Oct 2008

Richard Branson, the Ultimate Adventurer

richard branson
Sir Richard recently attempted to set a new World Record sailing across the Atlantic on the uber-fast Virgin Money with his two adult children, Sam and Holly. Their attempts were thwarted when they were hit with 40-ft waves and the main sail ripped. They were forced to abandon hopes for the record and return to Bermuda to have the boat repaired and perhaps try again in the spring or summer next year.

Being huge fan, I was eagerly following
Richard's blog when this happened. I could relate to what must've been a huge disappointment, given my own disappointing attempt with Henk in August. But I also understand that it was not at all a failure. The record would have been, as Branson said, just the icing on the cake. "The adventure is in the planning and in the doing." The substance and soul of adventure is just getting out there and doing it. Whether or not we "succeed" in the eyes of the world or record takers is truly secondary.

Readers were invited to chat with Richard and ask him questions about his Atlantic Adventure. Of course I leaped at the opportunity.

People like to be prophets of doom when I talk about riding to the Arctic Circle or when I dream aloud of riding solo around the world. If they don't actually say "you're crazy", they imply it. It's difficult explaining adventure to the adventureless. I wanted to know how Richard Branson wards off his killjoys.

I sent him this note:

Dear Richard,

Everyone has his or her own definition of adventure. Yours is obviously not a trip to the spa for a pedicure. I suspect that for you, an adventure wouldn’t be an adventure without the odd 40-ft rogue wave.

For me, adventure is a journey into the unknown, way outside my comfort zone, where personal beliefs are brought up for questioning, fears are faced, perceptions shattered, and i’m left forever changed by the experience.

I’m sure many people question your sanity and like to warn you of all the possible things that could go wrong on any given adventure.

How do you reconcile to the naysayers your love of adventure with your love of life?

Thank you for your constant inspiration.

solo motorbike adventurer

Here's his response. It's worth a listen: