It has been a while since the last explmore newsletter dispatch. It has also been an interesting time, as the world starts to emerge from another phase in this pandemic. The rollout of vaccines and reduction in restrictions (at least here in the UK), has meant people are perhaps taking advantage of their restored freedom and focusing more on life beyond their screens.
Since the last newsletter, I have enjoyed a few adventures with my family, including trips to explore more of the English countryside. For Father's Day, we took a day trip to Edale; a small picturesque village situated within the Peak District National Park.
My dad reminded me that Edale is the starting point for the famous Pennine Way. It stretches 268 miles along the Pennine Hills (often referred to as the “backbone of England”), in the northern Derbyshire Peak District, north through the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park and ends at Kirk Yetholm, just inside the Scottish border. (Wikipedia). Did you know that if you added up the elevation of each climb and descent of the entire Pennine Way, it would exceed the total height of Mount Everest?
In 1962, when my dad was 15 years old, he and a group of lads were brought together to take on an epic challenge; to hike and camp the entire length of the formidable rugged trail of the Pennine Way. In fact, they almost did the whole length twice, when on their first attempt, after ten days trekking in torrential rain, their leader had to call off the expedition to attend to a family emergency. A year later they set off from the same starting point, a pub called The Old Nag’s Head in Edale, and finally completed it in twelve and a half days.
I asked my dad if at any point during the trek he felt like packing it in, especially after some days that stretched to almost forty miles. He said that on their second attempt, the group leader had organised that the gear and supplies be transported between each campsite in order for the hikers to travel light. The opportunity to rest and take a ride in the support vehicle was presented, but my dad declined the offer, as he was determined to experience every part of the life changing adventure. Soon after their victory, the group of lads heard that they might have been the youngest group to have taken on the Pennine Way challenge and succeeded.
Explmore was launched in 2016, shortly after the publication of my parents’ book, Strangers Like Angels - With a Devil or Two to Boot. I wanted to create something that shared their original overland story and would simultaneously inspire people to experience their own life changing adventures. The explmore mantra reminds people to explore more of the world, engage with others, and embrace global cultures — to ensure we have a greater understanding — for each other and for our precious planet — enabling progression. In addition to promoting this mindset and designing products that inspire the lifestyle, I have made it a priority to highlight the stories and experiences of today’s explorers.
It has been a long journey, and like the story of my dad’s hiking expedition, has had many ups and downs. Recently, I have noticed a definite dip in engagement across all mediums; less likes, less comments, and a decrease in online orders. Though not the driving force behind creating explmore, the change in levels of interactions and transactions can be a clear indication of the impact (or lack thereof) being made on the back of time, effort and financial investment. Perhaps our collective increased time spent online, over this past year, has resulted in an over saturation of competing content, particularly from a growing niche industry promoting an alternative lifestyle?
As my young dad faced the peaks and the valleys of the Pennine Way, he pushed on to go the distance. As I reflect on my dad’s childhood achievement, it is a welcome reminder to persevere through the tough times and adapt where necessary to changing circumstances. I enjoy looking back at the accomplishments made so far and try to draw encouragement from the positives I can find in my experience, which in turn give me the boost I need to continue the endeavour I began. I have appreciated the conversations I have had with various people along the way. Moments when someone has stated that what I am doing is different from others. A unique take on an adventure lifestyle concept and that I should keep up the good work. Of course, I still get excited when I spot an explmore decal in a picture post or even better, in person. A simple reminder that what explmore represents is making a difference for those seeking a way to articulate their eagerness for adventure.
With perseverance, comes the need to be sustainable. You can push hard, but there are some things that are essential to keep that steady pace going for the long term. I rely on the proactive support of the explmore community to ensure and secure the continuation of what I started five years ago.