Recently, I’ve been asked by friends and strangers alike, how the crowdfunded project, Thermal Crossings, is going. It was a wake-up call that people were paying attention to my work, but their info was out of date. Wiping the dust off my blog, I got typing...
In the past 14-months, I've tested a new model for adventurers around the world, showing that it's possible to earn finacial support for your sports project with crowdfunding... which for many, may be an alternative to Redbull sponsorship!
As with any ambitious journey, it’s been hard. It’s been fast. It’s been a wee bit gorilla!
WARNING – Reading this post may cause the following symptoms:
Giving fewer fucks, perpetual travel, van life, booking paragliding lessons, adopting Bitcoin...
In case you’re new to Agile Existence, I was Born in the UK, but from the age of 12 (26 now) was brought up in a small hamlet about an hour inland from Alicante, Spain.
At 18, my dad’s construction business was dying in parallel to the economic collapse of 2008, and found myself on a plane back to the UK. Within 2-months, I was back living and working in Spain, as a cabin crew for Ryanair.
After a few years of that, I went off to try something completely new, scoring some jobs in Belgium and Sweden before going freelance.
Getting robbed – less is more!
After four very long flightless years, I managed to save enough money to put my passion first, bought some paragliding gear, and spent the summer re-learning how to fly in the Julian Alps, Slovenian.
Two weeks into the trip, though, whilst putting on my hiking boots, I received a shitstorm of a call.
I’d been robbed…
Everything that I’d packed away into storage. 95% of everything I owned. Gone. This is what they left.
Initially, the news broke me to the point of tears (mostly because of the loss of family pictures and sports equipment), but very quickly was ok about it all...
Better than ok actually!
A few hours after the call, I was hit by a new sense of freedom. Everything I owned now fit into a bag I could carry on my back.
The fun was short-lived, though. Winter was coming and I had no plan, no home, and now no warm clothes or money to replace the ones I’d had stolen.
It was at this point in my life that I asked, what would I do if I had a million in the bank...
My answers were something like.
- Become a highly skilled paraglider
- Share my love and concern for the natural world
- Inspire a generation to unleash their adventurous/entrepreneurial spirit
- Pass on my two cents
You don't need a million to do that...
Crowdfunding to take on the Tian-shan
This is when I came up with the idea to crowdfund an expedition… I had about a grand in the bank. No experience with crowdfunding. No credibility as an adventurer, and no budget for a crowdfunding video…
Mum had thought I’d gone mad!
But the idea of doing something that could inspire others to push personal boundaries was just too attractive so I got to work.
The crowdfunding didn't raise enough to fully fund a Tian-shan project. But as skills developed and the money ran out, Mark Baldwin and I ended up getting stuck on this mountain... looking for a launch we’d spotted on Google maps.
Unfortunately, after hours of walking, we arrived only to find that our launch was not even sloped the right direction!
Both of us now stuck on this ridge somewhere in the Spanish Pyrenees, quickly running out of daylight, we ended up finding a scary steep rocky slope.
This was it. One shot to get airborne. Otherwise, we’d be caught by a storm that was just one day behind us. Did it work…?
Unleash Your Adventure
One day before reaching the tallest peak in the Pyrenees for the trailer above, I had to cut the trip short, as it dawned on me that I'd gone broke...
Thanks to the early backers, I'd been able become a much better pilot, but with no money to continue training. I was defeated and still had to make a living. To hit rock bottom after having been flying so high...
But I kept flying! One thermal to another... and with every free ride that mother nature gave me to cloud base, I couldn't help but smile with joy as I occasionally had to shout to avoid collision with vultures.
Out of those moments of ecstasy, I found a little hope. My mindset went from, oh no, I can't do because... to I'm going back... deeper, further, and for longer!
To get you closer to the action, I've started Adventures Unbound
Adventures Unbound Presents – Reaching the lost mountain
In June 2017, along with Mark Baldwin and Fons de Leewe, we will attempt a coast to coast Pyrenees crossing–powered only by the elements.
From the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean sea, We will navigate through epic peaks, confront demanding flying, loaded hikes, and wild camp deeper than any of us have ever gone before.
Why just read about old adventures, when you can nudge new ones into existence...
You see, there's something about the mountain and the great outdoors that has you coming back. We all have our limits... and everyone's definition of an adventure is unique, but life isn't special without challenge. It's incomplete without pain. Dull without time away from your safe places.
Sure you can always give up when the going gets tough.
Or you can...
If you're all about the natural world and pushing personal boundaries, and would like to support Adventures Unbound's next video, order an Unleash Your Adventure Hoodie today!
Save 20% with the Agile Existence promo by following this link. (if it doesn't work, copy paste ?pr=AgileE to the end of the item URL)
Thank you for reading.
PS: If hoodies are'nt your thing, you can show your support inviting me to coffee, or by donating some Bitcoin. (1MXD5f2xv653H7FJZjwQTwiZMVrWdyj9zS)