The Newest Why: Why I need to do a nearly 2,000km triathlon.
Yeah it’s a really tacky tattoo, but I’ve had that bad boy on me for a while now, and somehow it still resonates.
So I tried, really hard, to have a slightly easier summer. Maybe spend more time in a bed and less time in a tent. More time relaxing and less time on my feet. I tried really really hard. I was going to go to Chile, which wasn’t go to be the easiest summer, not by a long shot, but it was going to be more ‘relaxing’ than the last two. Okay, I was going to be in Chile with my ex, still not the easiest thing but it seemed worth a shot. Rather devastatingly I’ve recently been forced to put Chile on hold, I need to be closer to home this summer, not statistically the hardest place to fly to in the world.
I’ve been accused of running away from things a few times, you know, off travelling, and then deciding on top of that to live in a tent alone on the Australian coast for 2 months. Then immediately making sure I’ll spend another summer in a tent, this time on mountains and with friends. Part of me wants to prove everyone wrong and spend summer at home, chilling, drinking beers and spending time with those close to me. But this overwhelming part of me can’t have that. Some call it the travel bug, that once you catch, you can’t get rid of it. Others call it an addiction, you destroy your savings, relationships and often health in the pursuit of adventure. Either way the question of Why has been bugging me for a while (see my first ever diary entry on my first ever adventure). George Mallory (one of the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest) explains it quite beautifully:
“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this: What is the use of climbing Mt. Everest? And my answer must at once be, it is no use. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation, but otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, and not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. So it is no use. If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy, and joy, after all, is the end of life. We don’t live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means, and that is what life is for.”
But even that doesn’t seem to cut it for me. Yes ‘there is sheer joy’ and no I’ve never bought back gold or or found new lands. I mean quite honestly anything I’ve done is ridiculously tame in comparison to Hillary, or even modern adventurers like Ben Saunders, Dave Cornthwaite and the hundreds more who have really pushed the boat out when it comes to adventure. But still, I feel there’s a legitimate and worthwhile answer to the question Why?
I think that answer is: Because I can. I have legs and arms that work, I live in a part of the world where I can move about so easily, and I live in a time where nature is still out there. I can afford to take two months out of each university year to do what I want with it -many who say otherwise are mostly lying and spend too much time in clubs- and most of all I know that wherever I go I’ll gain something from it, be it only memories, or a newfound sense of understanding of the world. There is something to be gained from every adventure.
So let me introduce my newest adventure! That hastily planned, last minute and probably quite stupid: Euro Triathlon!
In June I plan to plop myself on the Neretva River in Bosnia, where I shall Stand Up Paddle board for the first time! 225km and 2 weeks later I’ll reach the Mediterranean coast in Croatia, where I’m going to collect a bike, saddle up and cycle my way 1,200km through Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, over the Alps and into Switzerland. Once at Zermatt I’m going to chain the bike up and go on a 10 day, 140km tour of the Matterhorn. From there I’ll probably go home to enjoy the last of the summer beers in the park and show of my newest t-shirt-tan.
More importantly, I’m raising money for Anthony Nolan, a charity that works to help people with Blood Cancer, a ridiculously worthy cause, who deserve every penny my hard earned miles can get them and more! And there is more, as part of the LeftRight Repeat 2016 team, Rory is tackling the GR20, Europe’s hardest walking trail, and is also raising money for Anthony Nolan.