Talk time: 2pm, Sunday, March 10, 2013.
Talk title: No guide book. No 4×4. No itinerary. How to un-plan your next big adventure
Speaker’s name: Dan Wedgwood
Company: The Adventurists
Why do you love to travel?
Knowing that you’re intentionally inviting a bit of chaos into your life, I guess. Having absolutely no idea what happens next. And random cool shit that you just couldn’t make up happening when you least expect it. Disasters are also a good part of travelling, but only if you get out of them with all your fingers and a good story.
Who would be your ideal travel partner and why?
The guy I did the Mongol Rally with back in 2005, an old school mate. But the younger version of him when he was about 20, before he got a mortgage and ditched me to start going on sensible package holidays at all-inclusive resorts with big walls round it. True story. I’m not bitter. Honest.
Describe the most unusual situation you’ve found yourself in while travelling.
When you’re working abroad for The Adventurists, ridiculous situations seem to turn up every other day and give you a good slap in the chops. They’ve ranged from shaking hands with deputy prime ministers to being called a horse murderer and international spy in a live televised press conference.
When I’ve been on the move without the clipboard, most unusual was probably after crashing my car into a rock in Mongolia. I smashed the petrol tank and ended up with a jerry can on my lap feeding the engine fuel via hoses that went out the passenger window and into a hole our mate cut into the bonnet of the car. That was quite an unusual set up which lasted for about 800km.
Name two up-and-coming destinations for 2013 and why?
Istanbul. Because we’ve just launched the first unsupported bike race across Europe from London to Istanbul, and that would be a great way to get to Turkey. If a touch painful. It’s called the Transcontinental Race 2013. I’m excited about going to Gabon. I read there’s only 800km of paved roads in the whole country so it’s got to be worth a look (the UK is only a bit smaller than Gabon and has 334,000km of paved roads).
If you could return to any country you’ve been to, where would it be and why?
Right now, considering the shit weather in the UK right now I’d go and hang out in Sydney. Or Cape Tribulation. Anywhere in Australia with a beach. Ask me when the sun’s out and it would have to be Zimbabwe. I went through in 2001 far too quickly so I’d spend some proper time having a look around, especially in the north near the Zambezi.
Give us an overview of what you’ll be discussing at the TNT Travel Show:
I’ll be talking about what happens when you stop planning the arse out of everything and leave the guide book at home, and why it’s a good thing to do. Last year the founder of The Adventurists Tom talked about travel becoming boring and predictable, so this year we’ll be talking more about the specifics of what happens when you have a start and a finish (which are very far apart) and absolutely nothing planned for the bit in between. What happens when it goes wrong, and what to do when the urge to reach for the guide book is strong.
We think there’s a fair few people who could do with loosening their sensible belts a bit and trying out a bit of glorious mayhem instead of researching everything before you’ve even set off.
Who will find your talk relevant?
Anyone who likes the idea of ridiculous, slightly irresponsible, massive adventures, outrageous overland rallies and other ways of making the world less boring that can’t be scripted in advance. And anyone interested not just in adventures that are quite likely to get you right in the shit, but how people get out of those pickles again.