Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Interview Tuesday: The Young Adventurers Club

Hello to all! Apologies for the lack of posting over the last few days; the Track World Cup Classics were incredible; well done to Team GB for doing so well! Today's interview is with Jaime and Andy from the Young Adventurers Club; two British guys with a passion for adventure who want to spread the word, encourage others and pursue a life of adventure like me! I recently did an interview for the guys (Tom Evans interview). Enjoy the interview and please check out their site and show them support.

Why did you start the Young Adventurers Club?

Well Tom, whilst at university we both (Jaime and Andy) rapidly developed an urge for adventure and once we began researching what was out there we soon realised you have to trawl through quite a lot of sites which offer you the pre-packaged adventures which you can end up paying the earth for. A lot of these companies are good, do what they do very well and suit the majority of people but we were after something a bit more raw, back to basics and gritty (probably primarily because we were/are always skint)! After a lot of trawling we did end up coming across a lot of really good stuff dotted about, perfect for our needs. However, we decided that it would be nice to have a resource which put all of these in one place. If you see the ‘Y.A.C. likes’ page on our website you’ll find at least an attempted start at this. We also knew that we couldn’t have been the only ones feeling like this and so hoped it would put us in contact with some other like minded youngsters up for a challenge.

How did your lives in adventure begin, where did you start?

We grew up in the same town together nicely surrounded by greenery, parks and stuff to keep us active. Our town boasted quite a nice homemade BMX track and I think spending holidays messing about down there certainly instilled something. We both ended up at Oxford Brookes by chance and were never inactive; Andy rows, cycles and dabbles in anything else, Jaime enjoys rugby, swimming and everything else. We lived together in our final year and would often wake up and feel like doing something ‘a bit different’. We challenged ourselves to walk as far as we could see one Saturday and came home blistered, knackered but content at having earned our night out! Soon after graduating we jumped in Andy’s Corsa van and drove to Ben Nevis to start the Three Peaks Challenge. That was us sold...

The Big Five; what is it?

The Big Five was an idea we had once deciding to take this adventure stuff a bit more actively. The idea was simply to set ourselves 5 big challenges, taking in as many different ways to adventure as possible. Hopefully by planning and achieving each one we’ll come out in a position where we’re able to pass on a bit of advice but also very satisfied with ourselves. They may take us a while to complete, they may even change but setting ourselves a few big things to do before we get old seems to be one way to avoid looking back with regrets!

We’ve done the first challenge which saw us do the three peaks but by cycling in between the mountains (you can read about it on our site). We also aim to: kayak as far as we can in a week, run 5 marathons in 5 days in 5 countries, swim the Channel (Jaime)/cycle a great distance (Andy) and get a proper cross-country ski under our belts. We know each one will be a big learning curve but learning on the job is easily the best way, hopefully we can get a few others involved in each to spur us along as well.

What are your dream adventures or challenges; any big mountains to climb?

Jaime’s has always been to swim the English Channel. Andy’s changes on a weekly basis but walking to a pole or rowing an ocean are pretty high up the list. Ultimately we just want to have fun and live fast while we can. If we get a few others opening their eyes to the world, and realising the human body’s physical capabilities go far beyond sitting in front of the telly after work, then we’d be content.

The YAC: Jaime and Andy

You regularly write book reviews; what are your favourite adventure/sporting books?

It really is one genre of literature where you can become gripped quite easily. There are some absolutely epic real-life tales which have been put down on paper, it almost seems unnecessary to read fiction! ‘Touching the Void’ and ‘Into the Wild’ are two classics and a good place to start if you want to try some adventuresome reading. But also beyond this, there is a lot of fun to be had, ‘One Red Paperclip’ for example – the tale of the guy who through swapping items went from a paperclip to a house- again entirely real-life.

Andy prefers the doing to the reading but certainly likes hearing about people and adventures. He’d put Sir Ranulph Fiennes amongst his favourites to read about and any of his autobiographies give a pretty honest account of what it must be like to be at the pinnacle of his field. Having studied psychology and enjoying jungle/rainforests with a passion, Jaime is a massive Benedict Allen fan, there’s no better explorer who discovers both people and places of interest, all with the back to basics ethos we admire. Our friend Dan Gallacher contributes a lot to this section as well and always recommends some crackers.

What's your aim with the YAC; will there be members like a standard club? Where will you go from here?

That has been the plan all along, currently we’re just trying to make the website as useful as possible. Primarily increase the readership whilst taking advantage of it being a nice small, personal group. We’ve made a few valuable contacts already (including yourself) who will certainly become members in the traditional sense or on a more personal level. Once we’ve got a few more adventures under our belt with a few more people then you’ll hear us boasting about the ‘club’. We’re always happy to receive emails and whilst we would never say we have all the answers, our enthusiasm for adventure goes along way.

Ideally would you like to be able to live off adventure and be a 'professional'?

Ideally, yes. But we’re also realists and it may take a while for that to happen, if at all. It would be an absolute delight to wake up every morning and think about adventure (even the admin side of things would feel less tedious than other jobs) but even if we just use adventure to break up the routine of 9-5 living then we shan’t complain too much (except for the first few weeks after finishing one challenge, and the few weeks before the next one!). It’s all too easy not to appreciate what you have, happiness is the main thing. Deep.

What's your message to budding adventurers out there?

Three words “GET. OUT. THERE!” You rarely find someone who regrets it afterwards having taken a leap into an adventure- even if it’s only a day spent at Go Ape! It’s also worth mentioning that there are a million different ways to find adventure, climbing Everest doesn’t suit everyone so perhaps a spot of Help Exchanging (helpx.com) on a remote island (I should be on commission the amount of times I recommend them. Want a free holiday? They are the best solution I’ve found to date). If you’re sceptical about ‘getting out there’ then get in touch, we enjoy discussing things through.

Thanks to the Young Adventurers Club for doing the interview; good luck with the club and your adventurers. I hope everyone has enjoyed the interview; please check out their site - it's growing all the time and has some great content. If you want to be interviewed please let me know! Enjoy!

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