I am part of The Adventurers Blogging Chain – where a group of like minded adventurers and expeditionists write and host blogs for each other in turn. This week I host a piece by Mark Kalch, writing an interesting piece about expeditions and media attention.
Adventurers and the X-Factor
When Jessica Watson sailed triumphantly into Sydney Harbour a couple of weeks ago and became the youngest, solo, unassisted, round the world yachtswoman (or man for that matter), she was welcomed by a crowd of 50 000, the Australian Prime Minister and the moment was beamed out live on national television. Sponsors who had backed her were rubbing their hands with glee, while those who had not were most likely kicking themselves. I, for one, was stoked for Jess. She had set a huge goal and achieved it, in spite of a lot of knockers. Then, I started to think. As a professional adventurer, what on earth could I do that would illicit such a public response? I am still thinking. The answer, I fear is, nothing. As a young (relatively!), fit, strong, white male I do not face a hell of a lot of obstacles in life and as a result my achievements are somewhat more expected (fair enough I suppose). Rest assured I am not chasing acceptance or validation by the wider community. I am most definitely in the wrong job for that. But still, being recognised on some level, for me and others like me is absolutely necessary to make a living. Sponsors want recognition and booking speaking engagements becomes a lot easier with a name that is known. So, what to do? Mmmm….?
Perhaps more quirky, novelty expeditions might work? I am bound to get a column inch or two in the Metro or The Sun. I will be noticed by millions, just as quickly forgotten and lose a good bit of pride. Not the best result. I could jump on a bandwagon (who said climate change can’t be a positive?). Not really my thing. It looks as though there might be only one viable path left to me, bloody hell!
Just keep going! Not so glamorous, but results are assured and it has worked for the best. Germany’s Huber brothers, Thomas and Alexander are two of the world’s best climbers and mountaineers. They have been for quite some time. Speed climbing, fast and light their speciality. Last year they signed on to become the global face of sports giant, Adidas, new line of outdoor kit. Cha-ching! Sorted. What a deal! But, this was no overnight success. No made for TV special got them there. The boys are both past 40 and have been climbing since their teens. How did they make their living all this time? Well, you know, the usual. Small town slide shows, an article here or there, odd jobs and they even made a movie that got some decent publicity in their homeland. Oh, it also helped that they did some very hardcore stuff along the way.
I might never shake hands with the Prime Minister on my return from expedition or be patted on the back by 50 000 fans but I am fairly confident I can undertake some tough expeditions of my own choosing and make a good living doing it. What more could you ask for?
For more info on Mark and his expeditions, see www.markkalch.com
Previous blogs on the ABC:
Sarah Outen on Team Work, hosted by Dan Martin http://www.danmartinextreme.com/home.php
Tim Moss on Community, hosted by Dave Cornthwaite http://www.davecornthwaite.co.uk/blog/?p=314