This week we have a guest blog from James and Tom, A.K.A The Tempest Two, a couple of normal blokes who just happen to do extraordinary things.
Before we can discuss how to best plan for an adventure, it is first important to define what adventure is. For us, adventure need not mean a death-defying exhibition up a mountain, across and ocean or to a pole. Instead, it is something that takes you outside your comfort zone, and makes you positively question your own boundaries. With this in mind, the shape, size and format of adventure is infinite - it is down to you and you alone.
The following three steps, will hopefully allow you to plan and prepare for your next adventure, big or small:
Surround yourself with the best
The people you surround yourself with in life, are vital to your success and overall happiness. This is no different when applied to adventure. If you are taking on a challenge which you know will push you to your limits, then you want to be accompanied by people you trust and respect. The elation of reaching a summit can be soured by the wrong people around you.
When we took on The Atlantic, we were told by numerous people we would fall out, and ultimately hate each other before we reached the other-side. Being in a confined space for 54 days with anyone was going to be tough, but we proved the theory wrong and never once fell out. The reason for this? Because we both had the same goal (which was enjoyment, not world-records), had respect for one-another, and made it our goal to look after the other person. When this is all aligned, the enjoyment of a trip increases dramatically.
So before you start your planning, firstly decide on if you are going solo, or in a team. If the latter, choose the people wisely, as it will ultimately effect the success of your adventure.
Become a sponge
Knowledge is everything, so become a sponge and absorb it. Unless you are a seasoned explorer (in which case, you are unlikely to be reading this!) then there will be people out there you can learn from. Do the research, and figure out who is best placed to give advice on your selected discipline. If you are running an ultra, then find the an endurance veteran, read their books/blogs and send them an email, you will be surprised at how willing these people are to give you information, they may seem like super-humans, but they were exactly where you were at some point. The information you will gain is invaluable, and often you will learn things you never thought existed. It could be the best route to take, how much you should pack, or even what material pants to wear!
Prepare to succeed
Training: Know what you want to achieve, and prepare to do so. If you adventure is physically demanding, then train to succeed. Not being fit enough is never an excuse, and the worst position to be in is at the back of the pack, slowing others down.
Equipment: Knowing what equipment you need, and how to use it is of crucial importance. A common mistake in planning, is packing poorly. A heavy pack will take its toll, so be meticulous in the kit you bring, and make sure you are familiar with it all.
Nutrition: Every adventure requires fuel, and not taking this seriously can have serious consequences. We found this out the hard way, and during a training climb at altitude in the alps, we left our lunch back in the cabin. We laughed at first, but on the way down the weather closed in, and we both hit-a-wall that was hard to overcome. Our tanks were empty, we became lethargic and clumsy, and ultimately we put ourselves at risk. We learnt from this, so choose your menu wisely! Make sure you have a good mix of carbs, proteins and sugars, as well as plenty of water. If we are on a long-trip, we will often take freeze-dried food, plenty of dried fruit and nuts, and perhaps a Fori bar or two! Its important also to take some variety, as food can act a huge morale booster, you should pack stuff you look forward to eating, not that you simply have to eat.
These three points should help you plan for a successful adventure, they are things we have learnt along the way, and now apply religiously. By following this process, you can achieve that goal you have been putting off for years. Drop the excuses, belief in your own ability, and go for it!