A huge thank to you to Lev Wood from Secret Compass for a really fantastic talk and Q&A at last week’s Esc Wednesday.

Secret Compass is an expeditionary service that provides adventures in some of the most remote and undiscovered locations in the world.

Lev gave us all a great insight into his extreme travel experiences and his journey from leaving the army to set up an adventure business.

Our Esc Wednesdays take place at the Adam Street Club – a home and support network for entrepreneurs and business-people.

Here is a quick summary of the best nuggets from our perspective. What have we missed? Please add what you learnt in the comments.

Who else would you like to hear from at an Esc Wed? Let us know and we’ll try to get them along to speak to everyone.

So here they are… 5 things we learnt at last week’s Esc Wednesday:

1. Not having much money needn’t hold you back

Lev hitch-hiked from London to India on less than £700 (a lot of that was the flight home). Admittedly that was back when £700 could get you a bit further! But his point was that a lack of money isn’t a good enough reason not to do something… all you really need is the inclination and some guts.

2. The fact that you’re coasting might be a sign

Lev didn’t leave the army because he didn’t like it or because it was too tough. He left because he realised he was too comfortable. He left because he realised he was coasting.

I remember feeling a very similar thing working in the corporate world… we could very easily have worked there for years and years without ever really challenging ourselves (and without being found out).

The lesson here is that if you’re cruising through your working weeks (and months and years) and if you have that nagging feeling that want to achieve more than you can in your current job, then perhaps you should consider something a bit more challenging.

3. Plan / No Plan – it doesn’t necessarily matter

Lev didn’t have a proper plan when he left the army. He had some savings, his experience, his mates, and his love of travel. Leaving with no plan actually led him to a fantastic adventure – delivering some ambulances (bought on eBay) to Malawi with 10 mates.

It’s incredible how everyone who has ever taken a big and scary leap reports the same feeling… that the world is rewarding you for being brave and starting something – read this quote.

We started Escape the City on a hunch. We didn’t plan much, we saved a bit, and we had limited online experience… however we didn’t let it stop us starting a blog and putting our ideas out there.

4. It’s all about risk and reward

This one speaks for itself. You will never run your own extreme expeditions company if you don’t try to start your own extreme expeditions company. No one is going to hand you an opportunity (job, start-up or adventure) on a plate.

Lev reminded us all about this when he said that all the best experiences in his life have involved an element of risk… a challenge… it wouldn’t have be rewarding otherwise.

5. Be like the termite that jumped out of Lev’s throat

Lev was once made to eat a termite… and he decided to swallow it whole. The next thing he knows, the bug is climbing back up his throat and jumps out of his mouth. Whenever Lev is in a sticky situation or the cards are stacked against him he often thinks of that termite!

Reminds me of this great line from Finding Nemo…

Photo credit: http://piecefulkwilter.blogspot.com/2011/05/just-keep-swimming.html

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