The Fog

It’s incredibly foggy today. Not ‘weather-foggy’ but politically foggy. As individuals in the modern world we are weighed down by unnecessary things. Social media, political issues, media, public transport, schedules, meetings etc.

I say this today because today we all woke up with an uncertain future. As we watch what is happening in the states, we feel helpless and disappointed with the choices of some and the fog in our heads gets thicker.

Going on expeditions clears that fog. All that useless worrying doesn’t matter when you’re out in the wild. To be honest, it doesn’t do a lot of good worrying when in civilisation either.

Now I have my concerns for the future, one of my biggest is the fear of stepping backwards with our progress in tackling climate change and embracing electric cars, (three hip- hip hoorays for Elon Musk) green energy like solar (again, Horray Musk) and educating people about it. However worrying won’t help me, it’s all about actions now. So I urge you to be rational and problem solve the things you are worrying about and to not let the modern day fog get in the way of the things that matter. Get outside into the hills and the mind will be foggy no more.\

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The Million Dollar Question

HOW DO YOU AFFORD ALL OF THESE ADVENTURES?

Expeditions do not have to cost a lot of money. We now live in a world where the cost of a flight is very reasonable and the internet opens doors for numerous ways of fundraising.

Okay I’m not in denial, the larger expeditions do cost a lot. Anywhere like the Arctic or high altitude mountains require an awful lot of kit and some pricey insurance. These take time to save and fundraise but it is, just like everything else, all possible if you want it bad enough. There’s crowdfunding and trusts that can all help get you the pennies for the bigger trips.

So excluding those kind of adventures, the others can be done on just a few hundred quid. I’ve recently found myself going on adventures with a smaller price tag whilst I save and plan for the bigger ones.

In the last 18 months, the cheap adventures I have been on are as follows: Walking across Spain (on my own route, not the camino), trekking in Scotland (45 miles per day!), the GR20; the long distance scramble across the whole of Corsica and finally, and epic adventure in Iceland.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to have some great adventures. Nor does it take a lot of time for some. I am very aware that with a full time job and a family, it’s not as easy to get out for months at a time. However, for a dose of the outside, a 40 minute train ride out of London and you’re out of the city and into the countryside. Take along some mates,  a sleeping and a bivvy bag, a field somewhere and you’re set for a night in the semi-wild! Alastair Humphreys is the expert on Micro Adventures. See what he has to say on these type of adventures here

What I’m talking about is somewhere in-between a micro adventure and an epic long haul expedition.

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Getting there

Living in the UK means we have easy access to the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Atlas mountains. So that’s cheap transport covered.

Food

Next is food. Planning is the best way to make food on adventures as cheap as possible. See if there are cheap supermarkets where you begin your adventure or take it with you in the first place.

Route

Research, learn and apply. The great thing about having experience and knowledge of the wilderness is that you  don’t need to pay for guides. Obviously this can’t always be the case for safety reasons but when you are able to guide yourself or go with friends who are more experienced than you, it’ll save heaps of cash.

Kit

Warmer destinations require less specialised kit. I have to admit I’ve accumulated kit for a huge range of adventures now but admittedly it has taken years.

I’ve got a low cost but exciting and wild adventure planned very soon. Flights were £50 return, I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before and spending a lot of time planning and researching the area to get the most out of the environment I’m heading to.

The hardest thing is always deciding where you’re heading and then committing. Commit and you’ve already begun your journey!

Gear that works

Don’t you just love it when your outdoor gear simply works? I do.

The Patagonia Expedition Race and my adventures after the race in South America put me in some of the toughest conditions for outdoor kit.

Unlike the pristine Arctic wilderness where the snow keeps kit clean and the dry air prevents things from disintegrating, the Patagonian wilderness is primarily damp, cold and windy. The weather can turn from beautiful sunshine to the most ferocious storm imaginable. Gear is vital here and with a good tent, a good stove and a good sleeping bag, you can’t go too far wrong.

Continue reading “Gear that works”

Winding Down

I am currently sat at the kitchen table in my childhood Suffolk home. It would be easy for one to think that I’ve come home for the weekend from London to pop in for some home cooking and a log fire as a break from the city.  However this would be wrong.

I haven’t been in London, nor Suffolk, for two months.

What an adventure I’ve had. In early February, the team and I headed out to Chilean Patagonia for what I now know for sure, is the toughest endurance race in the world.

After the race, Tim and I stayed on. We had another six weeks worth of expeditions from high altitude mountains in Argentina to huge icebergs in the wilderness of Patagonia. We witnessed first hand some of the effects that climate change is having on the landscape of Chile and Argentina. When we returned to internet land, we were all to happy to hear how well Elon Musk’s sustainable companies (and SpaceX!) like Tesla and SolarCity are doing.

I am struggling to wind down from all of the excitement and I’ll have to make sure I keep myself busy so not to fall into PED (Post Expedition Depression – a horrible mindset to be in!)

I have many stories to tell but for now, I stare at a mountain of kit to be sorted and hours of washing to be done. Here’s a few pictures from the trip as a taster of what’s to come.

Scared of failure

I am downright terrified. It’s now less than two weeks until I fly out to do the Patagonia Expedition Race and I can’t quite come to terms with it.

It’s not the race I’m nervous about. No, it’s the possibility of failure, of letting my team mates down, of not going fast enough to make the check point times.

I know I can do it, I can go on and on in pain and suffering but it’s whether I can do that at a pace that will get us through each round. My team are incredible and I feel honoured to have them but I do feel a huge responsibility to go much faster than my legs would like. They all seem to have an immunity when it comes to speed and endurance that I so envy.

To be honest, I’d be happy to go faster but lately, especially on the bike, I reach a point on hills where I simply cannot get the bike to move any quicker as my thighs burn to the point of exhaustion. All I can hope for is that as long as I push through, we will make the time and complete the race. My gosh, I want to complete it. All I can do is try my very best and believe in my mind as much as possible that finishing will happen and that I will achieve the impossible.

A more upbeat blog will come shortly, I just needed a little panic time.

An adventurous year

2015 is over and we are well into the epic year that is 2016.

I thought I’d take a look back at 2015 with all of its highs and its lows. And although it went like the clappers, I managed to fit rather a lot in.

Fairly well into the start of 2015, my world crashed down on me a little. Relationship status changed/crashed and burned and job contracts came to their end. However, all of this, which at the time seemed like the doom of all dooms, worked out to be the very best thing that could have happened to me.

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Sadness! (It wasn’t all that bad. It was midnight, -20 and I was on my way up to the summit of a 6000m mountain! Bolivia .2013)

If I hadn’t have had those gloomy days, I don’t think I would have been so in search of adventure and, dare I say it, ‘finding myself’ and remembering what makes me happy again. Sorry that’s cheese but true.

So there I was, feeling a little sorry for myself when I decided to grab my laptop and have a Google  of what possible expeditions I could do in Patagonia. Continue reading “An adventurous year”

The Trials and Tribulations of planning a trip

Last night I had a dream that I was with Ranulph Fiennes having a long chat about what a mission in itself planning an expedition is. This chat I had with him in my dream, isn’t that far fetched from when I met him the other day. Within a few short seconds of meeting Ran (in real life) he was giving me advice on life in general  and also expeditions.

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If Ran still finds planning an expedition hard work even after all these years, I thought it would be something to make a point of here in this blog. Continue reading “The Trials and Tribulations of planning a trip”