinavia. 

Of course, KEEN’s roots lie in good waterproof shoes with a solid toe plate to avoid those agonising hopping-around-in-pain moments, and with endless rocky islands ahead of me I wanted to ensure my feet not only survived the journey, but also enjoyed it in comfort.

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Most days I slipped into a pair of Clearwater CNXs. They were my bread and butter for pedalling (the Hobie Kayak is powered by a Mirage Drive, based on two fins that replicate the propulsion of penguin flippers) and took me through storms, across wide sections of open water and, of course, made coming ashore on rocky, stony landings blissfully easy.

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Also in the bag were a pair of Class 5 Flips which replaced the Clearwaters when I was in camp each night, and a pair of Marshalls, the only traditional ‘shoes’ I had with me. These got a run out on the coldest of days, and when my camps weren’t flip flop friendly. I also used them for the longest of the 60 portages I had to make when crossing Sweden on the lock-ridden Göta Canal.

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So, here we are. 48 days. 24 islands camped on. 1000.5 miles covered between Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland. KEEN shoes having a part to play all the way. 

And you know the best thing, my feet still have 14 more 1000+ mile journeys to enjoy, and with KEEN around, enjoy them they will.

- Visit KEEN’s website

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Choosing the right headwear is key for any adventure, especially if you’re blessed with a complexion and hair colour that naturally resents any contact with sunlight.

Over the past few years I’ve covered thousands of non-motorised miles, down rivers, across deserts, over oceans and along mighty roads. But whether I need a layer under my helmet, a neck warmer, a windbreak or a simple item of headwear that protects my noggin’ from the sun, a Buff covers all bases.

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Buffs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but it was on my 2nd expedition over 1000 miles that I first fell in love with the Visor BUFF®.

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Take the versatility, comfort, weather and UV resistant nature of an original Buff, then add a soft neoprene visor for reducing sun glare and adding extra protection to the face. And there you have it, the first items of clothing in my bag for every expedition.

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I’ve taken my Visor Buff the length of the Murray and Mississippi, across the American South on a Bikecar and between Oslo and Helsinki in my most recent journey, a 48 days pedal in a Hobie Kayak.

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You can wear the Visor up or down depending on the conditions. And it’s not just for the head. I’ve used my Buff as a hammock tree strap, an oven glove and the neoprene visor does a fine job as a makeshift pillow during those most valuable daytime naps. 

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So, as multi-talented headwear goes, I think the Visor BUFF® is well ahead of the field.

Get yourself a Visor Buff.

And if you’d like to follow my next Buffclad adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube, just click the relevant word.

And for a full history of my adventures, here’s my website.

48 days. 3 countries. 1,092,900 pedal pushes. 303 hours and 35 minutes on the water. 24 islands camped on.  Average speed 3.5 miles per hour. Total Distance: 1000.5 miles. Oslo to Helsinki by Hobie Kayak, tick! 

11 non-motorised journeys over 1000 miles now in the bag. 14 still to go. We haven’t even gotten started yet. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this journey, especially you guys on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter who have given me plenty to grin about when I’ve checked in. These trips are all the more fun because I can share them with you, so thanks for being there. 

What’s next? I don’t have a journey in the planning stages yet, need a little rest first :) I fly to England tonight and will be there for a few weeks, giving the occasional talk so I can put bread on the table, but first job is to edit the remaining Pedal on Water films (check out the current episodes out on www.youtube.com/davecornthwaite) and then I’m going to start writing a little book about this journey.  

I do have a small adventure planned in the  Caribbean this December on Sea Dragon, the 72ft yacht I completed Expedition1000’s 5th journey on. We still have a few places available for what will be a brilliant Exploring Mindset Voyage, a mixture of adventure and conversation all geared towards finding your purpose. Why don’t you come and join me? http://bit.ly/1ksG9Vi

For now, I hope you have an adventure planned, big or small, wherever you might be. Make life memorable, say yes more. 

Dave, Helsinki. October 2nd 2014

Image by Leif Rosas

Here’s a very kind email from a friend I met on my very first adventure in 2006, but one full of questions that many of you have asked already in recent weeks.

So as well as the original email and questions, I’ve tried to answer everything below to give an insight into how I approach an expedition and make everything happen before and during (let’s talk about after when I’m finished on this current mission!)

THE EMAIL
Hi Dave

Just wondering how you keep all your technology dry.? What laptop are you using for your edits and how long do u spend each day editing, updating the website, Facebook , tumblr etc …

It’s crazy to think that you had 2 weeks before this expedition. I would be thinking bills to pay, airfare expense, where do I sleep, what permissions do I need, will it be safe, hypothermia if I capsize, what if my laptop gets wet, how do I recharge all this equipment, how many back up drives will I need for all the video footage, blah blah.

Plus I have to store dry clothes somewhere (storage looks tiny to me), I mean this kayak was supposedly never supposed to go 1000 miles!

And there you are doing professional broadcasts, editing ads, daily video feeds…!!! It’s a feat more challenging than what you are already doing!!! I have Internet challenges daily and I am in one place and curse when my cell phone runs out of charge (which is all the time )!

And what are u doing for food? Do you stop along the way? How much bucks does one have to carry on a trip like this? And visas? It takes months to get a visa !!! You make this all seem like a piece of cake!!!

I wonder how I would sort all the stuff you have to have with you, even for a day trip on a lake, let alone months on choppy unknown waters!!!!

Truly remarkable … You had a team behind you on Aus so everything was in the van but here you are by yourself, in conditions not meant for technology!!!! And it’s fabulous viewing!! … You are revolutionising reality Facebook !!!

It is current, interesting, beyond anything any one of us normal people with bills would or could attempt, but you awaken the primal adventure bug in all of us.

National geographic and travel channel need to take heed. You embody the spirit of adventure…
Good on you Dave !!!! Thanks for the adventure!!!! Xx


MY ANSWER
I LOVE this type of feedback! I suppose my first trick is to simplify everything, so as to streamline what I want to do - which is to create an innovative ongoing ‘real time’ documentary.

All posts (except the pedal on water episodes) are created, edited and shared via iPhone 5s. I use iMovie on the phone to share the daily ‘good morning’ posts.

I navigate using google maps on iPad and iPhone. Often satellite mode.

I have a 13” MacBook Pro Retina laptop on which I use final cut x to edit the bigger episodes. Audio/narration is recorded on a Zoom H1.

All gear, clothes and electronics, has a place in an Aquapac drybag or pouch - they have a bunch of different styles.

I use mains power when possible but recharge my gear all night using a Power Gorilla battery (from powertraveller.com) which is charged by a Solar Gorilla solar panel.

2 x 2gb western digital MyPassport drives for data/content backup (each stored in different bag/part of kayak - I back up every two nights religiously).

I probably spend 60 minutes on average each day crediting and sharing the stories - really love this part of the adventure, engaging with people around the world and lighting a spark for some.

I guess the graphic designing helped a bit but back then ‘social media’ wasn’t yet around. I used Facebook and twitter for the first time on the Murray expedition in 2009 and my video editing was quite rudimentary at that point!

I guess as with anything, the more time one spends on something the better they get at it. I’m miles ahead of myself four years ago but the exciting thing is that I’m only scratching the surface.

This also goes for general logistics. I have a bite the bullet approach now: it doesn’t take too many things to sort to go on an adventure. Need a visa? Apply for one! Air fare? Book as early as possible and keep costs low (if you don’t book it the trip doesn’t happen). Bills to pay? The only monthly outgoing I have is for my UK phone, and that’s direct debit. Generally my costs are based on my immediate choices and I only but/pay for things I really need, because I carry my life on my back (kayak). Permissions? Usually I go, then work it out on the way. Sleep? There’s always somewhere quiet to pitch a tent. Capsize? Don’t! Always have an easy available grab bag with towel and dry change of warm clothes.

Food? I resupply when I can - usually in a small store or supermarket. I know before I go in when my next likely re supply point is so cater for this, and always have extra rations tucked away in case I get stuck somewhere.

Feel free to write to Nat Geo and Travel Channel and tell them what you think! Although I’m more than happy doing what I’m doing. In fact, couldn’t be happier

Dave xx

Since I replaced a backpack for a skateboard I’ve not had much time for being a tourist. I don’t mean this to knock tourism, but when I previously travelled it was just that - travelling, travelling, because I could, perhaps just to see things that were in the guidebooks. Indeed, I carried a guidebook.

But I don’t remember much from the few disappearing acts of ‘gap year’ and university holidays, and I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s because I didn’t have a purpose. There was no rhyme or reason to my ventures. And looking back, I guess the reason for those journeys was to find myself somehow. If I had the chance again I honestly think I’d do it differently, I’d set myself a mission, quite possibly like the ones I attempt now. The memories are etched into my mind from the moment an idea for an adventure takes seed; each step is worth remembering, because it means something.

Stuck on Sydkoster (South Koster Island), on Sweden’s only marine reserve, I still don’t have the urge to go exploring when I’m here. Sometimes these journeys are a chance to get a slight feel for a place, a nod to a future visit when I do have more time, and I’ve made peace with the occasional straight-lining through a place in protection against fatigue. If I kept moving on those few days when a chance for rest is offered, I’d burn out before 500 miles.

A brisk, hour-long walk with the camera is always part of the plan, though. No tour guides or buses, just a walk out of the tent - or the hotel, or the stranger’s spare room - and meander. It’s nice feeling how the rocks are beneath the shoes, to stand at the water’s edge knowing you’re not about to get on - or in - it. Everywhere has an electricity and energy and only by moving away from houses and infrastructure can you work out whether you’re connected to it.

From my vantage point, the sea looks flat. The Swedish flags billowing out from the rooftops remind me that the wind is up to 15 or 16 metres a second, and I feel duped by calmness of this sheltered bay. I want to be out there, on the move, but in these conditions I’d be asking for trouble.

A day later I was pedalling through and out of the channel, then out into the water that yesterday had looked so flat. The wind is lower today, growing from 6 m/s to 10 m/s, and I’m glad I had that day of rest. 

I’m on the edge of comfort, aware of my mortality, of the ramifications of a loss of focus and a capsize. I’d plotted my route; to the right of that island, to the left of that, to try and maximise shelter from the rolling North Sea for as long as possible, but knew at some point I’d have to rotate east and make the 2-mile crossing to the mainland archipelago.

I’d decided to go for it from the first island but opted out halfway through and made a 30 degree change. ‘Let’s give it 20 minutes, see what the weather does.’ I found a lovely little beach facing north east, escaped from Hobie, and the rain started to drop. And I mean drop, because fall wouldn’t do it justice.

The weather was sharing its wisdom. ‘Go now, or you’ll just get cold. Go now, or you might not go at all.’

I went. 

Hobie is brilliantly stable and in high seas, with feet pumping (unlike a normal kayak my toes will never get cold) and arms doing the same, mainly using the paddle for stability and bracing, I never felt close to capsize. But the potential was there. I’m SO glad I didn’t leave Koster yesterday. 

Waves towered overhead, often blocking out any view of the dark grey islands that rose up from the east coast. I picked my spot, a route that would take me into a sheltered channel until the next open water section, and went for it. Compared to Saturday’s crossing from Norway to Koster, this was a gauntlet. Tense, soaked through (the water temperature of the North Sea rush is not as mild as that of the Oslo Fjord) and resolute not to let one of the regular rogue waves over-tickle Hobie’s bottom, thus promoting a topple. 

In other words, I wasn’t going over, I was just getting to the other side. An hour after leaving my sheltered cove, we slipped into the lee of the first island in the archipelago, and a few gulls chattered in congratulation. So far, Sweden has been a challenge.

Follow my journey to Helsinki on Facebook and Twitter. More photos on Instagram, and check out progress updates on a cool little tracking map on my website.

The third day of this journey was one of two halves. The first, a calm, gentle trail from headland to headland, water lapping at the bow, a solitary seal popping up nearby to eye me curiously before releasing a disappointing cough and descending to the deep. A short swim in waters now cooled by the North Sea, then finally out of the Oslo Fjord and into open water.

The second half is when the wind rises and our destination is a silhouette on the horizon, clear sight of which is increasingly blocked by growing waves. The first real test of the Hobie’s stability, which it passes. The first test of my nerve in unsettling conditions. A reminder of the stamina and determination it takes to complete even one leg of a journey like this; forget the whole thing.

For three hours we battled across the open stretch between the Norwegian island of Vesterøy and the national park of Kosterhavets across the border in Sweden, and it was with great relief that as the island neared  the path of the wind was blocked, and entry to the South Koster marina was an easy one.

I’ve come to realise these past few days that this journey isn’t going to be a non-stop smash. Travelling on the ocean encourages patience and reverence to the elements. I wake to big weather. The winds are high and a crossing to the mainland today would be a risk. So, on just the fourth day of this journey, I am forced into a waiting game. This will not be the first of such days.

Still, there are worse places to be stuck than the Kosterhavet islands. Sweden’s only official Marine National Park (opened 2009). A kayakers dream (when the winds aren’t this high), a playground for harbour seals, teeming with birdlife and a protected marine ecosystem, Koster could keep you busy for a week. I took a walk out to each end of South Koster island to survey the sea from where I’d come and the waters I was still to cross. The quiet, whistling wind keeps the Swedish flags flying on their masts as the smooth, rounded granite rocks (which I’ll soon become used to) mark the island’s territory. 

Forced as my stay is, the chance to breath in the air from a stationary position is enjoyable and relaxing, the ideal opportunity to prepare for a more measured approach down the coastline of West Sweden.

Follow my journey to Helsinki on Facebook and Twitter. More photos on Instagram, and check out progress updates on a cool little tracking map on my website.

For an hour before the leaving party arrived, Titus and I knelt in the rain on the Aker Brygge dock and did all those things which summed up how last-minute this journey was.

Stickers on the kayak, working out where each bag was supposed to go (there are two main bulkheads and a day hole, in addition to a storage tray area behind the seat), understanding how the rudder worked and the Mirage drive slotted into the hull.

And all of a sudden a few faces turned up and I found myself climbing into the Hobie Mirage Adventure for the very first time and tentatively pedalling away with a wave. This was my first time in a Hobie kayak, and I had just started a journey to Helsinki from Oslo. I mean, why not?

There were two other Hobie’s on the water with me. Titus, in his borrowed white craft, and another remarkable man, Cato Zahl Pedersen, who at the age of 14 had climbed an electricity pole in order to get a view of a fine Oslo sunset and had been hit with 17,000 volts.

He fell to the ground and lost both of his arms. Surrounded by sorrow from family and friends in the weeks and months to follow, he found solace in the local running club who just wanted people to run faster. ‘Well, I could do that,’ he said with a smile.

Cato has gone on to win multiple gold medals in various Paralympic disciplines in both Winter and Summer. He climbed Everest and had to turn back 200 metres from the Summit because there were so many people he wouldn’t have had time to Summit and return safely. He has the true mark of a successful man, suggesting it was a good thing not to have fingers in -40C temperatures when skiing to the South Pole.

Perhaps more rewarding than any of his endurance feats, is the hope he gives to youngsters, especially those with disabilities. When we met on the dock he thrust his right-handed hook towards me leaving no option other than to shake it. ‘I’m a normal man,’ that move said, loud and clear.

Cato left us after 4 miles (Titus and I were kind of glad, because the guy was supremely fast!) and pedalled to his hometown beach, and the day continued. I’ve done no real exercise since I finished my last expedition in mid June and was sore after 10 miles. Titus was feeling the same - pedalling recumbent style will take some getting used to, but I felt solace from the thought that in a few days this will be second nature.

Following Titus’ fairly impressive backflip off a 6 metre diving board (mainly impressive because his legs were so stiff he could barely climb the steps to the board!), we stopped for the day 20 miles out of Oslo, in Drøbak, staying for one more night at Titus and Vanja’s home just 30 metres from the water, and then Day Two began in earnest. Titus opted to swap his Hobie Kayak for a Stand Up Paddleboard (he has one helluva journey of his own coming up next year) and we made fine progress south along the Oslo fjord, a gentle tailwind making life easy.

We pulled over when cruise ships passed, enjoyed the 200 metre change of scenery through the canal in Moss, and revelled in round the small harbour in Larkollen to be greeted by Titus’ wife and child, Theo. We’re being hosted by Ninette tonight, and she was there too, arms wide, beaming. A ray of sunshine. 

It was a lovely evening, an incredible four-course meal that Ninette had been preparing all day, and a little more planning and preparation. Tomorrow I leave alone. It’s time to head to Sweden.

Follow my journey to Helsinki on Facebook and Twitter. More photos on Instagram, and check out progress updates on a cool little tracking map on my website.

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Tired, weather-beaten and thoroughly soaked through, I fastened my kayak to the jetty, made my way up the pontoon and squelched through the open restaurant. From both sides the most gorgeous heads turned towards me. Perfectly symmetrical faces, blonde hair, blue eyes, that soft, tanned look of healthy, well-toned people. 

I’m on a constant pursuit to find situations in which feeling inadequate and inconsequential is the result (it takes the pressure off, knowing we’re less important than we’d like to make out), but this took the biscuit. Without planning it, I’ve descended upon a part of the world which breeds beautiful, strong humans. This will be character building.

Three weeks ago my plans for the summer were thrown into the air by a cancelled project, and so I had to make a swift decision: spend my summer lying in bed, or have an adventure…

For a while I’ve been eyeing up the Hobie Kayak, an innovative craft based on your average kayak but with one, critical difference; it’s pedal-powered! The Hobie is one of the remaining items on my list that required little to no prior experience before setting off on a journey; so with a lack of time to prepare, it seemed like a cool choice.

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I’d been talking to Hobie about working together on a journey already so thankfully they jumped right in with my suggestion to paddle around the Swedish coastline. Sadly the Swedish distributor was on holiday and off grid (she was pedalling a Hobie kayak around an archipelago!) so the closest kayak we could access was in Norway.

The plan evolved fast - it had to! Talking closely with Vesseli from the European HQ and Kristian in Norway, the decision was taken to begin in Oslo, Norway and end in Helsinki, Finland. Taking in more countries on this trip would be better promotion for Hobie, and a more varied experience for me. Win win.

Also, and this is no joke, I’ve always wanted to finish a journey in Finland. Get it?

And so, the idea was set. A furious week of emailing, calling in favours, linking arms with sponsors I’ve grown close to over the years. I went to my parent’s house so I could have a fixed delivery address, and the postman came day after day. Expedition Christmas.

You know, things just come together when you open up and allow them too. A little hard work is essential, of course, but making a plan and putting it out to the world invites just as much kindness as negativity (although the negativity has abated in recent years, try and tell me these things can’t be done and I’ll just prove you wrong!). 

Case in point. A week ago I didn’t know anyone in Norway, needed a place to stay and prepare on my arrival, and I also needed some stickers made up last-minute to pimp up the kayak. 

All the way down to an hour before I flew little bits of gear arrived, but ultimately it all came and it was time to roll. A day later I stumbled off the plane in Oslo to be met my Titus, who had been following along on Facebook and had offered ground support for the first couple of days. 

It so happened that Titus and his wife Vanja had a very cool sticker-making business. Life is good! It’s important to remember that each of us could be the nudge, the support network for a challenge like this. Just a bit of time, generosity and kindness can give someone else the chance to be brilliant. Titus and his family became my support network this time round. Stay open to your chance to be helped, or be the helper :)

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I’ll write more about the first three days on the water in my next post, but this one is intended to show just how fast these things can come together. One idea, a little persistence and, most importantly, a decision. Let’s do it.

Follow my stories from the coastline on Facebook and Twitter. More photos on Instagram, and check out progress updates on a cool little tracking map on my website.