Into the Arctic: the journey of a modern-day adventurer

author photo
Rachel Mills

0. How to be a modern-day adventurer

I’m on a Hurtigruten ship heading back to Tromsø the final time I see Dave on his Schiller. The captain has spotted him from the bridge and an announcement has gone out to all the passengers.

As a long blast from the ship’s horn sounds out, the crowd waves flags and shouts encouragement. Everyone is smiling and Dave calls out an emotional hello. This is what he is all about – inspiring and encouraging adventure. I chat to him later to find out what it takes to be a modern-day adventurer.

Q: How do you make a living from adventure?

A: I’ve been working at this for twelve years; I’m an author with two bestsellers under my belt, and I visit five or six continents each year to deliver sixty to seventy keynote speeches. I also organise workshops that are designed to make life count.

I’m more interested in having a positive impact than making a profit (although that definitely doesn’t hurt), and with that in mind, I’ve co-founded a social enterprise called SayYesMore.

Q: What made you choose Norway and the Schiller?

A: I’ve got a long list of non-motorised forms of transport for my Expedition1000 project and I’d been keen to find the right opportunity to try the Schiller water bike, since it was crowdfunded in 2013. When Hurtigruten suggested I might like tackling their Classic Voyage along the Norwegian coast, I knew this was it.

Q: How are you planning your route?

A: I use Google Earth to identify potential jetties and sandy beaches to pull into, but things often look very different on the ground. I’m also aiming for Hurtigruten ports (unless they are way out to sea).

Q: What are you carrying with you?

A: My Tentipi, clothes (including a dryrobe), sleeping mat and bag. I carry enough supplies and water for a week in case I’m stranded. I have a pump and tool kit for repairs on the go, my camera gear, and waterproof bags to stash everything.

Q: What keeps you going?

A: I love living the kind of life that I don’t need a holiday from. As an introvert, I get my energy from being alone, though my fiancée is as much a globetrotter as I am, so I’ve got great support at home.

A natural inclination in thinking that everything will work out that day, even though you don’t know what’s coming. I love the unexpected, the surprise and the joy of an outdoor adventure.

Q: And lastly, what are the highlights of this particular expedition, so far?

A: That Hurtigruten cruise ship slowing down so people could wave was incredibly emotional, I was balling my eyes out. The wildlife I’ve seen out here has been phenomenal… whales, dolphins, seals… and some special unexpected moments when someone helps you out of the kindness of their heart.

Travel and adventure naturally makes you vulnerable and this route along the Norwegian coast has refreshed my belief in humanity, everyday.

Rachel travelled courtesy of Visit Norway and Hurtigruten. Explore more of Norway with The Rough Guide to Norway. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Header image: Andy Bartlett. Images top to bottom (left–right): Dave Cornthwaite; Yellow Matilda; Pixabay/CC0; Yellow Matilda; Yellow Matilda; Dave Cornthwaite; Leif Rosas; Dave Cornthwaite.

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