I have a history of responding enthusiastically when someone calls me up with what most people would call, a crazy idea.
Approximately 15 years ago, having had my first successful attempt at altitude – summiting a 6500m peak in Bolivia – I received a phone call from a friend asking me to come along on an Everest expedition to have a go at getting to 7000m or so. I decided that sounded like a great idea, went along on the trip, and made it to 8450m (with a badly healed broken ankle and limited experience).
With this behind me, of course I had to go back and have a proper attempt at the summit, which I achieved 3 years later. Subsequently I have climbed the rest of the 7 summits, the highest peak on each continent, as well as the 7 volcanic summits, skied to the South Pole, as well as summited a number of other peaks around the world.
Having spent all of this time trying to get as far away as possible from sea level, it was an extremely unexpected phone call that I received from Campbell Mackie asking if I would have any interest in sailing around the world. Having clarified that he did know that I knew nothing about sailing, my main ocean experience being swimming in a couple of Ironman events and stand-up paddle boarding at our beach house, I could not help myself but promise to consider the idea. Realising that the current pandemic situation meant that any other fun and extreme activity was a long-time away, and most importantly that I had over two years to get myself to a point that I had enough knowledge and skill to be a useful crew member, my decision was that this was not an opportunity I could ignore. So here I am, a crew member of an OGR 2023 entry, and very excited about this journey.
When I discovered climbing it filled a few needs of mine; I love a challenge, I have a strong drive to continually learn new things, and I am always looking to have interesting experiences with a great team of people – this event also ticks all those boxes!