This interview with Dave Cornthwaite of Expedition1000 was originally published back in 2011. At the time he had just completed the 4th of his 25 ‘creatively adventurous’ ways to travel 1000 miles.
Eight years later and he has now completed 14 journeys of 1000 miles or more. Each journey using a different method of travel, from skateboarding to scootering, water bike to whike and elliptico to hase pino (no we don’t know what the last three are either!).
We found this article unpublished in our archive and thought it might inspire a few adventurers. And hopefully we will get the chance to do another interview with Dave Cornthwaite of Expedition1000.
Being adventurous is just not enough for some people. Take Dave Cornthwaite: he’s set up Expedition1000, a series of 1,000-mile challenges each using non-motorised transport. With world records falling along the way and the media knocking on the door, we thought we’d grab a word with the man (he just paddled the Mississippi on a SUP!)
Best described as ‘creatively adventurous’, Dave is bringing fresh ideas to the world of expeditions and endurance challenges – and a considerable amount to his growing charity pot.
Read on and find out what it’s taken to get this far, and where this remarkable journey is headed.
In 2009, I kayaked over 1500 miles along the length of Australia’s Murray River. At the time it was easily the most enjoyable journey I’d ever made.
Now I can safely say that I will never travel by kayak again. Not only is SUP a much better form of all-round exercise, it’s a more rewarding experience. The vantage point is better, it’s more simple, less impact. People will be travelling long distances by SUP until the end of time, it’s glorious.
The locals were fantastic! I was welcomed with open arms all the way down the river. I had a funny accent and was standing, so I stood out like a sore thumb.
Most Americans wouldn’t consider even taking a motorised trip down the Mississippi so someone paddling in this fashion was a total oddity. I didn’t meet many folks who were straight out of ‘Deliverance‘, although a chap in Louisiana who decided to point a gun at me as I paddled by didn’t do my nerves any good.
I have several adventures in the pipeline: A South American journey on a Whike, a recumbent bicycle with a sail; 1000 miles by wheelchair; cycling across North America; rowing the Indian Ocean; paragliding the Himalayas across Nepal – the next few years promise to be quite enjoyable.
You’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s easier than ever nowadays to be content with artificial pleasures. Humans don’t give themselves thinking time anymore, so by escaping into the great outdoors, travelling and even giving ourselves a challenge that is intrinsically bound with nature, that puts us in touch with who we are.
If we all look after ourselves and prioritise our happiness then we’ll be better people, better partners, better company, we’ll spread smiles. We’ll also look after the environment around us, because happy people make more time to give back.
Absolutely we do. It’s not just if we’re taking an experience from nature, it’s in everyday life. Everything we do has an impact on the environment. Earth is pretty sturdy, ecosystems can be fragile, yes, but there’s acceptable and non-acceptable human impacts.
I don’t consider myself a ‘greeny’, but by spending so much of my time outdoors I feel as if I have a direct investment and responsibility for the areas in which I train, travel and play. It doesn’t take much to pick up an empty plastic bottle or a crisp packet, but how often do we walk along and ignore litter? If we all did more little things, accumulatively we’d make an enormous positive difference to our environment.
Although there’s the added benefit of leaving a smaller carbon footprint, I’ve chosen to travel by non-motorised means because they offer a far greater challenge. I do what I do because I want to develop and learn, and because I don’t think there’s anything that can stand in the way of a healthy dose of willpower.
I’ll be explaining my adventures and someone will say, ‘Oh my, I drove across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, it took two days and it was so hard, the air conditioning broke!’ I skateboarded across it, it took 18 days!
Travelling under your own steam for 1000’s of miles across Australia is bloody difficult, but the satisfaction of completing a journey that has taken months, been an emotional roller-coaster, tested you to your limits…wow, it’s unrivalled.
I gave myself some thinking time. I’d grown into an adult just as society wanted me to – school, uni, degree, job – and not for one moment had I considered that I was capable of doing something out of that tunnel.
By the time I got to twenty-five I was burned out, settled, partner, cat, mortgage, job. I was so depressed, I needed freedom. I thought about what I really needed from life and decided to pursue it.
The catalyst for change was a long skateboard, but that was just the medium that showed my that doing new things was going to make me happy. I’d lived in Swansea for six years and thought I knew it like the back of my hand, until I saw it from a different angle – from my board. I’ve never felt a passion like it. Here I was in an old place, doing something new. It changed my life.
Dave supports two charities, for which he hopes to raise £1,000,000 throughout his Expedition1000 project. CoppaFeel! – raising awareness of our bodies to prevent breast cancer. And AV Foundation – providing drinking water systems to schools in sub saharan Africa, with the aim of making education a focus.
We hope you found this interview with Dave Cornthwaite of Expedition1000 as inspiring as we did. Let us know in the comments the creatively adventurous ways you would travel 1000 miles!
And check out our adventure holiday discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.