Since deciding his cat shouldn't be having a better life than him Dave has embarked on endless adventures, social projects and other things that make Mondays worth waking up for. From paddleboarding the Mississippi and swimming the Missouri, to skateboarding across Australia and riding a tricycle with a sail across the Atacama Desert, Dave's adventures led him to found SayYesMore, the YesTribe and Yestival, and he'll undoubtedly share some tales from road and water in between introducing other speakers to the stage.
Elise only started running in 2013, on the back of a New Year’s resolution, but she soon started to wonder just how far her legs could take her. On November 1st 2015 she set off to find out, attempting to run a lap of the British coast whilst carrying all of her kit on her back. What followed was a great big British adventure, featuring a lot of cake and a terrible fear of cows. Elise returned to Greenwich 301 days later, having ran 5000 miles and truly explored both her home country and her own capabilities.
Danny was voted one of the 100 happiest people in the UK. He is an award winning author and journalist, Guinness World Record holder, and celebrated adventurer and community builder. Expect energy, glitter and hugs.
Danny will also be leading Project Awesome on Saturday and Sunday mornings, bring your gym kit and a huge smile!
Niall has been doing long, arduous expeditions for 16 years. Having rowed across the Atlantic, skied across Greenland and cycled over the Himalayas, he decided to change his focus to short, intense adventures, and in 2014 he took up the sport of speed flying. In May of this year Niall broke his back in a speed flying accident and spent 38 days in hospital being screwed back together. Having been told he might never walk again, Niall is delighted to be back on two (wobbly) legs once more, and thrilled to be back at Yestival for a second year.
Laura Kennington is a British adventure athlete with a passion for the endurance capability of the human body. Previous adventures include solo kayaking in Russia and solo cycling the world's longest coastal route in Ireland.
Earlier this year she circumnavigated three of the Channel Islands using three different sporting disciplines as part of a rather extreme triathlon. A strong believer in the positive impact that adventure and sport can have on children and adults alike, Laura uses her human powered journeys as a platform to inspire and encourage others to get outside.
Adam Conlon is a compact story-telling Irishman with a love of adventure, talking and trying new things. He also holds the unofficial Guinness World record for the world’s shortest career attention span. So far he has been a soldier, sailor, ski guide and speaker to name a few and he ain't finished.
Despite still having an irrational fear of the dark and having never even been in a fight in the school playground, somehow Adam became the UK’s front line of defence and deployed with the British Army on two all-inclusive army holidays to Afghanistan. With tales of giggling in ridiculously dangerous situations, Adam’s stories reveals the comic coping mechanisms that goes on behind the scenes.
This serious lack of attention span has meant he has found himself hilariously out of his depth in so many different careers across the world. Luckily the highs and lows of his rollercoaster career path have provided him with plenty of content for his stories.
Adam is still to this day a schools careers advisors worst nightmare.
This year Adam will be proudly joining Dave Cornthwaite again on stage to host the weekend and is proud to again be Yestival’s Chief Health and Safety Officer, a role which he takes very very very seriously indeed. Seriously!
Rob Lawrence is a podcaster, audio producer, and a certified coach who helps creative entrepreneurs, community and business leaders embrace the power of sound. He is the host of the Inspirational Creatives Podcast and is dedicated to helping personal stories get heard, recognised and amplified.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has a passion. Everyone has experienced adventure, adversity and overcoming deep personal challenges in their life. There are thousands of listeners still waiting to hear your story. Yet a podcast can be more than just an interview or a monologue. These are people like you: your own future friends, collaborators and community who wanted to be inspired, educated and entertained. In this short informal workshop you'll learn how to quickly craft your own story to connect with a new audience. We also explore how podcasting creatively can help get you there.
Charlie is an adventurer with a passion for the water and the environment. His more recent adventure history has been using a stand up paddleboard, being the 1st person to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight, explore in the Arctic and paddle full length of the south coast of England. More recently he SUP'd from the source of the river Amazon, 1800miles starting in the Andes and paddling down rapids and through the jungle to Iquitos. He is currently SUPing around the coast of England and Wales highlighting some. Of the environmental issues faced by us today as well as that if mental health and promoting his charity, the big stand
The Coxless Crew
A team of 6 women who in January 2016 became the first all-female team and the first fours boat to row unsupported across the Pacific Ocean in their 29ft pink ocean rowing boat called Doris. Their journey of 9,000 miles from San Francisco, USA to Cairns, Australia saw them deal with exhaustion, sleep deprivation, confined spaces, seasickness, monotony, isolation, storms, salt sores, extreme temperatures and sharks! Four members of the team (Natalia, Laura, Izzy and Meg) will be sharing some of the highs and lows of their 257 day journey and will prove that there is an undeniable strength that comes from embracing the diversity within a team.
The Meek Family
If you know a family who makes you smile as much as the Meeks, we need to meet them! These guys were the stars of Yestival 2015 and this year they'll be back with three different talks. Amy and Ella will take to the stage on Friday night, oh and they've got a treat in store for you! Make sure you get along to their Saturday workshops too, and say hi as they rush around the festival site making films and being adventurous!
Meet the Meeks
Tim, Kerry, Amy (13) and Ella (11) have been travelling the UK and beyond for the last two years, living initially a caravan and more latterly in a motorhome, looking for adventure and education (EdVenture), and opportunities to spend quality family time together (often in the outdoors). They believe in DOING and not HAVING, and value disposable time over disposable income. They often get asked how can they afford it or about the legalities of taking your children out of school, as well as lots of other things!
Why don’t you come along to this Q and A session where each of the family members will answer any question you throw at them (as long as they are not too hard).
Living a hybrid lifestyle
Nearly two and a half years ago, Tim, Kerry and their daughters, Amy and Ella, set out on a ‘year out’ that took them in search of education and adventure around the UK and beyond. Suffice to say, the plan didn’t work out – in a good way – and with no one in the family wanting to stop, they continue to live the dream. However, as children grow and change, so too should plans, and it’s the next phase of their plan that Tim and Kerry will be talking about at Yestival: Project Basecamp i.e. how to live a hybrid lifestyle.
Chris Ward is just starting work on a big new idea. He’s bringing it to Yestival in his head but he’s aiming for it to be as successful as Movember or Black Friday within a few years. He will be sharing with us the process he’s going to follow to try and achieve that.
Chris has worked on a few big campaigns before - Red Nose Day, The UN Global Goals and the legacies of the World Cup & Olympics, as well as writing a few books and cycling for GB in the amateur world championships, so come and learn from Chris’s many successes and failures that could save you wasted time, heartache and money and maybe show you the best way you could achieve success for your own idea.
Chris is sticking around afterwards for 15min 1-2-1’s if you would like to discuss your specific ideas and plans with him.
Emma Timmis fell into the world of adventure and endurance running after a night out drinking too much tequila. Having previously run across South Africa to raise money for the RSPCA, a drunken conversation lead on to her running across the whole continent of Africa. Since then opportunities for adventure keep popping up and her ‘fear of missing out’ has lead on to a multitude of fun challenges from rollerskating across the Netherlands to cycling to the Dolomites to go rock climbing.
Tom Perkins is a 29 year-old, British-born writer, photographer, cook and founder of The Nomadic Kitchen.
His first major work – a travel cookbook: Spices & Spandex – documents the recipes, cultures, challenges, and characters encountered along the road as he successfully, albeit haphazardly, journey unassisted through 26 different countries, for 501 days, covering over 20,000km from the UK back to Cape Town, South Africa.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Shara has a deep love for the African wilderness. Over the summer, Shara became the first woman to kayak and sail the longest lake in the world - Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Following many self-drive journeys around Southern Africa, in 2013 she also spent 9 months driving solo from Kenya to Cape Town in her Land Cruiser. Documenting these trips through photography and keeping an online journal has allowed Shara to recount her experiences and use digital media to motivate others to venture outdoors more.
Will was voted the UK and Scottish Adventurer of the year in 2015 for his one year journey to kayak solo around Scotland and climb all 282 of its 3000ft mountains in one continual push. Comfortable being uncomfortable Will tends to spend his time in the wet and windy corners of the earth with expeditions including Crossing Iceland on Foot, hiking all the great walks in New Zealand and kayaking through the fjords of Patagonia. A photographer and guide Will is passionate about exploring close to home and is about to begin a new Scottish adventure this winter.
Workshop: How to choose a startup idea & make it happen
If you find it difficult to know which idea you should run with we'll focus in to create your top 3 idea criteria, helping you choose an idea that works for you to make life awesome.
From this we'll collectively take a first step to creating our startups. What's the one thing that will move you forward the most in the next week? Whatever it is, let's make it happen.
You can also sign up for paid one-on-one coaching sessions with Fiona (see the main About Yestival page)
The Simonsen Family
After losing their job and house the Simonsens grabbed the chance to become a full time adventure family.
Their first challenge took them across Europe, kayaking from Copenhagen to Istanbul for one and a half years and 7300km, the world's longest kayak expedition by a family.
In September 2013 and after just two day’s practice, Kev sat in Orca, a battered ex-rental canoe and set about the mammoth task of paddling the Mississippi river from source to sea in a canoe. The journey – 2350 solo miles – was completed during the coldest winter on record, raising thousands of pounds for his local children’s hospital. In September 2015, Kev became the first person to swim the entire 220 mile length of the River Sever, the longest river in the UK. For 31 days he swam from the source in the Welsh Cambrian mountains, through four counties to the mouth of the river at Severn Beach. Every penny of the £18,000 raised went towards funding an overseas operation for a local boy with Cerebal Palsy to help him walk.
Thomas Ivor Jones
Inspired by endurance cyclists on YouTube, Thomas trailer-cycled the Outer Hebrides, aged just six. Touring 300 miles across Brittany on his own wheels the following year, he started designing his own adventures. Just before his eighth birthday, he embarked on #CycloClimbGB - a mission to climb and cycle between the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland, to prove that little people can achieve big - even if they have to go to school in between! Thomas will talk about adventures for kids, from the map on the kitchen wall to our nations’ highest peaks.
Manifesting miracles are second-nature to this inspirational speaker with stories that will leave you laughing and motivated to move forward with your dreams, no matter how crazy they seem to other people.
A former ‘Debbie Downer,’ Alexis is now known as “A-Ray” (of Light.) Personal transformation is just one part of the journey she shares in “The Art of Traveling Light” at this year’s Yestival.
Whether lighting up a room with wit and road-tested wisdom, or propelling businesses forward with her promotional marketing genius, Alexis is a memorable character in everyone’s story.
“Everyone needs an Alexis Ray.” - Chris Barnes
Tom re-evaluated life in his late 30's. This process created three principles to guide the rest of his life. Live Active, Laugh More and Inspire All. Through tales of adventure, overcoming personal challenges and living simply, Tom will lead Yestival friends through a transformation that will spur an enthusiasm for making things bold things happen. Tom has a unique passion for showing people there is adventure in uncommon places through his lifestyle and playful outdoor company, Tomfoolery Outdoors, in Dayton, OH USA and he'll will draw on his experiences from a bicycle trip across America, kayak circumnavigation of the Florida Keys(USA), Fatbiking the Outer Banks(USA), 40x40 for 40 challenges, local microadventures and 20 years as an outdoor adventure event planner.
After working in finance for 8 years, Sarah quit her city job and spent 18 months travelling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro, backpacking around South America and doing a ski season. She used this time to help her decide on what she wanted to do with her life. She set up Tough Girl Challenges as her way of motivating and inspiring women and girls. Sarah is the host the Tough Girl Podcast where she interviews inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges. Sarah has most recently completed the Marathon des Sables and is now looking for her next challenge!
A brutally honest, word whittling journeyman with the purpose of bringing laughter and awareness to the masses. Awareness of what you ask? You’ll have to find out…. First and foremost John is a father and husband. Black Lab owner. A ‘Gertie’ driver. Oh and I like to take long walks in the cold by myself. Love to talk (maybe as much as Princess McNuff (and that’s a bold statement)).
Rob helps people make things happen. Since leaving his corporate job to go snowboarding almost 10 years ago, he's since started 3 companies (and one family!) and helped hundreds of people to bring their ideas to life. His talk on Sunday will challenge you to take decisive action and turn the weekend's inspiration into reality.
Dan is on a quiet personal mission – to try and show the world how awesome this is really meant to be, so that together we can show future generations how it’s done. An optimist, minimalist, professional fundraiser and adventurer in training, Dan brings his infectious energy & enthusiasm to Yestival along with updates of his 2017 challenge to run 1250 miles from Rome to Home, plus a raw account of his Bipolar journey from full-blown mania & severe depression to the enlightened place we find him in today. You may need your tissues for Dan’s talk, you’ve been warned!
Caroline Weiler is a Hedonist. A Travel and Leisure entrepreneur. A passionate and curious traveler. An enthusiastic writer and a creative storyteller. Always eager for new projects and adventures, she shares
her travel analog photos, short stories and moods on her website « Dreams Are Picturing The World ». She is the co-Founder of Travel Storytelling Festival, a gathering of visual storytelling artists with a shared passion for genuine travel experiences to inspire people to get out of their comfort zone and travel in a different way. Location independent, she works remotely and spent few months this year in Bali where she explored her creativity, wrote her next book, developed visual story mapping skills and collected several series of photographies. She is now focusing her energy on her mapping business « Visual Story Mapping » and on the next edition of the Travel Storytelling Festival.
David Willis is a teacher of Bushcraft and Wilderness Living Skills. He can be found baking bread and rustling up tasty meals over a campfire, whittling spoons, foraging for edibles, walking in the woods and soaking up everything nature has to offer. He has served with the Royal Engineers in Belize, spent time living with the Maasai in Kenya, motorcycled around Europe, and built and paddled his canoe along UK waterways. Escaping the corporate world was his best decision ever and David now loves teaching adults and children, sharing the skills they’ll need to enjoy living life outdoors.
Henry Blanchard took early retirement at the ripe age of 28 from the tedious world of Finance, to create the Uganda International Marathon. He now also freelances as a startup mentor for Virgin and Escape the City, helping other people create businesses that matter, and has just finished 18 months on the road as a digital nomad.
His last three talks have been entitled: "Say Yes to Yourself, but don't be a dick about it", "Live in London on £500 a month", and "New Horizons and Me: Personal Perspectives on a Plutonian Probe ". His 2016 Yestival talk is as yet untitled.
James is a conservation biologist and expedition leader. He’s worked in challenging environments all over the world, from the sweltering Amazon to frozen Arctic and vast deserts of Oman to the rainforests of Borneo. Most recently he led an international team of scientists and filmmakers to a poorly studied region of Northern Madagascar, aiming to discover new species before it’s too late.
James believes in the optimistic side of conservation. Instead of all the bad news we hear about daily, lets celebrate the stories that succeeded against all the odds. If you’ve never heard of the Lord Howe Island stick insect, then you need to come to this talk!
Jo is a presenter, commentator and voice over artist, recently returning from RIo2016 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, she traveled around the world presenting from 11 docks, in 11 different countries for The Volvo Ocean Race, no she didn't sail it, she is mad but not totally insane! If Jo isn't interviewing people about sport she will be found at some of the worlds best food festivals hosting their main demo stages interviewing the best chefs in the world. Jo loves to voice children's animations and audio books and has a couple of projects on the go but shhhh don't tell anyone. Her 6 part tv show all about property in Yorkshire will be hitting Sky TV very soon so keep your eyes peeled. Mainly Jo loves to be outside, taking on a triathlon or climbing stuff, meeting people who do things and most of all make her laugh. Positive people, cake, her bike and red wine make her very happy.
Andres is a guide and an entrepreneur dedicated to a better future in balance with Nature. A key part of his work is guiding people through ‘Nature Quests’ – powerful, solo expeditions into the wild, inspired by ancient Vision Quests. Andres is co-founder Way of Nature UK, a retreats and expeditions venture, and The Bio-Leadership Project – an initiative that helps people meet 21st Century challenges and opportunities by working more closely with Nature. Find out more at www.wayofnature.co.uk and www.bio-leadership.org.
Anne-Laure is a creative explorer, with a background in architecture and interior design. She works across the disciplines of art, architecture and design, on personal as well as collaborative projects.
Following on from her Shifting-sands.com expedition, she now explores and draws in and around London, accepting commissions to illustrate your building/ location of choice. She also runs drawing and mindfulness workshops for corporate clients as well as organisations such as Sunday Assembly.
At Yestival Anne-Laure will be running a workshop titled Drawing your Adventures - tips and tricks.
Anne-laure's ambition is to encourage and inspire others to explore their own creative practices, whether at home or on the road.
During this interactive session Anne-laure will talk through different drawing and painting techniques she uses when on expedition, giving tips and tricks of the best materials/ formats to use.
She will have a selection of her materials for you to test out and play with. Everyone will be encouraged to discuss how they might record their next adventure through the medium of drawing and painting.
For those who like the idea of getting into creative practice but feel intimidated by it, or are not sure how to get started - Anne-Laure will also have some copies of her latest project: a 7 day drawing diary for you to take away and begin your own journey into creative play.
Tom Hough was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2011 and it hit him pretty hard especially as he had to have bowel surgery to reduce the symptoms. The more he read about the condition the more depressed he got by the negativity surrounding it. This made him think that everything he wanted to do before being diagnosed was no longer possible.
To challenge this negativity though in 2013 he developed an alter ego called The Chronic Adventurer who says yes more to adventures BECAUSE he has Crohn's Disease as he now has a burning desire to make the most of his better health whilst it lasts. Recently this attitude has caused Tom to run 6 marathons in 12 months when he initially just wanted to run one!
Stace Martin has been adventure motorcycling since 2008 travelling up in to the arctic circle, multiple crossings in to Russia and down to the top of North Africa. Over the past few years has been rediscovering his love for wild camping and being on two wheels without an engine. This year he has been on a journey of firsts, which saw him complete a self-supported LEJOG cycle ride, deepening his spirt of adventure and self-discovery. Stace will be facing his biggest challenge at this years Yestival by doing his first ever public speaking event, which he says is more terrifying than any Russian border crossing.
Bioscientist turned logistician turned nomadic photographer. Inspired by an idea and a culmination of books read and advice received, this summer Richard left his office job to launch The Glass Passport project – an attempt to travel to every continent without cost by trading his services as a professional photographer for food, transport and a place to stay through a series of creative exchanges.
Initial trades within the UK have ranged from photographing a tour company in the Isle of Skye to a Wedding in the very southern tip of Cornwall, not to mention canoeing on Lake Windermere, Cafés in York and paddleboarding in London. Still a little unsure how to even make it to a second continent let alone seven, for the time being Richard is here for yet another trade as a Yestival photographer.
I’m Chris: full time Assistant Psychologist, part time adventurer and wholly passionate about the benefits exercise and adventure can bring to mental health and wellbeing. I’m holding a short discussion exploring how community, positive mindset and adventurous thinking all play a part in mental health drawing on personal and professional experiences. There will be an opportunity to practice some mindfulness and the chance to share experiences.
Ellie has travelled the world trying to combine her passions for education, conservation and filmmaking. As a teenager she set up and ran a marine conservation charity in the West Indies. After her first degree she worked as a science journalist, for her sins. Having since taught science around the world, she has recently specialised in Science Media Production, and is now a freelance filmmaker seeking to tell the stories of those whose voices aren't being heard, particularly in the worlds of environment, education and healthcare. Her first film is currently on tour. One day she's going to decide what to be when she grows up, but for now she's a keen ambassador for positivity, exploration, self-challenge, teamwork and reflection.
My number one passion in life is music and to that end I’m very lucky to work as a freelance composer and musician. But, coming in at a close second is taking on challenges large and small, solo and with friends, in the great outdoors. These include: cycling LEJOG, running several marathons and an ultra, hiking the West Highland Way, Thames Path and Inca Trail, walking 60 miles from London Bridge to Canterbury in a day and, most recently, cycling from Glasgow to London on an Elliptigo!
From being shy, negative and insecure to feeling friendly, free and safe!
Nerea is not a conventional person since the moment you meet her you can feel it. Literally you can feel it, her energy is powerful, positive and contagious.
After having coached 1000s of people on the last three years through The Happy World Company, having worked/ inspired/ trained companies as Google London, Decathlon UK, King’s College University (London), in Spain, Australia & UK she ready to take over the world by inspiring and helping people feel amazing with themselves and with the world.
One of her beliefs is: If everyone pursue their deepest passions, love and respect themselves, then the world would be very different! And everyone would contribute much more than we are at the moment, so she created The Happy World Company where she is organizing workshops & seminars that involve different techniques such as Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development, Coaching and NLP in a very creative and innovative way.