It’s actually really tough to write about myself, but here goes. I’m a regular guy living in Calgary Canada. I’m currently the founder of 10Adventures.com, we’re making it easier to explore the outdoors, by providing great, free tools to DIY your next adventure, and also allowing users to book trips directly on our site.
In my free time, I like to be outdoors, especially on family adventures.
To share a bit more, here are 20 questions:
Where do you live?
I’m currently based in Calgary, Canada. I grew up here, but never thought I’d live here as an adult. After stints in Montreal, Buenos Aires and two stints in the UK, Calgary seemed very boring. But as a parent, it’s a wonderful place to live, with good schools, lots of outdoor space and only an hour from the Canadian Rockies.
What do you like to do?
I like to be challenged. One classmate once said to me “you like to think of things you don’t think you can do, and then go and do them”. I think that’s a good description of me. I like to try and do things I don’t think I can do.
On a more pragmatic answer to the question, I love to hike, bike, backpack and ski. It’s the best fun when done with people I love.
What’s your favourite book?
I love reading, and my life and how I think has definitely been changed from reading. I think reading allows you to see other parts of the world, and other people’s life. For me this has created empathy around the challenges people this world face.
For my favourite book, this one is easy, it’s The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham. I’ve been a huge Maugham fan since university, and I first read this book in a 30 hour period, almost staying up all night it was so good. I’ve shared this book with quite a few people, but I don’t think the message resonates with others as much as myself. For me, the book says “Find the path that is right for you”.
Where do you want to go on holiday next?
Well, I’m writing this during Covid-19, so our adventures are all fairly local. I’m really excited to go backpacking with my young family this summer in the Rockies, and we have three trips booked. This will be incredible. Once Covid-19 is resolved, we dream of a walking holiday in Europe, vagabonding in South America and eventually heading back to marvel at the culture, history and beauty of SE Asia.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever done?
This is another easy one. In 2009 my wife and I walked about 700km on the GR5, from Lake Leman in Switzerland to the Mediterranean Sea. We raised money for Room to Read to build schools in Nepal.
The reason this trip was great is partly because it’s a stunning walk in the alps, but bigger than that I was the type of person who didn’t accept much help, and on this trip both my wife and I were vulnerable, having days that were really tough. It turned out that my wife carried us through some days, and it was amazing to not feel like I always had to be strong, but be able to accept help. Our relationship was strong before, but even stronger afterwards, and remains a true partnership to this day.
Who or What inspires you?
Anybody who has decided to pursue their dream is an inspiration. One thing I love about working in the adventure industry is that almost everybody I meet is inspiring, living a life that is authentic to them, and celebrating a life where they can spend a lot of time having fun outdoors.
What is an experience that has impacted you?
I have always felt I’ve explored the world and people via reading. Reading has been great to help me understand how other people live, and understanding the challenges they face, and just how easy my life has been being born healthy and smart enough, in a country that is wealthy enough to take care of our citizens.
But my biggest gut check was in South Africa. I had wandered into a robbery of a bar, with seven gunmen holding up the entire bar. At the end of it I was pretty shaken, walking in on a robbery is pretty frightening. Some of the my friends at the time were really angry, but I was just scared. The next day I picked up a newspaper, and an article from a teenager was about how he didn’t want to live by crime, but he had no parents and two siblings to take care of. He had no job, and no prospect of a job, and he was mugging people to keep what was left of his family alive. All he wanted was a job so he wouldn’t have to keep mugging people to stay alive.
This hit me really hard. All he wanted was a job. He wasn’t bad, he was just trying to keep the people he cared about most alive.
What is something that is under-rated?
Coffee. It’s incredible how often I am in bed and go to my wife “I can’t wait to wake up and have some coffee!”.
What’s is something that is over-rated?
Social Media. For the most part, I just don’t get why it’s so popular. The exception for me is Twitter, which allows me to hear what interesting people are thinking in real time.
What is something people may not know about you?
I have pretty significant social anxiety, but it manifests itself in very unique ways. I’m totally comfortable presenting to 400 people, but the thought of going to an event with lots of mingling terrifies me. I’ve been told that I come across as distant when meeting new people, however the truth is I’m just really anxious around people I don’t know well, and it’s hard to relax.
I’ve found ways to handle social anxiety, and it’s putting myself in positions to succeed. I am very comfortable with structured social situations, and going for a meal with a small group, or a business meeting is very comfortable. I limit social situations where I have to mingle, and if I do go, I make a couple of rounds and perhaps even say “Hi” to somebody, then go home.
What’s your favourite song?
Wow, that is nearly impossible. I get a kick out of listening to Desert Island Discs, a BBC4 show that brings in people who have lead a public life and allows them to tell their life story with music. It is tremendously fascinating, not only for how different all our lives are, but with people’s music choice.
If I was on Desert Island Discs, my songs would be (in no particular order):
Cat Stevens – Father and Son
Bob Dylan – If you see Her, Say Hello
Cowboy Junkies – Powderfinger
Sigor Ros – Staralfur
Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
I feel like I’ve left out about 1000 incredible songs.