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Get lost

Bored of Ibiza? Miserable in Marbs? Explorer Levison Wood is here to help you go on a proper summer trip.

Summer’s here for at least two weeks, and you want to make the most of it by getting the tent out of the loft and going on an adventure. Or perhaps booking a one-way ticket to Colombia, taking a rucksack and seeing what happens when you get there is more your style. Either way, exploration and adventure is what man has been doing since we first ventured out of our caves.

Author, explorer and photographer Levison Wood knows all about adventure. He’s walked the length of the Nile – 4,000 miles over nine months - walked the Himalayas, and trekked from Mexico to Colombia. Here are his tips for embracing adventure.

Preparation is key for a long journey

As well as all the practical survival skills, keeping yourself fit and healthy is obviously important. Having the right attitude is crucial, too – do things properly and make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared for whatever challenge you’re about to undertake. 

Technology is your friend

I always take a GPS to know where I am, and something called SPOT Tracker, which is used in an emergency. I can press the SOS button, and hopefully someone will come rescue me. It also tracks where you’re going and how many miles you’ve covered – like a high-tech Fitbit but more useful. 

If I’m going somewhere really remote, I have a satellite phone for emergencies or just reporting in. But you can do a lot of navigation with a smartphone. You’d be surprised where you can get a good signal. I’ve been in the Sahara desert in Sudan, and found myself with 4G.

There are places in the world where you meet some incredibly remote tribal communities, and they’re all on Facebook!

…But don’t rely on your phone

I always take a back-up in case my technology fails me, though – you can’t go far wrong with a map and a compass, for example. But it’s amazing how much modern tech you can use in remote places, like online mapping. As long as you’ve got a bit of battery life, you’re generally OK. But I always make sure I’m fully prepared in case it does go wrong. 

Learn something new

For me, an adventure is learning about the different cultures and people I meet along the way. 

Central America is a very diverse and culturally rich region. There are indigenous people, people of Spanish descent, and amazing African communities that live along the Caribbean coast. They still have traditions of Voodoo magic from 300 years ago, which are alive and well in places like Costa Rica or Nicaragua. 

Blisters are the enemy

Zinc oxide tape, that’s my top tip for avoiding blisters. It’s like medical tape; wrap your feet up in it for the first three days of walking, then they’ll harden up and after that, you won’t have blisters. 

Know where to go looking for food

It’s useful to know where to find food in remote places. I was in Central America recently on my Walking The Americas expedition, and had to find food in the jungle. You think there will be lots of things to eat but it’s actually quite tricky.

We were foraging for termites, which aren’t the tastiest thing to eat but they can certainly give you a bit of nourishment. We didn’t have any special digging equipment with us either – it was just a case of get your spoon out, dig away in a termite nest and you’ll find some tasty little treats.  

Adventure is closer than you think

You don’t have to go all around the world to find adventure – there are lots of opportunities in the UK. You could walk around the coastline of Britain, or kayak around some of the remote Scottish islands – that’s something I’d love to do in the future. You can really push the boundaries without leaving the UK.

There are lots of surprises to find here, and that’s what the concept of adventure is all about. It’s regaining the spirit of exploration and the childlike sense of ‘wow’. That’s part of my duty as a San Miguel Rich List ambassador, to hopefully inspire people to seek out those experiences. 

Challenge yourself

The spirit of adventure is all about having the right attitude, a curiosity about the world and the desire to challenge yourself. I’ve spent the past 15 years doing this so I’m as prepared as anyone, but there are still circumstances you find yourself in where it can be tough.

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Levison Wood is leading the recruitment drive for the 2017 San Miguel Rich List which will unearth individuals and groups who have devoted their lives to pursuing all things experience. Apply at SanMiguel.co.uk/apply

 

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