Meet Dave Cornthwaite!
Dave is a British adventurer, author, film maker, inspirer and all-round epically great guy. He quit his job as a graphic designer in 2005 to embrace a more adventurous life. Since then he has completed 11 non-motorised journeys, including skateboarding across Australia and swimming the Lower Missouri. He has written three books, broken nine world records and founded The YesTribe and the Say Yes More movement. Dave has just started his 12th non-motorised journey #ScootJapan, which will see him scoot a 1000-mile loop of Honshu and Shikoku.
Here I interview the legend.
What was the impetus behind changing the direction of your life?
I was so bored and unimpressive in my early twenties, yet on paper I’d got everything every school kid is told makes up a successful life. Job, partner, house, pet. I couldn’t see much beyond that Sunday fear of dreading the next day of work. Then, I woke up on the morning of my 25th birthday and decided I didn’t want to live this easy, miserable life and not do anything of note so I started saying yes to random things, and eventually found myself on a long skateboard. I loved it, quit my job two weeks later and decided to try and break the Guinness World Record for the longest journey ever travelled on a skateboard. Sure enough, I skated the length of Britain and across Australia (3600 miles in five months!) and that was the first journey of Expedition1000.
Before embarking on this new direction what were your doubts/fears/concerns and how did you overcome these?
My biggest fear was something happening that would stop the journey before the end. More often than not it was safety on the road – you cede a little control when sharing a road with cars and trucks and all you can do is be sensible, visible and cautious. With any trip I try to understand and visualise what might go wrong and then working out how to minimise/ deal with risk is all you can do. More often than not anything I’ve previously worried about has proven itself to be non-existent or very un-scary when it’s actually happening.
“More often than not anything I’ve previously worried about has proven itself to be non-existent or very un-scary when it’s actually happening.”
What is the main thing you have learnt (about life or yourself) from this experience?
It wasn’t the skate across Australia that changed everything for me; it was the realisation that I was choosing not to challenge myself, so by reversing that attitude I simply came up with ideas and acted on them. It became a pretty decent formula for a happy life and keeps me away from boredom and a world of excuses and sofas. Life is here to be lived and there’s no better microcosm example that being on an adventure. Feeling fit and healthy, having a regular challenge, realising the world is bigger than the one I’ve known before and that personally I’m capable of continuously pushing my boundaries. So many people choose not to go somewhere new because they’re scared; of failure, of death, injury, stigma. More often than not, when you face something in person it’s not scary, it’s a tiny mound to jump over and move on. I’d rather my challenges be real than in my head; adventure has taught me that this is ok.
What would be your dream adventure and why – and why haven’t you done it yet?
I don’t have one. If I wasn’t living the life I am now I’d be trying to, but I’m super content with where I am and don’t think too far ahead. If I started dreaming about something I just do it and fast!
If you were stuck on a desert island what three things would you have with you and why?
Hammock. Surfboard. Sun cream (I’m a ginger; I’d die without that :))
To find out more about Dave check out his website here, to get involved with The YesTribe take a look here, and to learn more about his current journey #ScootJapan click here. You can also follow Dave and the #ScootJapan adventure on Twitter or on his blog.