This is the pre-determined, socially accepted, trajectory of your life:
You’re born, get formally educated, start a family, get a sensible nine-to-five job and retire at 65. For some, this is the perfect life – for others, it’s a slow, waking and brutal nightmare.
Meet 18 people who abandoned “logic”, security, societal approval, and dared to tread off the beaten path by turning their every waking moment into an adventure.
Jessica Pociask | Owner of WANT Expeditions
Owner of WANT Expeditions, has been to almost 80 countries, travel writer, nature photographer and working to complete a M.S. in environmental sciences and public policy from Johns Hopkins University.
“My goal is that in five years time, WANT will be the preferred travel provider for conservation organizations, their supporters and donor groups. We will do over ten million in sales, and 10% of that will go directly to the projects we support. Additionally, by this time, I will have stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the company, and devote the majority of my time to the conservation projects we are running.”
Kai Fitchen | Explorer & Founder of My Kape
Kai’s turned his love for the Cape into a lifetime commitment by founding My Kape, and dedicating himself to exploring as much of the world as he can.
“My love for adventure came from scrambling up and down Table Mountain. It’s where I feel most excited and comfortable, with its secret trails and inspiring cliff faces.”
Dan Adams | Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of The Higher Purpose Project
Entrepreneur, NCAA record holder, TV personality, and co-creator of the 2012 ESPY Award Winning Mission Kilimanjaro and founder of The Higher Purpose Project.
“At a young age I learned to not rely on modern education or the opinions of others that didn’t serve my vision. It can be really difficult to break the conditioning of these powerful influencers, however, if you are willing to be the “weird one”, over time it can really help in being able to take the leap in pursuing unconventional passions.”
Patricia Glyn | Eco-Adventurer, Writer & Inspirational Speaker
Patricia’s resume includes being a TV and radio presenter, best remembered for her radio show ‘Patricia’s People’ and controversial documentary series ‘Point Blank’. She’s also an eco-adventurer and philanthropist.
“I am driven by curiosity and a very low threshold of boredom”
“Ghandi put it best when he said: ‘In order to find ourselves we need to lose ourselves in the service of others.’ For me, contentment and fulfillment come through self-forgetfulness and philanthropy. We live in a country with dire need around every corner, both human and animal, and those of us who are in a position to help are duty bound to do so. Those who don’t get involved in things greater than themselves lead increasingly diminished lives – and boring ones!!”
Emily Bell | Adventurer
First woman to kayak the length of Britain as the crew captain on Sean Conway’s record-breaking swim. Stand-up paddle boarded 1001 miles down the Missouri River and Deputy Editor of new adventure magazine, Avaunt.
“Growing up I was always so confused about what I wanted in life. I was always told I lived in the clouds because I wanted everyday to be amazing. I wanted to be outside, living life and doing something exciting every single moment – not sitting indoors wishing away the hours. After years of wondering, I finished university with no better idea…I knew that I wanted to be able to wear trainers everyday, manage my own time, work intensely hard, be inspired, be challenged, be scared and experience the world while doing it. I gave up my flat, my good salary, my belongings to lead a more minimal life. And I’ve never looked back. Now after six years of sleeping on a floor, working for free and even cleaning for friends, saying yes to new and scary opportunities, pushing myself and slowly working out what I want, I feel that I have finally reached my own personal point of success.”
Alex Harris | Race Director of The Munga & Explorer
Athlete, speaker, exploring for two decades, leader of more than twenty expeditions to some of the furthest corners of the planet.
“I am driven by getting close to a balance between living the dream by not selling out to the demands of a mediocre world. I’m obsessed about the potential put in people by God, and my role in living out my potential…to the maximum!”
Kyle Maynard | Motivational Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur & Athlete
Motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which earned him his 2nd ESPY for the Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
“I believe that nothing separates me or other speakers/role models from anyone else on this planet. We all have the power to impact people’s lives and it’s a choice we make every day on if we are going to continue to grow, learn and flourish or if we are going to be a victim to circumstance.”
Jamie Anderson | Professional Snowboarder
American professional snowboarder gold medal winner at the Women’s Slopestyle Event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and gold medals in slopestyle at the Winter X Games in consecutive years in 2007/8 and 2012/3.
“Feeling the rhythms of nature and the seasons drives me! This time of year I’m so excited to go ride in the southern hemisphere… It’s cooling down in Tahoe, and it’s time to get on the mountains on the other side of our earth! I feel so blessed and fortunate to be able to travel & connect, that I really want to take advantage of all the opportunities, and just go with the flow, and give thanks all the way!”
Stephen Koch | Pioneering Snowboarder and Mountaineer
Professional speaker, climber, snowboarder and mountain guide. His list of alpine ascents and descents include some of the most notable firsts anywhere in the world, most of which have never been repeated.
“I like to do things to the best of my ability. And when I am pursuing a passion it makes it a joy to do.”
Emily Penn | Expedition Leader, Skipper, Artist and Oceans Advocate
Expedition leader, skipper, artist, oceans advocate and explorer, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.
“The desire to solve problems – my architect wired brain sees every issue as a challenge to design and create a system to fulfil the need.”
Chris Bertish | Big Wave Surfer, Adventurer and Professional Speaker
Winner of the Mavericks Big Wave International surfing event in the biggest and heaviest waves ever recorded in the history of the sport.
“I am driven by Inspiring & helping others, while squeezing the most out of life. One day and one goal at a time. I try and live life by this everyday and in everything I do. Testing myself mentally & physically, pushing the limits of what’s possible & living with the courage to follow my passions, by believing in myself, my path, while in turn, inspiring others to believe they can too, if they truly set their mind to it…nothing’s impossible unless you believe it to be.”
Alistair Humphreys | Adventurer, Cyclist, Author and Motivational Speaker
Cyclist, adventurer, author, motivational speaker, blogger, film maker, photographer and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.
“I have no special talent or strength. I am a normal person. Anyone could do the adventures I have done. The only difference, perhaps, is that I persuaded myself to BEGIN even when I was nervous. Beginning and persevering are key.”
Dave Cornthwaite | Adventurer, Author, Speaker
Adventurer, filmmaker, writer and founder of Expeditiion1000.
“Early on, when I found myself in a job that I wasn’t exactly excelling at, I was driven by the harmonious horror of monotony and misery that eventually catches up on you if you live a life without newness. Basically, I didn’t want to waste my life! A few years on, my motivations have evolved. I’ve taken some decisions and developed my values by default of my actions and I don’t think I could get sucked in by the seductions of society. I live out of a bag, haven’t had a home for several years, and as a consequence I’m driven by the protection of that freedom. You have to stay on your toes if you don’t stay in the same place for too many days on the trot and don’t have a regular income. Without those fall back plans I simply have to act, perform, write and most importantly, do what I love in order to get the stories that I base my living on.”
Charlie Martell | Adventurer, Ocean Rower and Humanitarian
Ocean rower, adventurer, humanitarian and double Guinness World Record holder.
“The desire to raise funds for selected charities, knowing that these charities are having a direct and positive impact on the beneficiaries is probably my main motivator. I am fortunate enough to sit on the Management Team of one of my chosen charities, so I do get to hear how raised funds are being spent.”
Ryan Sandes | Extreme endurance athlete and winner of all 4 Desert marathons
Trail runner, who in 2010 he became the first competitor to have won all four of the 4 Desserts races, each a 7-day, 250-kilometer self-supported footrace.
“I got into trail running fairly quickly and entered a couple of trail races and really enjoyed challenging myself. And one day, I was pretty keen at the time to travel to somewhere different and have a really unique experience, I thought, “Why not combine a race with the whole travel experience?” I think I Googled, “extreme trail races” and got to 4 Deserts website, and so I entered into the Gobi Desert race without giving that much thought.”
Katie Spotz | Adventurer and the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean
Adventurer, acclaimed motivational speaker, safe water advocate and the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean and was honoured as ‘Woman of the Year” in 2011.
“My vision is for a world where everyone has access to clean, safe drinking water and I would like my legacy to be that 100,000 people would gain access to this most important basic need.”
Roz Savage | Ocean rower, environmental advocate, writer, speaker and Guinness world record holder.
First woman to have rowed solo across three oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She holds four Guinness World Records, United Nations Climate Hero and has been inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame.
“I had all the things that I had thought would make me happy – the job, the house, the car – but while I had been climbing the ladder of success, I had leaned my ladder against the wrong building. What really brought this home to me was when I wrote two versions of my own obituary – the one I wanted, and the one I was heading for. They were very different. I realized that money and stuff actually meant very little to me. What I wanted was a life of happiness and meaning, and to feel that I would leave the world a better place than I found it.”
Garrett McNamara | Extreme big wave surfer
Professional big wave surfer
“I would like to ride a wave over 100ft and travel the world with my wife and inspire children to find their passion and make it their life. If everyone is doing what they are passionate about the world would be a happy place.”
Jhonathan Florez | Air athlete – skydiving and wingsuit flying.
Air athlete who specialises in skydiving, base Jumping and wingsuit flying. In 2014 he broke 4 Guinness World Records, by making the longest jump in human history in both time and distance.
“I’m driven by love. When the compass of your life is your heart fueled by your passion anything is possible. I was an adolescent in Colombia who was watching videos and movies of these athletes flying and it was only this curiosity and subsequently love for air and adventure that has taken me to all kind of different places in the world….We can’t be slaves to society and what the norm is or what other people want us to do. Our society is so focused on money that we tend to forget about passion, about happiness and about love. You can see people with millions of dollars who live a lonely and empty life. I rather live a life of passion and rich in memories and good times.”
Davey Du Plessis | Adventurer and Author
Adventurer who is globally famous after being attacked whilst trekking alone through the Amazon and almost losing his life.
“Success has never been a priority in my life, as my level of achievement has no specific limit or goal. Instead I have been focused on fulfillment, measured by the actions undertaken each day. I lost the desire and pursuit of being successful, when I realized that the meaning of success revolved around one’s personal ambitions, desires and goals. My actions are focused on unifying humanity and nature, both of which are not based on successes and are rather based on an understanding of equality and unity.
I am driven by compassion and knowing that I have the opportunity to promote and encourage an equality and unity of all life.”
David Grier | Adventurer & Chef
Restaurateur, Adventurer and founder of the Miles for Smiles Foundation, ran The Great wall of China 4200km in 93 days and the entire length of India 4008 km in 93 days
“As one progresses in life I feel that success does take on a different meaning, initially success tends to be all about that individual, or personal achievement, to stand out above those around you, to hear and absorb and to cherish that cheer of personal achievement. I have now found that my personal achievement is done alone, in some quiet place. The main focus and gauge of ultimate success is what change I can bring to those around me, ultimately to make my life’s journey count by making a difference.”
Espen Fadness | Worlds Fastest Human & Champion Extreme Sports Athlete
Extreme sports athlete but has also been rated as the worlds fastest human in a wingsuit.
“I’m driven by big, challenging, glorious up in the sky dreams. They may arrive by both day and night dreams. Its ideas, concepts, stunts, values that makes my heart beat slightly faster and my brain really awake. I try to disconnect from others expectations and make my heart and brain go in the same direction. When I am on that path, that direction I get lots of energy, motivation and drive.
“I believe the meaning of life is to embrace my given 80-90 years on this planet and use it as I feel is right for me. It may sound selfish, but I strongly believe our social side makes that path one you do together. Together with people you like, and people who like you.”
Sir Ranulph Fiennes | Adventurer and Endurance Athlete
The first person to visit both the North and South Poles by ‘surface means’ and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot.
“My inner soul is never happy doing everyday activities unless there is some big goal in the foreseeable future that I’m working towards.”