I stumbled across RGS Explore through adventurer Tom Allen’s blog – and I’m extremely pleased that I did. A weekend dedicated to the meeting of would-be and accomplished adventurers would be a great opportunity to start putting some real meat on the bones of my statement of intent, all I really had; “I want to cycle around the world.” I quickly bought my ticket and was first outside the gates early on a mild November morning in West-Central London.
Other delegates soon started to arrive and I was thrown into the deep end of inspiration (yep, I just wrote that) with two embryonic cycle adventurers and another guy telling me he was going to ride a donkey from England to Mongolia. I hadn’t even entered the building. Ten minutes later and I was milling around inside the Royal Geographical Society’s impressive yet homely atrium. During the chit-chat outside I hadn’t come totally clean about my cycle plans, divulging the vanilla theme of cycle-travelling and not the full pistachio essence. I decided to test the water with a couple of guys I was talking to about a cycle expedition they’d completed from Bangkok to Bangladesh. Bicycle based travel, yes, but with a stoner-adventure angle thrown in. They liked it, I was galvanised. Soon afterwards I found myself talking to adventurer and author, Andy Welch (a name I’d circled as a ‘must meet’) and softly broached the subject. I was relieved and pleased by his open minded approach and supportive attitude and he offered me some fantastic words of wisdom and encouragement both at the time and later over a beer.
This was going really well. I wasn’t being escorted out of the building. Next I made a beeline for Dave Cornthwaite and thankfully he soon had a smile on his face and told me about a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel where would-be travellers would be pitching their ideas to a panel of six RGS Dragons (and 100 or so delegates). He saw my idea as worthy of presentation and with lump in my throat I agreed to get up in front of the Dragons.
There was still something that needed to be addressed, that I was advertising my real name on my name badge. Not that I had any immediate suspicions about any of my fellow delegates’ intentions towards my Linked-In profile but wanting to keep these two aspects of my life separate (for the time being) I made the decision, for the first time during this little project, to become Roger Boyd. Sounds very melodramatic, doesn’t it. All that it really entailed was turning my name badge around and writing ‘Roger Boyd’ on the other side. But it freed me, now I really felt like I could talk about my ideas in an open way, with anyone. Of course not everyone I approached got immediately on board but the non-positive reactions were almost as valuable to me as those who really embraced and laughed along with the idea.
[To be continued]