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Beards, maggots, and whales: what we learnt from last night’s adventurers event

by Adele on August 29, 2012

You can hitchhike to India for less than 750 pounds (thanks, Lev), and one great thing about not having a beard is that you can’t wake up to maggots in it (thanks, Danny). Once you’ve had a taste for adventure (like surfing a 30-foot wave alongside a whale, as Ian did), it’s hard to return to mundane life. These were just some of the things I learned last night, as well as how vanilla my general existence is in juxtaposition to @Secret_Compass,  @Paul_K_Archer, @adventurehubltd and @dannybent.

The main takeaways

Judging from the live-tweeting that Rob did last night:

  • “Best way to fund an expedition? Pay for it yourself….!” (Paul Archer) Finding sponsorship can be tough. Really tough. So really, it can be smarter just to work at your existing job and save up as much as you can so that you can sponsor your own adventures.
  • If you are going to attempt the sponsorship route, ”Be original without being contrived – you need to have a great angle for people to fund you. Big corporates won’t sponsor adventures unless you’ve got an amazing angle and a great contact, and you need to be able to provide them with fantastic content.”
  • Often, the smaller the company, the more likely they are to listen to you. That doesn’t mean they have budget to sponsor you. Medium to large sized companies are generally your best bet – not the big boys, who get pitched all the time.
  • You need a PDF that’s ready to go, with your pitch, your story, your map/planned route, what you’re asking for, and why you’re different.
  • Useful websites: Expedition Portal, The Hubb (for motorcycle trips – shipping, contacts, etc), RGS.
  • Ian: “Better to have a well-prepared pessimist for an expedition than an uninformed optimist!‘” A lot of people underestimate how gruelling the trip might be; and you need to pick your travel-mates carefully. You don’t want someone who’s going to turn around halfway through, because it’s tougher than they thought!

We asked the speakers questions from the attendees in preparation for the event: you can find their responses here.

More about the speakers:

  • Levison Wood was in the Army before setting up Secret Compass, an expedition service which provides incredible adventures in the most remote and wild places on earth. You can read his hero profile here.
  • Ian Couch was an Infantry Officer in the Army before setting up www.adventurehub.com – an expedition and endurance adventure company offering real life-changing challenges and expeditions. You can read his hero profile here.
  • Danny Bent is a adventure cyclist, world record holder, best-selling author, international athlete and bog snorkelling world champion. His motto? Live Your Dreams. Check out his site here.
  • Paul Archer drove around the world in a Black Cab on the ‘It’s on the Meter’ expedition and holds two World Records.  He has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in sponsorship and for charity and advises expeditions on how to manage their PR and gain sponsorship.

Did you come last night? If so, what did you learn? 

And if you didn’t come last night… do you want me to upload the video? We just uploaded this startup video from another past event, but we’re trying to figure out if it’s worth us doing this for each event!

  • http://inspiringadventures.co.uk Richard Brownsdon

    Hi Guys,

    Well done – what an inspiring event.

    In fact, I’ve been inspired to openly ask Escape the City to sponsor the first Inspiring Adventure, and to start our collaboration together!

    I’m on a mission to inspire more people to start, join and support socially beneficial businesses. I do this by introducing more of us to inspiring people and stories, locally and around the world.

    Don’t laugh – This is what is in it for Escape the City:

    During the Inspiring Adventure:

    5 video and written interviews with at least 5 inspiring entrepreneurs (during October). As you know I’ve been planning this Inspiring Adventure for 6 months, and have already connected with local social entrepreneurs and Escape Heroes. For example, the Brazilian Ex-McKinsey consultant who set up Brazil’s first social finance fund and the UK ex-pat who is taking over the running of Latin America’s largest Bird Park, along with my connections at the Hub Sao Paulo and Hub Rio initiative (more info on on my website).

    After the Inspiring Adventure:

    I will talk at an event of your choosing about the experience, if you want, in November.

    Plus, I’d like to continue the collaboration, and offer 5 more video and written interviews and updates with inspiring people/Escape Heroes from Japan and the Hub Tokyo – ongoing into next year.

    Plus plus, I’ve just applied to join Peace Boat again, and sail around the world, from December to March. If I get on board, and you would like it, I’ll wear an Escape the City T-shirt and take photos in over 15 countries (including Easter Island) during the Peace Boat voyage. And if you are really nice, I might even record and edit videos doing an Esc The City activity of your choice (or the communities choice) in more than 15 countries (Here’s my yoga around the world video that I made last time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGxQ72NURec ).

    How much would all this be worth in sponsorship? £500? £1000? something else? You decide.

    Without sponsorship, I won’t be able to operate the first Inspiring Adventure in Brazil, but to be honest, it’s not just about the money – it’s having a partner who believes in me, and Inspiring Adventures. I’m looking for someone to say “here you go, we believe in you, you can do it”.

    Are you interested? Do you believe in me?

    See you soon,
    Richard

    • Adele

      Richard, OF COURSE we’re interested and of course we believe in you! Silly question. But we don’t HAVE a sponsorship budget… we’ve bootstrapped for the past two years and going forwards, we plan to stay as frugal as we’ve been so far.

      The content production landscape is a tricky one – we’re still figuring out what content we’d pay for in cash and what content we pay for in traffic to guest contributors. Esc is a platform that content creators can leverage, but we’re really not in a position any time soon to be spending on paid content.

      Ultimately, the content decisions are driven by what brings the most value to our global members. So the first priority for any magical ‘video budget’ would probably be filming the events like Wednesday night’s, and turning them into a TED-talk style format, so that global members can benefit from the knowledge shared there too.

      I get approached by members who are doing VERY cool things, and I’ve contributed to a couple of Kickstarter campaigns I’ve found out about via Esc, but it’s been out of my own pocket, not Esc’s – because our priority right now, as Esc, is investing in the new site/platform. Any content expenditure would be classified under ‘marketing’ – but even the best marketing won’t make up for a less-than-stellar product. So the product is our main focus right now, in terms of spending priorities.

      Personally – away from Esc – I’ve done a lot of video production myself, but I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to find someone to ‘sponsor’ you to make content where you also retain creative license. So in the past, the approach I’ve taken is similar to that preached by those adventurers on Wednesday night – I’ve worked as a contractor in web/digital management, saved up the cash myself, then ‘sponsored’ my own content.

      Happy to continue the chat offline. Have you thought about Kickstarter? Or Indiegogo?

      • http://inspiringadventures.co.uk Richard Brownsdon

        Hey Adele,

        Thanks for the reply – and the belief! I understand that Esc is being frugal – good idea – keep doing what you do best!

        Of course someone was going to ask, especially after Paul Archer mentioned at the event that small, fast growing (tech) companies that have recently received investment, might be good places to ask!

        Looking for sponsorship has not been part of my business plan, but the event inspired me to at least ask – I had assumed it would be nearly impossible..but there’s always a chance! And if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, right?

        I have thought about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but as I say, fundraising for the first trip was not part of my plan. Unfortunately the timelines and deadlines have passed for any kind of structured crowd funding for my October Inspiring Adventure.

        It’s not the end of the world – I’ll just have to spend October generating income instead. Unless I find someone else out there who would like to be inspired by meeting a range of social entrepreneurs in Brazil!

        Bye for now,
        Rich

        • https://twitter.com/adelebarlow Adele

          Totally agree – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Especially after Paul’s point! Re: your comment below – it is indeed. If you want me to credit you, let me know?! I was just browsing on Twitter for a good pic…

  • http://inspiringadventures.co.uk Richard Brownsdon

    PS – That’s my picture that you are using in the middle this blogpost! :D

  • Charlotte Inghams

    Don’t forget http://www.explorersconnect.com -its been amazingly useful

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