Millican Dalton, Jean Brown and Mabel Barker having a brew-up in 1935. Photo Mabel Barker Collection
Milican Dalton (Apr 20, 1867 – Feb 5, 1947) the British self-styled “Professor of Adventure”, was never motivated by adrenaline fuelled adventure, by speed, or by winning races. He lived in a cave in England’s Lake District and led camping and climbing trips up the local mountains.
He outfitted himself and his clients in lightweight gear he designed and sewed himself, specializing in tents made of tightly woven Egyptian cotton. In the rain the fibers would swell, tightening the weave and rendering the shelter water resistant, if not exactly dry. He sold handmade rucksacks, advertising them as “half the weight and one-third the cost” of the Norwegian packs in vogue at the time.
Millican did most of his sewing in the winter, when not climbing trees or, weather permitting, skimming across icy ponds on handmade wooden skates or sliding through the forest on skis—a skill he acquired in the Alps before the First World War. His handmade clothes were habitually left un-finished as frayed testimony that in Millican’s eyes, hemmed shorts should never stand in the way of a good ramble.
Millican didn’t see any reason why Barker or other women shouldn’t climb hard rock, or otherwise do as they pleased. That was only one of his unorthodox beliefs, all of which he espoused freely. He relished a good argument, and though he was sometimes called him the “Borrowdale Hermit” he was as sociable as he was opinionated. He welcomed visitors, occasionally leaving handwritten invitations to take tea with him at “Sinbad’s Cave.” Those who obliged would often be goaded into political discussions, which Millican pursued with gusto. He was a socialist and an outspoken pacifist who once wrote Winston Churchill during the height of the Blitz, demanding the Prime Minister make peace with the Germans. It seems the local air raid warden had climbed up to the cave to demand Millican douse his fire, infringing the Caveman’s liberty and provoking his ire.
Ursula Martin has recently returned to her home country of Wales after a three-year-long trek through Europe. Her walk was a personal mission and a quest to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, which she was diagnosed with ten years ago.
Ursula found out about her diagnosis on another backpacking trip. She was due to walk back to Wales after she had finished kayaking the length of the River Danube, which passes through Germany to Romania. She made it to Bulgaria and was about to begin her walk when she received the troubling news.
Forced to return home early, her plans just got bigger. Despite her diagnosis, Ursula persisted with her passion for hiking and completed a 3,500-mile walk around her very own stomping ground of Wales.
Back in 2017, she conquered Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m), running up and down the peak in just over 10 hours, setting a new female speed record for the round trip and beating the previous time by almost three hours.
Fast forward to the present and Fernanda holds records for being the first female to run up the highest peak in the Americas, Aconcagua (6,961m) as well as her record on Kilimanjaro.
I have discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve.
We didn’t know if it was humanly possible to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals. The intense effort, the giving of everything you’ve got, is a very pleasant bonus.
Life’s a bit like mountaineering – never look down.
In 1948, with dreams of fame and fortune, a young Australian mining engineer and his American wife set out to circumnavigate the world, by land and sea, in a single vehicle.
The vehicle in question was an amphibious jeep developed by the U.S. Army, which Carlin named Half-Safe. It was a mechanical cross-breed that was supposed to move with equal ease across land and water but in practice wasn’t much good for either.
Ben Carlin and his wife Elinore started their adventure from Montréal, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara Desert.
10 years later, upon returning to Montréal on May 12, 1958, Frederick Benjamin Carlin became the first person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle.
The extraordinary adventure had covered 17,780 km (11,050 mi) by sea and 62,744 km (38,987 mi) by land, crossing three oceans and passing through 38 countries over five continents.
I reached Memphis halfway, at 3,750 miles, on November 3 [election day]. The vast majority of the map I’m plying on this journey is solid red. Minus a few blue dots between Portland, Oregon, and NYC.
Funny, I just paddled past my very first Republican flag on a boat on the Ohio River the other day. It featured simply an elephant and the word “Republican”. It is the first Republican banner I’ve seen on this expedition that didn’t scream Trump. Or include a Confederate Flag on the same pole. Or shock with catchy expletives.
I think we are coming right as a nation. I took a ride over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, as the inauguration played out live. As Amanda Gorman delivered her poem of hope, The Hill We Climb. And what I found on the streets of New Orleans later that day were kids of color in motion, laughing and pulling wheelies on their bikes along lower Bourbon Street. The city, the nation, I myself, could breathe.
Anyone who grew up in the 1970’s in North America or Europe will know that van life is nothing new.
Months after meeting, Gay and Jack Reineck outfitted a VW van in London and set out on an adventure. Living in the van for the next 12 months, and 25,000 miles, they travelled through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, to India, and back.
Available from Rufus Guides, the couple have written about their adventure.
A travel diary, journey of discovery, and personal memoir, VAN LIVING 1971 is the story of two young designers beginning a life together.
Along the way they created an enduring love that would last for more than 50 years.
Please tread lightly, pack out your trash, and treat every person and location with respect.
Please do not bury waste or wipes – even those that are biodegradable. Always pack out bags, sanitary wipes, and feminine hygiene products to minimize impact on the environment and the spread of disease.
If you find any errors, have any tips, or see anything that might need improving, please let me know.