“That Cornthwaite man is covered in egg!” A little cameo appearance alongside Seb ‘100 Things‘ Terry on Australia’s version of Loose Women, ‘The Circle’
Had I set myself some resolutions during our most recent turning-of-the-years, I probably would have encouraged myself to blog more. Luckily, for the past couple of years I’ve adopted a policy of setting myself Daily Resolutions, annual ones were just there to break and feel guilty about.
Strangely - and notably ignoring the word ‘resolution’ - I have set some personal targets this year, and one of them is to get on with the writing. With one book nearly finished and hanging around like stale perfume (it’s about dating, a lot of dating) and another in the pipeline (it’s about an irrigation channel called the Murray River), 2010 promises a great deal on the book front.
Of course, for those of you who followed Year 1 of The Great Big Paddle, you’ll know that I have some more water journeys around the corner, with a Stand Up Paddle Board firmly in the thick of things. Whether I’ll embark on an enormous expedition this year is still up in the air, but the promise of travelling several thousand miles on a SUP board delivers excited chills into my holiday-weary shoulders - ’tis the electricity of certainty, a familiar energy recognised by those who endeavour to go far.
And it is those who enjoy lofty targets who have influenced my most recent project, DreamChase. Last year I was fortunate enough to engage with a few people who have achieved monumental things in their short lives. Both Sarah Outen and Dan Martin instantly jump to mind, and not because we all went to the very same Stamford School in Lincolnshire (what they fed us there is yet to be understood).
Last year Sarah spent 124 days at sea, becoming the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean and the youngest person to accomplish that particular feat. She also happens to be the youngest woman to ever cross an ocean solo, so the scent of a new Outen journey looms thick in the air - I cannot wait to hear what she’s getting up to over the next couple of years. Dan Martin, meanwhile, has left us in no doubt as to what he’s about to attempt. Until now Dan has ventured afar on his bike, pedalling over 55,000km in two journeys, from London to Cape Town, and then along the Axis of Evil, from South Korea to Cape Town. It sounds almost futile to even talk about the subsequent cycle across Europe and Asia and then a run across North America when the first leg of Dan’s upcoming Global Triathalon is a 5700km swim across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to Brest, in France.
Over the past few years I’ve given hundreds of talks about my own adventures and the concept of exploration and chasing dreams, realising along the way that the importance of introducing belief and self-confidence to our younger generations is imperative at a time when hope is a dwindling entity. DreamChase is a multi-faceted idea, but at its foundation is a desire to create a network of inspirational people, and spread that combination of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm as wide as possible. We’ll be working with all kinds of people who have a common link: they’re all achievers, live with positivity and aren’t afraid to buck the general trend to achieve their dreams. We’ll be marketing projects, organising expeditions and developing the public profiles of adventurers and explorers, musicians, talented filmmakers and editors and other interesting characters, and DreamChase will also support charitable fundraising efforts - usually journeys but sometimes unique and interesting projects. It’s going to be an exciting year for everyone involved, so please take a look at www.dreamchase.co.uk, and if you’re on Facebook, please join our group, too.
Finally, in alliance with DreamChase, if one of your new year’s resolutions was to raise money for charity, then maybe you’d like to do something for the AV Foundation? I support AV’s work with my Great Big Paddle project and it’s also DreamChase’s charity of choice - if you decide to fundraise for the AV Foundation we’ll help you publicise your event and will even design you a website to make sure it’s as successful as possible, completely free of charge. What are you waiting for?!