The YesList


The YesList

The best thing any of us can do is pass our knowledge on and try to leave the world a better place than we found it in.

I’ve always appreciated the idea of a bucket list, except for one thing: it’s motivated by death! So I tend to gather long-held goals and new-found dreams as a life list, or a YesList, a collection of targets, experiences and lessons that band together as a motivation to not sit still, rather than hustling a last-minute dash towards making something of our limited time left.

This is a chance to get rid of that stumbling attitude we hear all around: “I wish I could do that,” “I’ll never have that chance.” Or the gorgeously passive aggressive “you’re so lucky!” 

All of these are really sad sentiments, and none apply in reality.

We make our own luck, we have the chance in time to do whatever we want, and we’re all, right now, in a position to never have to say those words “I wish” ever again. 

YesLists aren’t just about doing things and going places, they’re at the heart of who we want to be. We inspire through our actions and while our stories make us more interesting, it’s important to remember that unless you decide to make your YesList absolutely central to your identity, the list itself isn’t a story. Instead, it’s a great way to fill those moments of uncertainty or boredom and keep you focussed on learning and growing.

Creating a list is a commitment to action, developing positive habits and making life memorable. Not sure what to do with your time? When you have a list it’s easy, just scour through all these things you’ve always wanted to do and start working towards the one that excites you most.

How to create a YesList?

This bit is fun. Open your mind and be free with your dream chasing, this is a chance to set yourself targets that you didn’t even think were possible before. There are no limits here, just ideas. Be novel! Imagine who you want to be in five years time and the things that by then you’ll be able to talk about. Then get writing!

Later on we’re going to look at some ways that other people can help you do the things you’re not yet sure how to do yourself, but in the meantime it’s important to remember that this is YOUR list, nobody else’s. 

It’s not a race or a competition and there’s absolutely no timeline. The only commitment you make when creating a YesList is that at all times you’re moving, however slowly, towards ticking off another item. There are some days when we feel totally unmotivated and can’t be bothered with anything - but I promise you, a few moments with this list will get you thinking.

Start by getting yourself a piece of paper, or open up a word document or spreadsheet if you’re a digital type, and write 1, 2, 3 and so on down the left side of the page. Personally, I have my YesList on the Notes app of my phone, which syncs with my other devices - so if I ever want to check out my list or make a change or addition, I can do it anywhere.

A good YesList has at least 50 challenges in there. Frankly, the more the better so feel free to aim higher, say, 100. Within the list there should be different categories:

  • Travel: Geographically, where would you like to go? Is there someone you’d like to visit on the other side of the world?

  • Physical: This might be aiming for a PB, or taking up a new sport, or planning an endurance adventure. And bingo, you get and stay fit at the same time as ticking off another win.

  • Kindness: Whether it’s volunteering in your local neighbourhood, raising money for charity or giving a friend a hand with their latest house move, let your list push you towards making a difference.

  • Psychological: Got a fear that you’d like to overcome? Heights, public speaking, holding a spider? Here’s your chance to be less scared of life in general.

  • Habit: Commit to reading a certain amount of books in a year, learning a new skill each month or spending a certain number of nights wild camping. Developing just one habit improves your discipline in other areas of life.

  • Creative: There’s something special about making something. How’s your photography or film making? Maybe you want to learn how to draw or build furniture? Or even a tiny house?!

  • Health: Finally, maybe this is your time to give up sugar in coffee, or cut down on your meat intake? Or maybe you just need to commit to half an hour of exercise each day, hit those 10,000 steps, or down-size your meal portions.

  • Financial: Why not set yourself a savings target? Even £1 a day will give you enough for a weekend getaway by the end of the year.

  • Time: There will be some things you’d like to achieve which you simply can’t do this month or even this year. This is ok, but maybe ensure that you have enough short-term items open your list to keep focus.

You can choose as many or as few items within each category as you like but only choose items that you can qualify (ie. swim regularly is a hard one to tick off, because regularly is pretty ambiguous). Also make sure you have control over achieving your goals (ie. don’t leave things completely in the hands of fate or luck), with a little hard graft and imagination you’ll be amazed at how much easier life seems with a can-do attitude. 

And here’s a tip. If you’re making a list of 100 items, maybe keep five spaces free. No doubt you’ll find something to fill them with soon.


To get started, here are some questions you could ask yourself to inspire and aid your own list-building:

  • Are there any special moments you want to witness, or people you’d like to spend time with? 

  • Are you a mountain, desert, ocean or city person? 

  • Which countries, places or locations do you really want to visit? 

  • Is there an event you’ve always thought would be very cool to be a part of? 

  • What have you always wanted to do but until now been too scared of? 

  • What are the most important things you can do with your talents? 

  • What achievements would you like to pop under your belt? 

  • If you had one year left, how would you spend your time? 

  • What would you regret not doing? 

  • What have you always wanted to learn? (Remember, the Internet makes learning pretty damn easy). 

  • Is there a type of food you’ve never tasted? 

  • How can you best give your skills and time to someone else? 

  • What can you do only with someone else? Think of the perfect person, and what you might like to do alongside them. 

  • What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?

Ok, so those are the basics. Here are questions people often ask about creating a YesList:

Can I add small things or do they all have to be life-changing?

A healthy mixture of big and small is always a good idea. Some items you’ll be able to complete in a day, some might take five years. Without doubt, many long-term personal challenges will be quite selfish - and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this it’s important to equal up our list - so make sure it’s a good split between personal development and philanthropy, easy-to-complete tasks and steady, long-term plodding towards a far-off goal.

Break it down

If you have a huge challenge on your list, like learning to fly a plane, cycle around the world or become a millionaire? Create a sub section under that item and give yourself smaller challenges that all add up to helping you complete the overall goal.

How do I choose which item to tick off next?

Think about the weeks ahead, are you going anywhere in particular? What’s the weather going to be like? How are you feeling? If you’re fighting fit (or want to be) maybe it’s time to take on a physical challenge... 

Maybe there two or three items that you can group together and tick off on your next holiday - let’s say you’ve got “Master cooking a foreign meal” and “learn how to freedive” on your list - why not go somewhere where food is yummy and free diving courses are available, like Thailand or Bali?

What if I want to change my YesList?

This is your list and your rules. If an item you wrote down a while ago doesn’t appeal anymore, get rid of it. There’s no point in you being unhappy! That said, there was a reason you put that thing in there in the first place, so try to recall what that was before you get the eraser out.

Even if you managed to start your list with a nice round 50 or 100 items, if you come up with another awesome challenge then feel free to add it to your list, you’re being freed and not limited with this project.

Remember, you don’t have to complete your YesList in order.

Should I share my YesList?

This is completely up to you, but there are a few benefits to telling other people about your list. Saying something out loud is scientifically proven to enforce an idea and therefore you’re more likely to carry it out. 

The more people you tell, the more likely you are to find friends to help you.

And finally, it’s great to have a buddy or two to be accountable to. This could be your partner, a friend or even a stranger with a winning smile. Tune in with each other every week or month and share your wins, struggles and unexpected outcomes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Inspiration from other lists


My YesList

Simple version, using Notes on Phone

With extra columns for deadline, cost and country - using Google Sheets


Why would I do a YesList?

It’ll make you more interesting, focussed and motivated. It’ll help you make decisions, become more patient, and experience the life you want to be living. You’ll have something to talk about next time you have friends over to dinner, and you might just inspire the people around you to do more, too.

You are the sum of all your experiences, so why not choose to be the sum of all the cool and hard things you’ve always been interested in? One bonus is that planning and working towards a goal will add more to your character than you know, and that’s all before you get to tick an item off. 

You choose who you are and who you’re going to be, and a YesList is just one of the ways to help you be that awesome person.

Ok we’re nearly there. Finally, a couple of tips from me:

Write everything down

Write an ongoing journal or diary tracing your progress. If it’s been a long day this is the last thing you’ll feel like doing but in time you’ll be so thankful you captured your memories. The small details can so easily be forgotten, like how you felt or struggled on a particular day, or a specially worded line of advice someone gave to you - these nuggets might just add value to a blog one day, or maybe even a book.

An important reminder

This is a practice in enjoyment, achievement and developing positive habits. It’s not supposed to be a blueprint for your entire life. Take the pressure off and don’t worry if it takes a while to tick off an experience you thought you’d have enjoyed sooner. This is your project, your list, your life. Use the YesList as a guiding stick and nothing more, and in turn it’ll look after you in ways you could never have imagined.

Now, it’s time to get started

Choose three items from your list that you’re going to tackle first, and then let me know about them on Twitter and of course, share them on the YesList Facebook group, too!

Ok, off you go and be incredible. Don’t forget to share your list with me and join the YesList group on Facebook so the community there can support and help you along.


Why Yestival Matters

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Why Yestival Matters

“We grew out of a tiny little idea to go camping with strangers, and since have made a difference to thousands of lives around the world. Yestival is a celebration of this idea that we can all have a positive impact”

As with everything in the early stages of the YesTribe, Yestival wasn’t so much an accident as a passing thought which stuck, then became reality, and ultimately turned into a ritual.

At the end of this week the fourth Yestival will open its gates, and if you’re one of those beautiful souls wandering up the wooded track towards our Field of Dreams in West Sussex, please know that you being there really means the world to us.

We’re not a professional festival-creating company, we don’t do this for profit or pay. Instead, the very reason that a handful of new friends created the first Yestival in October 2015 is exactly the same one that drives this weekend’s gathering. We find ourselves as part of a community of people who don’t let inexperience or doubt get in the way of doing something that matters.

“Shall we run a festival?”


It was that simple. Well, until the planning started!

But club together the varied experiences of strangers-now-friends and sure enough, less than two months later the first humans were taking a walk towards our newly built field of tents. A big SAYYESMORE sign overlooked the grounds, warm messages greeted all-comers and I remember running up and down the track just hugging people and saying thank you. “From the bottom of MY heart, thank you.”

When a choice is made by someone else to support something you conjured up from nothing, well, validation should never be underrated.

2015 - just a little one

2015 - just a little one

2017 - just a tad bigger

2017 - just a tad bigger

From festivals to nights of adventure, hundreds of campouts and overseas trips and coffee mornings and giving a double decker bus a brand new life in the countryside, these creations are the result of us leaping onto the inklings of interest from anyone who once came camping and then uttered the immortal (and sometimes regrettable) words, “is there anything I can do to help?”

Of course, the answer was always a resounding “yes!”

It’s not easy running an accidental non profit. I set out to get more folks outside and to turn my social media ‘friends’ into real humans. I didn’t envisage leading a team or dealing with the endless turnover of volunteers or end of year tax returns or especially the occasional trolling that comes with having an online presence.

I’d just imagined the benefits of bringing people together in the great outdoors and even the concept of a bus in the countryside, but what lies behind these efforts was a footnote. And I’m quite shortsighted so footnotes have never attracted my attention. Yes people decide where to go and that decision includes the leaping (or slow, painful crawling over) of all obstacles en route.

Yestival is a celebration of another year passed, of hundreds of adventures and projects and good things done. Of the power of community and the results of an organisation that relies on non-transactional kindness.

And more importantly, Yestival is the way SayYesMore survives. It costs a ridiculous amount of money to put tents up in a field, order in caterers and benches and firewood and stages and lights and sound equipment and gear for the crew. Drinks and insurance forms and permissions and fire extinguishers and toilets! Don’t forget the toilets...

We made a loss for the first two years and now we’re still just inching over the finish line. But we always hoped that the months it takes to make Yestival happen would ultimately mean we could cover our costs for the year and that hope rests entirely on two things happening:

  1. The scrimping and saving on materials coupled with the generosity of our speakers and staff.

  2. And the fact that people decide to come.

Tommy Scargill begins a big old journey at Yestival 2015

Tommy Scargill begins a big old journey at Yestival 2015

Helen Proudfoot continues the tradition, cycling out in 2016

Helen Proudfoot continues the tradition, cycling out in 2016

And that is pretty special. That people decide to come to Yestival makes all of this worthwhile. We can create the most incredible setting, but if nobody is there it’s worthless. That final outcome is totally out of our hands. It’s up to you.

And here’s why I want to let you know that you matter.

You walking down that track is worth moderating tens of thousands of social media posts a year. Those smiles at the entrance gate and the selfies by the big sign, it’s worth the sleepless nights and the stress and the worry of committing to a big, expensive event. The cheers and laughter and applause in the main tent on Friday night is worth death by spreadsheets (oh my, the spreadsheets!). The thank you hugs all weekend: worth it. The social media posts afterwards: worth it. The “I’ll never forget this weekend” whispered in the ear before you walk back down the track, into the world you came from: worth it. When you spend an extra £10 to buy a Kindness of Stranger ticket for someone who you may not meet - you make OUR day.

So when you’re on the approach to Yestival, clear your head and take a moment. You’re not just someone who purchased a ticket to any old event. You’re not just a number to us, you’re a name and a soul. Hugging numbers is no fun at all.

You coming to Yestival makes our thousands of donated hours worthwhile.

The murmur of anticipation before each talk, it’s glorious.

Those little messages we find written on the SayYesMore sign as we limb-wearingly store everything away before the sun drops on the Sunday after it all happened; bloody hell they’re special.

The sound of your wellied footsteps walking down that track makes my heart pound with gratitude. Because of you, all the effort that the SayYesMore team put in is worthwhile.

And if there’s anything any of us should require from our time, our efforts, our hopes and our decisions: it is for these things to be worthwhile.

And my promise to you, seeing as you’re making the effort to come along, is that we have done everything we can to make your Yestival journey worthwhile. We can’t wait to see what you do next.

With love,


If you haven’t already, join the YesTribe on Facebook, it’s free!

And do consider the YesBus as a venue for your next work event, or simply a weekend of country time in 2019.

Finally get involved on your social media channel of choice:

The SayYesMore Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

The YesBus | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Say yes more , make life memorable

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Press Release: Waterbike Collective Removes 150,000 Pieces of Plastic from Canals


Press Release: Waterbike Collective Removes 150,000 Pieces of Plastic from Canals

Media Release - 30th September 2018: For immediate release

1000-Mile Waterbike Adventure Removes 150,000 items of Plastic from England’s Waterways

At 3pm on Sunday 30th September, a unique community project will complete an adventure around England, taking five months and the kindness of strangers to remove over 60 tonnes of plastic from our waterways, towpaths and countryside.

Over 160 riders have taken part in The Waterbike Collective, a 1000-mile relay organised by The YesTribe, a community that uses social media to get people together in the great outdoors.

The inland journey around England’s rivers and canals invited a different rider each day to clean up a stretch of waterway, from the seat of a specially-made aquatic bicycle called a Schiller Bike. As the waterbike passed through major cities and through 25 counties, local clean-up initiatives and youth groups joined the adventure.

The project was the idea of record-breaking adventurer and SayYesMore founder Dave Cornthwaite, who has broken world distance records on skateboards, paddleboards and, in 2017 during a 1250 mile journey along Norway’s coastline, on the same waterbike that has cleaned England’s canals this Summer.

“The best way to encourage people to care about the environment is to provide opportunities to enjoy it,” Cornthwaite said. “This waterbike is a great way to turn heads and enable people to get outside and do their bit to help combat an increasing plastic pollution problem. It just takes a little effort from each of us to make a big difference and we’re delighted to have contributed this Summer.”

The Waterbike Collective will be finishing in Limehouse Basin at 3:30pm on Sunday 30th September, with many of the riders from the past five months coming to London to celebrate as the waterbike crosses the finish line.


Contact: Dave on 07872 986084 for further comment, interview or photo opportunity


Images for media use: (please credit photographer):


YesStories March 2018: A Guest Review


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.


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.🏃‍♂️💪🏅