YesStories March 2018: A Guest Review

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YesStories March 2018: A Guest Review

Kevin Self offers a reflection of our monthly tales of adventure.

Last night I went to Yes Stories in London - ‘a night of inspiration.’ It was.

There is such a great feeling and a buzz being in a space like that - making new friends and catching up with friends wearing big smiles and sporting generous hugs and finding what they’re up to.

Then there’s that effervescent magic that rubs off when people have been up to stuff out in the world, filling their tanks of goodness and sharing what they got from it.

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Last night I learned that:

- no kit and no time are not an excuse to do an adventure. There’s a heap of fine capital cities within a few days of England, there’s weekends, there’s Halfords and if your shoes aren’t up to it there’s always emergency Tesco sliders! 🚴‍♂️🚶‍♂️🚴‍♂️

- that you don’t need a map nor a compass to reconnect with yourself and walk the mountain route around Mont Blanc. Just book the flight and go with it. And trust in yourself (unless wild horses are involved)🐴🏔

- that everyone has a skill. And if yours is repairing aircraft then it just makes sense to build your own aircraft, put a Herby goes bananas engine in it, and fly around the world. And don’t forget your mountain bike. And, it’s ok not to have a cause. ‘Just because you can’ works just fine.🛩🌎

- that there’s something magical about taking yourself off on a solo adventure, to experiencing the world, that rheindeer are great listeners and your biggest fears very rarely come true. That sense of achievement from relying on yourself when your tent breaks or you can’t see your hand in front of your face from the clouds.🏕🙂🙂🔥🙂🙂😀

- that we have a global pandemic of mental health and some countries, or some sub societies at least, are doing a better job at supporting it through conversation and community. And awesome people like Dr Sophie are willing to take on dealing with it.🤝🌍

- that just because you have to do it alone and Siberia has come to stay is no reason not to take on your adventure. If you’re going to do it. Do it. And you can never, ever be too daft - like howling like a wolf with all your lungs on the top of the snowy downs. And there’s no bears Hampshire. 🐻❄️🏃‍♀️

- that you are never, ever too old, unfit, unable to take on life! I learned that there’s a triathlon - Arch to Arc - run from Marble Arch to the coast, swim the channel, cycle to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Simple. Or not. And I felt honoured to share a room with a man who at 49 became the fastest, oldest person to complete it, and still be so humble.🏃‍♂️🚴‍♂️🏊‍♂️🚀

Oh, and how could I forget, a special guest appearance by Ruth and Rhoda - these 2 aweome girls are going to smash a record this year cycling from Lands End to JoG on a trailer and trailer bike. Ruth is age 5 and Rhoda is age 3! That’s some pretty inspiring parenting Tom .👨‍👩‍👧‍👧🚲🚲🚲🚲

And overall... that people are kind, and generous in a pub in london on a cold Tuesday evening, and everywhere you open up to them in the world if you let them in.❤️

So what did I take away?

At all comes down to action

Commit, be, do, have

These stories could be mine. Could be yours in the future. The only difference is taking action now so that future doesn’t stay in tomorrow, just a nice chat in the pub. I had some great conversations around my ‘Home to Home’ solo run - from Godalming to Bath over Easter. I’ve got a physio triage today and next step is to find a cross country route that will avoid too much wayfinding. Simple 😊

Today’s % for my life is to commit - I am doing this and today I will set my route.🏃‍♂️💪🏅

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Good Old Fashioned Fun in the Snow

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Good Old Fashioned Fun in the Snow

The recent snow caused us to be cut-off for 4 days which was super-exciting for all of us. With all three roads into our village blocked by huge drifts we were limited to a radius of around 200m from our house. Initially, the prospect of entertaining our children within such a small area and ensuring we all didn’t get cabin fever felt insurmountable, but, we were proved wrong.

In fact, what happened was a snippet of times gone by. A time when motorised transport didn’t exist. When days were spent playing in and around the vicinity of the family home. When games and entertainment were what you made from what was around you.

 Just getting out of the door proved tricky enough!

Just getting out of the door proved tricky enough!

There were some caveats, of course; we had a fridge full of food (thankfully we’d gone shopping the day the snow begun to fall), we had electricity, we had films to watch when it got too cold to be outside, and we had internet connection. So, we weren’t that cut-off at all.

Physically getting around, however, was a different story. The first obstacle we had to overcome, once the winds had died down enough to consider going outside, was the sheer depth of snow. The drifts were up to our waist in places, which was tricky enough for us adults, but for the children that meant a snow depth of chest height – the poor things were literally getting stuck in the snow!

After we dug ourselves out of our house – literally – we had to make the best use we could of our sledge to pull our son (4) and carrying our daughter (1) in a fireman’s lift proved the only way to move her without exhausting ourselves in the process. Wading through thick, deep snow while carrying a wee one on your hip is an energy-sapping affair!

The extent of our ‘world’ for 4 days, apart from keeping snug indoors, consisted of the 200m walk/wade to the end of our village where progress was blocked due to huge snowdrifts, our back garden and the field opposite our house.

So, how did we have such an awesome time during The Snowfall of 2018? Here’s my list of the Essentials for Fun in the Snow with wee children:

Activities

The main activities we enjoyed as a whole family in the field were:

  • Sledging – going in pairs or singly, we found a great run and kept rotating the sliders.
  • Snowboarding – parents are allowed to have fun too!
  • Sliding – being kitted out in winter suits and waterproofs, we were all as slidy as slidy things, so after finding a nice steep drop, we all had a good go at sliding.
  • Snowmen and igloos are also good fun, but with children as young as ours, they can easily get too cold to enjoy playing with the ‘end product’ as it can take a long time to build.

Clothing

 'Zoot suits' are an essential part of adventures outdoors

'Zoot suits' are an essential part of adventures outdoors

Essential to keeping everyone happy was thermal base layers, thick winter suits a.k.a. ‘zoot suits’ and double socks inside those welly boots. With the right clothes on and the ‘morale boosters’ mentioned above, we were able to play in the snow for over an hour each day.

Staying out in the Snow

Walking back up to the top of the field every time after sledging down was a mission, given the depth of snow. Not only that, but the biting wind was sweeping across the top too. This meant fruit and chocolate bites were needed to keep everyone’s spirits up and prolong our play in the fields. When it can take well over half an hour to get everything together and everyone kitted up and out the door you need to get as much time out of your trip as possible to have made it worth the effort of getting outside in the first place! This means morale boosters are vital part of your outdoor, winter play kit.

The Result

Two weary children with rosy cheeks filled with clean, fresh air and fun, exhilarating experiences coursing through their minds with them ready to eat their dinner and flop into bed – Parenting Win!

Good Old fashioned Fun?

Too right! I thought being cut-off for 4 days with the children would drive me stir crazy. Instead it opened my eyes to see that fun time with the children doesn’t need to have bells and whistles. It doesn’t need an hour’s drive to get there. It can all happen right by your house and all it needs is some motivation (not always easy when it’s cold outside and you’re tired from just being a parent, but worth making the effort if you can), some imagination and a big sense of FUN - if you make it fun, they will most likely have fun and that is what it’s all about.

Ryan is this blog's Family Adventure Editor. Ask him questions or suggest future article topics in the comments below.

 Parents are allowed to have their fun too!

Parents are allowed to have their fun too!

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EXPLORING AT CHILD’S SPEED

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EXPLORING AT CHILD’S SPEED

 Messing about with water in the woods - a perfect combination.

Messing about with water in the woods - a perfect combination.

As a parent of two little children with BIG minds, it can be difficult to remember that adventures and explorations need to happen at the speed of our children and that while you may have conscious, or subconscious aims in mind, they do not.

Too often I have found myself becoming frustrated when we have set out on a mini-adventure to see a certain thing (e.g. a waterfall) or reach a certain point (e.g. a lookout point) only to have it cut short for various reasons and we never reach said waterfall/viewpoint etc.

Why do I get frustrated? Firstly, I’m only human. As adults, more often than not when we set off on an adventure, however big or small, we have a destination in mind. This may be traversing a country from tip to toe, or may just be walking up to a certain spot that you want to share with your children.

However, small children can quickly become cold, tired or, if you let them, bored. They may even start arguing between themselves, resulting in a whole lot of unnecessary upset and parental stress! Yes, exploring with wee ones is all about expecting the unexpected.

This is why I have begun to try really hard to shift my adult-minded approach to mini-adventures to think of them as periods of time, rather than reaching a certain point or getting from A to B.

 Finding nooks and crannies to hide and explore are really what it's all about.

Finding nooks and crannies to hide and explore are really what it's all about.

When we head out for a woodland adventure, I’ll get the children packed up in their ‘zoot suits’ and welly boots, have some ‘snack’ in my bag (fruit to start with, then mini-chocolatey stuff to come later to keep up spirits as they tire) and usually set off with my objective in mind e.g. ‘we’re going to see the waterfall’. Note, I say my objective. As far as they’re concerned, we’re just going to play and explore in the woods.

Every part of the woods, or an outdoor exploration is as exciting as the next, if you help them with imagination and games and stories etc. So, it matter little to them whether you’re trying to get to that waterfall, or reach a certain point, they just want to explore and play in their surroundings and this WILL take a long time. Walking at adult speed is not possible unless you want to a) impose an ‘adult-led’ adventure or b) want children who’ll quickly dislike the idea of having outdoor adventures if it means they’re getting dragged and schlepped about at adult speed.

As long as you, the adult, is allowing the adventure to happen at their pace and are willing to turn back as soon as they’re cold/ tired/hungry (this can happen in the blink of an eye – no, seriously!) and to undertake portage of said children, then you’ve had a great adventure.

Young children are interested in time in the outdoors, less-so about reaching certain points. That’s how we adults approach these things and, quite probably, is how we miss out on a lot of the details around us in the outdoors.

To enjoy your adventures with young children, slow down, let go of your sense of objective and travel at child’s speed. Wander with them, daunder* with them and wonder with them. Trust me, you’ll all feel much happier.

Scots: To stroll, to saunter, to walk aimlessly, idly, or uncertainly, to wander.

Ryan is this blog's Family Adventure Editor. Ask him questions or suggest future article topics in the comments below.

 This fairy door which prompted a lot of imagination play, but would have been missed if we were going at adult speed.

This fairy door which prompted a lot of imagination play, but would have been missed if we were going at adult speed.

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YesStories February 2018 - A Review

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YesStories February 2018 - A Review

It's always great when we add a closing bookend to Winter's hibernation with the first YesStories of the year. Andy Bartlett was back to host the event, and as usual brought a whole lot of energy to the room as well as sharing a tale about a cycle ride in Portugal which didn't all go to plan.

Andy defines himself as "a solar-powered energiser bunny" in search of warm adventures, and he reminded us that even if things don't work out it'll all be ok if you're willing to roll with the punches (and if you remember to pack your bike pedals in the hand luggage).

Follow Andy here

 There are always a solid handful of people attending YesStories for the first time, and so many of them come alone. Awesome!

There are always a solid handful of people attending YesStories for the first time, and so many of them come alone. Awesome!

 

Stace Martin has been with the YesTribe since Year One and his confidence as a speaker grows each time he steps up to the front. His Christmas hiking adventure in Scotland became a series of falls, map-reading fails and what seemed like an eternal search for a non existent path, and Stace had us all in stitches with his dry one-liners.

"It's ok to have a slight sense of humour failure, especially when you've got one bent pole, you're tired and there's no path" Stace told us, adding that his rucksack is called Blue, because...you guessed it, it's blue. "I'm not the quickest walker, not the quickest anything really," Stace told us, which isn't all bad, we reckon. He was motivated to get himself out of what turned out to be a tricky situation with a determination to not be that person on the news getting rescued. Thankfully, for all of us, he made it.

Follow Stace on Instagram

 

Val Ismaili was next up, with a brief insight into a recurring knee problem which required a number of surgeries. Then, of course, Val embarked on a long walk, becoming the first thru-hiker of the new Trans Caucasian Trail. Not only did he give everyone a little nudge towards visiting the region (a group trip he'll now be leading for the YesTribe later this year), but Val's story was a reminder of just how fulfilling it is to make a contribution on top of doing something just for the sake of it. Especially if there's vodka involved.

A yes isn't only a gift we can give to ourselves, sometimes it takes someone else (in Val's case it was the TCT founder Tom Allen saying 'yes, you should come and hike the trail') - an important reminder that we're all in that position to push others forward by giving them a bit of positive support. Of course, the kindness of strangers is never more apparent than when we're in the midst of an adventure and the friendship Val experienced on his journey made the region even more attractive. 

Follow Val on his website and Instagram

 

Our fourth speaker was a new Outdoor Champion for Ordnance Survey, Matt Kettlewell, who has a ridiculously varied working CV from working with disabled owls in South Africa to babysitting little (big) hippos. Matt's sometimes hapless approach to life made his presentation all the more entertaining, and you know it's going to be good when you realise he's the type of guy who accidentally accepts a job offer in South Africa thinking that SA meant 'Suffolk'.

Follow Matt on Twitter

 

Each YesStories we enjoy a call-in from someone in the midst of an adventure, and this time round it was Frances Mills who announced her intention to run around the coast of Britain at Yestival 2017. Frances called in from her tent, which was shrouded in red because she couldn't work out how to operate her headtorch properly!

She's taking a wonderfully free approach to her journey, aiming to round Britain over the next three winters and only running, hiking and moving when she feels like it. Daily distance goals are not on her agenda and she takes decisions according to how she feels. Frances invites people to join her on her journey and is even open to a surprise visit - just not at nighttime!

Follow France's run on www.asiwandered.co.uk

 

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You can spot a maths teacher from a mile off, and Roshan Daryanani's slides and charts explaining her journey into doing something uncomfortable each day for 100 days were both insightful and hilarious. Roshan was full of perfect soundbites, "You have to trust yourself even when other people think you're a bit weird, and when you do something new you can't predict what's going to happen" and she left everyone wondering what their next little adventure would be. 

Read about Roshan's adventures on www.tinyadventuresinliving.com

 

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Ewan Paterson usually presents alongside his fiancé Katie but as she was ill he took the stage alone to talk about their round-the-world cycling trip. Ewan was full of insights, including the freedom of travelling light, learning about cultures and environmental issues by moving slowly and a reminder that you don't have to visit monuments and landmarks to really travel.

He wrapped up with a great flip, imagining that a British family were explaining to their friends that they took in an Uzbeki cycling tourist, fed them, gave them a bed and then sent them off the next day without any clue where they were going or what they were doing. It's the type of hospitality so many of us experience on adventures and this is one of the reminders SayYesMore tries to push regularly - wherever you live remember that if someone is cycling, kayaking, walking or skateboarding past your home on their way to a far off destination then taking them in for a night is such a valuable offering. 

Follow Ewan and Katie on www.thefreewheelers.co.uk

 

Dave Cornthwaite wrapped up with a short adventure story about not having a clue how to make a film and then updated us on all things SayYesMore, including progress with the YesBus, plans for a new Tribe-wide book club and a 2000 mile community ride on the waterbike he took down the Norway coast last year. Keep your eyes peeled on The YesTribe to get involved!

 

Thanks to everyone for coming, to Andy Bartlett for hosting and all our speakers for sharing their tales. Here's to an amazing year to come.

Signing out, Team Yes

 Night night :)

Night night :)

 

Takeaways

You don't always need a path to have an adventure. 

Sometimes it's ok to have a slight sense of humour failure, especially when you've got one bent pole, you're tired and there's no path

I am a solar powered energiser bunny - Andy

Your plans don't have to work out if you're willing to roll with the punches 

It's great to make a contribution on top of doing something for the sake of it.

 A yes isn't always something we say to ourselves, sometimes it's a gift from someone else

Kindness of strangers often appears when conditions are bad. Vulnerability means we're open to this kindness.

SA does not stand for Suffolk!

Sharing an adventure plan at Yestival meant that I was accountable, so I couldn't back out - Frances Mills

Make decisions based on how you feel

You have to trust yourself even when other people think you're a bit weird

When you do something new you can't predict what's going to happen

What are we missing out on because we somehow feel awkward - it's worth being conscious of

Challenge to everyone - be completely honest for a day

You don't need a lot of gear to be happy, if it's not being used then get rid of it!

You don't have to visit monuments and tourist attractions to really travel

Next time you see a traveller, be kind to them. It means more than you could imagine.

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A Get Started weekend on the YesBus

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A Get Started weekend on the YesBus

EVENT: Saturday 27th January to Sunday 28th January


Join SayYesMore founder Dave Cornthwaite and life coach Vix Anderton on the YesBus for a weekend designed to kick-start your year.

We've organised a series of talks, workshops and pause sessions to help you work towards a successful, balanced 2018.

This is the first of 2018's programme of courses, seminars and other events to be held on the YesBus, a converted double decker bus created by SayYesMore as a countryside base for learning.

Tickets - get yours here

Ordinarily these sessions are priced between £35 and £50 each, so we hope you find good value in the full weekend ticket, which includes:

  • Access to all sessions
  • Access and chill-out time on the bus between sessions
  • Overnight camping near the YesBus
  • Tea and coffee
  • Group and individual chats with Dave and Vix throughout the weekend

Schedule

Saturday 27th January

12:00 - Turn up, set up your tent and meet the YesBus and your hosts

12:45 - An introduction to the YesBus

13:00 - Getting Started: how to plan a big project (90 minutes - led by Dave Cornthwaite)
Whether you're setting up a blog, cycling across a continent, embarking on a new project at home or are just ready to start something new, this workshop will help you: Develop a viable project plan. Shape an appropriate online presence. Overcome challenges before and after the start line. Move forward despite unsupportive friends and family. Design a project budget and savings plan. Decide whether to fundraise or not to fundraise?. Work out what and what not to pack for an adventure. Give sponsorship advice. Provide encouragement, targets and accountability.

14:30 - Break time (60 mins). Take an hour to enjoy the YesBus, read in our open-plan library upstairs, or take a walk in the countryside.

15:30 - Values and Intentions (90 minutes - led by Vix Anderton)
This 90 minute session is designed to help you understand your values, so that you can create guideposts for your future decisions.  You will define your core values, create statements that bring your values to life, and get clear on how you can put your intentions into action.

17:00 - Break time (30 mins)

17:30 - Social Media Like a Champ (90 minutes - led by Dave Cornthwaite)
If you're an individual or a small brand aiming to create more impactful, positive and interactive social media content, this is the session for you. Running a good social media network is a huge step in creating a modern day brand, learn how to grow your audience and develop a strategy to ensure future updating isn't just easy, but fun as well. Keeping your message on track at the same time as relating to your followers is at the heart of all social media, and this workshop will help you get creative at the same time as sharing tips and tricks to get ahead of your competition.

19:00 - Dinner (food not included. Will enjoy a group meal either cooked on the bus or ordered in. To be decided the week of the event.)

 

Sunday 28th January

07:30 - Micro Pause (60 minutes - led by Vix Anderton)
This 60 minute pause is designed to give you an opportunity to pause and take stock of where you are, how you feel and learn some practices to manage stress and anxiety that you can do by yourself at home or at work.

08:30 - Breakfast (simple breakfast will be provided.)

09:30 - How to make a film on your smartphone (120 minutes - led by Dave Cornthwaite)
This is the perfect session for anyone wanting to capture their adventure without dishing out extra cash on camera gear. Dave has filmed with his iPhone for years and introduces real-life examples and skills, as well as an interactive live-demonstrations of how to edit on a phone. Although the filming half of the workshop is relevant to any phone or small camera, he will be teaching how to edit specifically on the iPhone.

11:30 - Chats with Dave and Vix, then chill-out time

13:00 - Home time.


Your Hosts

Dave Cornthwaite Sweden.jpg

Dave Cornthwaite

Dave has a habit of doing things differently. He's a record-breaking adventurer who has travelled over 22,000 miles without motors as part of his groundbreaking Expedition1000 project. Dave is the founder of SayYesMore and the YesTribe, community initiatives designed to create opportunities that nudge people towards finding out what they're really capable of. He has written three books, created hundreds of short films, delivered hundreds of lectures worldwide and now lives on a boat in London with his fiancé Emma, who is absolutely delighted that he's now made up for being a total loser in his early twenties.

 

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Vix Anderton

Vix Anderton is a multi-potentialite, building a portfolio career to change the lives of women and girls as individuals, in organisations, and in society.  She is a life coach and mentor, an independent inclusive leadership and gender specialist, and a yoga teacher.   Her latest project is building a tech-enabled business from scratch with Zinc.vc to transform the mental and emotional health of women and girls; The Practical Balance will be launching soon!  In previous lives, Vix was a Royal Air Force Officer and worked in international development.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get to the YesBus? Click here to see your options
  • What about parking? There is a small fee for parking, use the available ticket machines. 
  • What facilities are at the Bus?  Are there toilets and washing facilities? There are currently no showers at the YesBus, but a bit of bacteria never did anyone any harm. We're building compost toilets in the Spring of 2018 but until then a deluxe (yes, deluxe) portaloo is available with running water.
  • Where do I sleep? There are plenty of spots to camp near the YesBus. Camping is free when you're attending an event. If you don't like mud, cold or fresh air, there are plenty of Airbnbs and B&Bs in the region.
  • Should I bring my own food? We have basic cooking facilities on the bus (note: the bus kitchen may not yet be ready to use in January 2018), including a basic camp stove. We will often do a group shop during a YesBus event and cook a simple meal together. Ot order a takeaway/ visit a local pub/ cafe together.
  • Does the YesBus have a recycling policy? It does. We're still building and installing our bins but we're mindful of recycling and looking after our little corner of the planet. 
  • Is there anything I shouldn’t or can’t bring? 
  • Are there tea and coffee facilities? Yes, tea and coffee is included.
  • Is there potable water? We are still installing water so it may not be running in late Jan 2018, but we will ensure drinking water is on site.
  • Is there anything I should bring? A notepad and pen. Camping equipment (if staying overnight). Snacks. A smartphone with video editing app (if taking part in smartphone filming workshop)
  • I have a YesBus day credit after supporting the crowdfunding campaign, can I use it? A day credit is ordinarily use for a co-working day or a YesBus open day or party. In this case, your day credit can be used as a £25 coupon towards a ticket

Contact yesbus@sayyesmore.com if you have any further questions and we'll get right back to you.

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