This has become a familiar routine but the joy never wears off. A knock each day from the postman, a slow accumulation of little gear piles in the corner of my room: electronics, camping gear, food, personal, miscellaneous.
Yes, expedition time is approaching and slowly loose ends are being bound together like frayed rope-ends being cured by a….hold on! I haven’t packed a lighter yet.
During my first two adventure projects I got a little carried away by the sudden realisation that if I had a cool project it meant I could blag free stuff. Seriously, someone even sent me a remote control car because I managed to convince them that it would help me skateboard across Australia.
But those times are gone. The glee I now feel when receiving a sponsored product is akin to placing one of the final pieces into a nearly completed jigsaw puzzle. Almost everything I travel with is necessary. An ElliptiGO is about 30% harder to power than a bicycle, so add a trailer full of gear behind and there’s a challenge on the cards. Keeping things light is essential.
Each day next week, starting on Monday, I’ll be sharing ideas on how to make your expedition happen, from deciding what you need to obtaining sponsorship, getting over the inevitable rejection from some potential partners and also ensuring that you do a good job for those who have chosen to support you.
On April 30th myself & Squash Falconer set off from Liverpool on our ElliptiGO elliptical trainers with 3000 miles of road and 5 European countries ahead of us.
We’re encouraging people to come and join us on the road, spread the word, set up events to get people on our ElliptiGOs at the same time as helping us raise thousands for CoppaFeel!’s efforts towards breast cancer awareness and pre-detection.
If you know anyone on the route who might be willing to host us, have Squash and I deliver an entertaining and motivating talk, get friends out to ride with us for a brief while, or just to simply spread the word, please let us know.
The days/ nights in bold capitals below are the ones where we’re looking for someone to set up an event in the evening. And of course, if you’d like to join us for a day or just a few hours, this’ll give you an idea of where we will be.
Tue 30 April - Liverpool to Nantwich
Wed 1 May - Nantwich to Derby
Thu 2 May - SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LEICESTER & NORTHAMPTON
Fri 3 May - Milton Keynes (event @ 7pm)
Sat 4 May - WE’D LIKE TO HOLD A LONDON EVENT
Sun 5 May - Hyde Park, 3pm
6 May - Brighton
7 May - SOMEWHERE IN KENT
8 May - Gravesend, 5pm
9 May - BETWEEN CHELMSFORD & IPSWICH
10 May - Harwich to Rotterdam ferry
Two days ago I wrote a very grumpy post about the quality of an article in the UK Metro newspaper. The article was bouncy, pleasant and very nice about our recently completed expedition, swimming down the Missouri.
I’ve had a few messages since saying I should be grateful for any media coverage, but I couldn’t disagree more.
The article in the Metro wasn’t in any way negative and I’m delighted that someone picked the story up and ran it, I’m just disappointed in how it was done. I understand that those who know me may have felt excitement or pride to see the coverage. I know that perhaps a few out there who I’ve never met will have thought, ‘good on him.’ Despite all of this, it simply wasn’t good enough.
I don’t do what I do for plaudits. Just because on occasion I’ve managed to achieve something original shouldn’t be construed as an attempt to gain respect or admiration. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I’m as normal or as crazy as anyone, I do what I do because I love it. My adventures are a result of a number of life decisions, I’m able to sate most of the natural urges I have and compliment any creative abilities I’ve been given through adventure. This is why I do it, not to have an article now and then confirm why I should have a big head.
I know the value of what I do. I also know that because so far I’ve actively turned down opportunities that could have raised my profile and created celebrity or fame that I compromise the full potential of my actions. But I’m okay with that because I’m not compromising myself at the same time.
Perhaps one day I’ll be respected because I stuck to my guns, rather than swimming my way into a headline alliteration. Either way, I’ll not change my values. We need to raise the bar on everything; our choices, how we spend our time, our ambition, media content. Comfort kills ambition.
We have the power to make choices. I’m never going to agree with an article, news piece or tv programme being packaged in consumer-friendly bitesize chunks simply because we have no more faith in humans having a half-decent attention span. I will make no jokes here about my tiny package.
My adventures and my attitude have and continue to have the ingredients to pass on a mild eureka moment to others and the motivation (and tools) to take ones dreams and start living them. The expeditions themselves also serve as a lovely conduit to raise money for good causes. Recently these efforts I’ve been focused on CoppaFeel!, the breast cancer awareness charity set up by my friend Kris after she was diagnosed at the age of 23. In the face of seeing her own life drastically shortened she decided to prevent the same happening to others.
I enjoy raising money for charity. It’s not my bread and butter and it’s not the reason that I do what I do, but by default if I can raise some awareness and even funds for a cause I believe in, then I will.
If I were famous, if I had an article about me every single day in the Metro, I’d raise more money. As it is I have maybe one article a year, and if it’s written like the one that was published yesterday it is pretty close to worthless in terms of conveying any decent message.
So why don’t I pursue fame? Because I’d hate myself if I did.
Every decision I make in life comes from my heart. I will do something if I feel it develops me and will be fun at the same time. I want to be happy and that means honouring my own values and reducing stresses. I have turned down television companies who wanted to follow me paddling down a river because they thought it would only be interesting to the public if I wrestled an alligator or two. I laughed at them.
I’m not arguing that I’d make a great TV presenter, I just think a journey down the river over several months IS an interesting, educational story. I experience so much on my trips that they can’t fail to make good stories if they’re told well, but if they don’t involve an accident (even that doesn’t work sometimes), a huge struggle or a large set of teeth then it isn’t fit for public consumption.
What about the pure, relatable story of someone just choosing to live life to the full without being motivated by a sob story or god-given life challenge or near-death experience? What about living every moment? What about taking life by the scruff of the neck for no reason other than because we’re alive? What about grasping everything the world has to offer rather than living the same year 80 times and calling it life? Our society is incessantly missing the point.
I appreciate all the well wishes and congratulations. My team deserve them just as much as I (indeed, I wouldn’t have made it without them, period) and they didn’t get a mention. The accumulative effort put in by everyone involved in this project deserved more than £5000 in donations and this is partly down to the lack of journalism involved in mainstream journalism. Our PR campaign certainly was not weak and as self-critical as I am we could have done little more.
As begrudging as I am about being called a Daredevil I would have been content with the Metro article had it mentioned CoppaFeel! and my team, but it didn’t. Someone took a press release, removed everything important and copied and pasted the rest. As with everything, regardless of situation unless we take our work and do it to the best of our ability we’re wasting our time and lying to ourselves. Sub-standard gets us nowhere.
‘That’s just how it is,’ I’ve heard time and time again in the last two days. Unquestionably, but I don’t buy it, I expect more. We have become so accustomed to accepting less than what we deserve that we’ve stopped caring. As individuals. As communities. As nations. If we allow our primary news sources to administer fluff every day we slowly require nothing of substance and become lazily misinformed and happy with it. We shouldn’t be afraid to demand more.
All I ask from journalists is that they employ a little more thought into what they share with the world. I understand that the Metro is a city paper designed to entertain more than educate, but it’s not The Sun either. They should strive to be better, intelligent people should be tested on a morning commute. A great deal of my frustration comes down to 1) that they missed the point of the story, which instantly means most of the readers do too, and 2) that this was the only coverage of the journey in the UK, where other publications are probably better placed to provide a bit more meat to their news
I have no right to expect coverage of my actions, but if it comes I’d rather some effort was put into it. Those with a voice in our world have a responsibility to do their job well. Let’s not accept our education in the form of punchlines, life is not a gimmick.
Other reading material on this matter:
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
TUESDAY OCTOBER 9TH
BRITISH MAN COMPLETES RECORD-BREAKING MISSOURI SWIM
British Adventurer and Author Dave Cornthwaite has completed a record-breaking 1004 mile swim along the Missouri River.
Cornthwaite reached St Louis, Missouri after a 58 day swim from Chamberlain, South Dakota, for which he didn’t train. He decided to make the journey after his Mum bought him some swimming goggles for Christmas.
Cornthwaite says: ‘I’ve swum into obstacles beneath the surface, risked hypothermia and spent much of the past three weeks vomiting in the river, but if you just keep swimming you eventually get to St Louis, and we did.’
This is the 7th journey of Cornthwaite’s Expedition1000 project, in which he aims to raise $1.5 million for the CoppaFeel! breast cancer awareness organisation by completing 25 journeys of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport.
Cornthwaite was supported by a team from Britain, all who paddled the full distance on Lakeshore Stand Up Paddleboards and in a Mad River canoe.
He has previously broken five world records on journeys such as stand up paddleboarding the length of the Mississippi River and skateboarding across Australia.
He has written two books, including one about dating 100 women in 100 days. Three more novels are due to be published between now and May 2013, including a book about his Missouri swim, titled ‘Are You The Swimmer?’
Cornthwaite has stayed in St Louis for media engagements and has begun writing his book. His next adventures include riding a horse across Mongolia and rowing across the Pacific Ocean, Solo. First though, he is touring America with his new motivational speaking tour, Say Yes More.
Find out more on www.davecornthwaite.com
Notes for Editors and Producers
Hi-Res Images and HD Footage Sizzle Reel available for download and use on request.
Dave has great media experience and presence during live interviews. His unique adventures are renowned globally and his candid, dry humour compliments his intriguing take on anything from adventure to dating.
HD Footage from his past adventures including the Missouri River swim can be made available for air.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-453-3059 to organise an interview with Dave.