Updated: Dec 22, 2019
I'm Chris, founder of Adventure Breaks!
I thought a good way to introduce myself would be to put together an 'adventure timeline'. It includes some of my greatest successes and failures as an adventure seeker, some of which I'm quite proud of!
Got questions about something adventure related? Interested in hearing more? Get in touch via our 'Contact' page and we can look at doing a blog post on that in the future.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my timeline!
Aged 6 (ish) - Camping with my sisters in the back garden when we were kids. The tent was given to us by my mum’s friend, and my mum patched it up with a pair of my jeans, which became denim shorts during this process. We tried to camp a couple of times but only slept out once. The first time the cat was jumping on the guy ropes and spooked us so we went inside to bed instead.
Aged 11 – We moved to the Middle East when I was nine, and after a few years we were going camping regularly. We would meet other families in 4x4s ‘under the tree’ next to the petrol station and travel in convoy down the coast, with vehicles full of camping gear, spare tyres and cool-boxes of cold and frozen drinks. We’d drive along gravel roads (or sometimes through the desert sands) and would camp on white sand beaches. I used to get so excited about these trips, and I still get that same feeling today when packing my backpack for an adventure.
Aged 11 - Qualified as a PADI Junior Open Water Diver. Subsequently went on to complete around 35 dives over the next two years.
Aged 12 (ish) - Swam 4.2km in open sea in the annual 'Al-Fahal Island Swim'; swimming from the island back to shore.
Aged 14 (ish) – At school in England we did some camping under the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. I don't remember what month it was but we woke up with the tent frozen and by the time we walked back to school I had hypothermia. I was put in a warm bath (NB: this is not the recommended way to be warmed up if you do have hypothermia, better to do so slowly). I still have a very good friend from school that I do a lot of my adventures with – if you don’t have any adventure buddies I would recommend booking yourself onto an Adventure Break to find some!
Aged 18 – Bought a motorbike.
Aged 19 – Had motorbike stolen.
Aged 19 – Qualified as a Beach Lifeguard whilst working in Cornwall at a surf-hire shop. Did some surfing and body-boarding.
Aged 20 – Spent a month volunteering in Durban, South Africa, at an AIDS orphanage and visiting an AIDS hospice. I was the only person not requiring hospital treatment after our minibus driver fell asleep on the motorway and we crashed into a truck.
Aged 21 - Drove a 4x4 through 20 countries in 15 days with my Dad. I flew out to Oman, organised all the visas (with help from my mum) and some vehicle spares. I even improvised some curtains for the car. We then drove back to the UK, and saw some amazing places including Petra and the Dead Sea in Jordan, Jerusalem in Israel, Palmyra in Syria (which has been subsequently destroyed by war, as can be seen here) and Venice in Italy. Through Saudi we followed the TAP (Trans-Arabian Pipeline) road in 2 hour shifts at the wheel for days in a straight line.
Aged 22 – Jumped out of a plane all by myself (did a course as a static-line parachuting qualification before-hand).
Aged 23 – Bought another motorbike.
Aged 23 – Crashed motorbike, broke 5 bones. Sold motorbike during 4 months off work following accident. Started planning a motorbike trip through Africa in my time off.
Aged 24 – Bought a motorbike for my Africa adventure. You can read more about it here.
Aged 25 – Arrived safely at Cape Agulhas, the Southern-most tip of Africa, after a 5 month ride from the UK to South Africa, travelling through 25 countries on my CCM motorbike. The photo below is about 24 hours before I nearly killed myself entering the Congo (I'm on the right as you look at the photo, these are two of three South Africans I met by the roadside the day before the photo was taken). Most of the people I met were friendly, interested and hospitable but there were also some other dangerous and scary moments. Some of the countries I rode through included Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, DRC, Congo and Angola. You can hear more of these stories where I was interviewing in this podcast.
Aged 25 – Bungee jumped at Victoria Falls.
Aged 25 – Moved to Scotland and started paying off my Africa trip! Lots of time for Scottish adventures in the years that followed including canoeing the Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness with my friend Sam, canoed Loch Awe with my friend Stu from school, kayaking around Raasay and Rona (Scottish islands off the coast of Skye - including playing with a Minke Whale for half an hour) with Stu, kayaked around Coll and Tiree (more Scottish islands) with Stu and Noel whilst the Scottish Independence Referendum was taking place, hiked Munros with my friend Nat, hiked the West Highland Way with Stu and Tom, as well as various other bits of mountain biking, camping etc. Noel made a two minute video of our Coll and Tiree trip which you can watch below.
Aged 28 (ish) - Cycled from London to Paris in a charity event. The next year cycled from Inverness to Glasgow (my two fellow cyclists on this jumped on a train to skip some of a hilly 92 mile day in the rain but I decided to keep cycling so the left me changing a flat tyre in the rain!).
Aged 32 – Quit my job to get some adventures in. Went to Iceland for a friend’s wedding, went to Egypt for a week with my sister (the hotel had a water park!), spent 6 weeks riding a motorbike to Greece, worked as a mountain bike guide in Greece for 2 months. Visited Santorini with my motorbike (very romantic), spent 3 weeks riding back from Greece, went on a month long hike called the John Muir Trail in California – starting in Yosemite including going up Half Dome (which is likely to be a screensaver or background for you if you have an Apple Mac) and finishing at the top of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous United States (ie excluding Alaska and Hawaii) at 14,500 ft / 4,500m. Went camping in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland with my KTM motorbike that attempted to attack me during the night - I woke up in the morning to find it had toppled towards the tent. Also went sliding along a CalMac ferry with my bike alongside me on this trip - quite embarrassing but minimal damage to bike, ferry or human.
Aged 33 – Moved to London. Spend a lot of weekends finding adventures outside of London, typically by jumping on a train at Euston at 17:30 on a Friday and heading to the North West of England.
Aged 33 – Bought touring bike for possible bike touring adventures. Bike was destroyed by a Porsche Cayenne less than a week after purchased (insurance claim ongoing!). Stopped cycling in London.
Aged 34 (ish) - Took a long weekend, flew as far north in Norway as we could in a direct flight from London, camped in the snow and dug a snow hole. This is Stu making a cup of tea on our snowbench:
Aged 34 - Kayaked and camped around an archipelago in Finland for a week with 3 friends.
Aged 34 - Gained a sailing qualification (RYA Day Skipper) in Gibraltar.
Aged 35 – Watched one of the most beautiful (and emotional!) sunrises I’ve ever seen from 20 meters below the ridge on Mount Kilimanjaro. My grandad died a few days before I was due to leave for this adventure and my mum told me to go and climb the mountain for my grandad. On summit day we set off in the dark, and as we approached the ridge the sun came up. We stopped and watched for a few minutes and I had a few tears running down my face. You can’t see that in this photo!
I was smiling again half an hour later when we got to the summit.
Aged 36 – Moved from London to North West England (edge of the Lake District).
Aged 36 - Hiked the Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland.
Aged 36 – Started Adventure Breaks. Adventure Breaks was founded to bring people together through the outdoors. As you may know, Adventure Breaks are solo-friendly adventure weekends. The idea is to offer a wide variety of adventures that will keep guests coming back for more. You'll see me at most of the events - as host or just coming along to say hello and see how things are going, any excuse for an adventure!
I hope that gives you a bit more of an idea of how adventure has always been important in my life. I know I've been lucky to have had some amazing experiences and to have met interesting people living different lives.
Are you looking for a way to have more adventures? I can't recommend camping highly enough! Camping is very pleasant and 'good for the soul' when done properly. It has also facilitated most of my adventures as it gives you flexibility (for where to stop and sleep). It is also a relatively inexpensive way to make an adventure happen. I calculate I've spent around 1.5 years of my life sleeping in tents, including living on campsites for a few summers in Cornwall as a teenager (2 x 4 months), camping all through Africa on my motorbike trip (5 months), riding to Greece and back (2 months), hiking the John Muir Trail in the US (3 weeks), hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland (2.5 weeks) and on the various hiking, canoeing and kayaking trips mentioned above. If you're interested in camping but don't have the gear, knowledge, confidence or maybe just like-minded people to go with, check out the Camping for Beginners event for the first May Bank Holiday 2020.
Would you like to know more? Got questions? Get in touch - we may do a new post for you if you want to know more about a particular adventure. Or come and chat, you can find me at most Adventure Break events!
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