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Machete Wielding Gangs, Killer Crocodiles & The Plague – Why it’s Important to Make a Plan Before you Travel

Machete Wielding Gangs, Killer Crocodiles & The Plague – Why it’s Important to Make a Plan Before you Travel

As adventures go, two men are currently undertaking one of the largest ever attempted. Since November 2016, former Royal Marine Commandos, Ant Lambert and Louis Nethercott, have been tackling a feat never before achieved, possibly because no one’s been crazy enough to try it. The duo are looking to be the first adventurers to cross the five largest islands on the planet, all unsupported. Little wonder Ant & Louis also go by the name The Mad Explorers.

Having already traversed Borneo, Papa New Guinea, Madagascar & Greenland, just the icy tundra of Baffin Island lies between them and an entry into the history books. We sat down with the lads to chat about these incredible expeditions, the serious threats to their lives they’ve faced along the way and how they came to realise preparation is key.

The MALESTROM: Where did you guys meet? Did you know each other from the military?

Louis: We met when we were in the Royal Marines, we were both in the same unit 42 Commando when we were deployed to Afghanistan. So although we didn’t really know each other and weren’t friends at that point in time, we were colleagues in a fairly close-knit unit. So we were aware of what was going on in each other’s companies and troops.

It was only after Afghanistan when Ant and I both got drafted to Commando Logistics Regiment down in Devon that we ended up spending some time together and becoming pals. It just wasn’t actually when we were out there scrapping.

TM: Did you guys see much action?

Louis: Yeah. We were both in the thick of it. Front line troops. Getting fully amongst it with the bad guys.

TM: So, what led you to taking on this immense challenge?

Ant: So I left in 2013. I decided that I’d had enough of the military and was quite disenfranchised by everything behind it. So I left to be a commercial diver

Louis: It was a fairly punchy tour we’d just been on.

Ant: Yeah. A lot of people put their notice in and it left a lot of people injured. Some came back with quite bad psychological issues and that. And I was not very enamoured with the way the lads were treated coming back from the tour. So I put my notice in, went to do something completely different and start a career in commercial diving.

During which time Louis had been medically discharged, so we met up one evening, I’d been out for a couple of years at this point. I was struggling to stay busy with the diving and threaders as we call it, or annoyed at the way my life was going. I didn’t really have a direction out of the military. So we poured over some old maps fuelled by a bottle of Laphroaig and came up with this mental idea.

Louis: I got medically discharged, cause I had some psychological snags based on the things that had gone on in Afghanistan. And the docs said I’d seen my fill and it was time to go and do something else basically. So, I was in a fairly threaders state of mind as well, and the issue with me was I really lacked any direction and clarity in terms of what I wanted to do with my life.

So I think we were in the same sort of headspace where we needed some kind of stimulation and direction, but what we’d been used to from when we were pretty much teenagers was some fairly punchy shit. So we decided to put something together.

We wanted to come up with something that was unique and interesting, neither of us has ever wanted to climb Everest for example, we wanted to see what the f**k is in the depths of the jungle in Papa New Guinea. We were looking for something really interesting.

Ant: There’s something to be said for stepping over dead bodies to get your picture taken at the summit of a mountain.

Louis: Yeah. So I think we were in a similar state of mind, and our values and morals and the way we wanted to do a challenge was similar as well. So, we ended with quite a unique, weird one. And that’s where it came from.

TM: Tell us about the preparation going into that first challenge, getting across Borneo. I mean, were you prepared enough, was that one of the problems?

Ant: I don’t think our preparation was substantial enough to start with. Most of our planning had gone into obtaining sponsorship. Basic things like trying to get clothing sponsors. We were ripping our hair out trying to get the right type of clothes. We were complete amateurs. In hindsight, the biggest thing in these challenges has been on the ground contacts and using local knowledge, and we didn’t use any of that.

We came massively unstuck in the middle because we tried to do a route that had never been done, we ended up completing it but became so close to nearly completely f**king it, we decided from there on out like we will never going to leave anything like that to chance again.

So a lot of our expedition planning now goes towards talking to people that have been to these places or live in these places who actually know the real deal. Instead of us just trying to guess what it’s gonna be like.

Louis: I think also just to add on the lead up to it. We sold the expedition based on the fact that we were nails Commandos. The reality of the situation was, in the service, everything was geared towards Afghanistan. So neither of us have done anything in the Arctic, anything in the jungle.

We didn’t really know what the f**k we were talking about. People just assumed because of our background we had a good chance of pulling this off. The truth was actually, including the planning, the sponsorship, the whole lot, we actually didn’t really know what they’re doing. We cuffed the whole thing and we kind of still do a little bit. Borneo was a real deal cuff and that’s why we nearly died in the middle of the jungle.

TM: So tell us about that. What were the main problems and challenges that you faced?

Ant: With Borneo, what happened was we poured over maps. There’s no accurate mapping of Borneo, the most current ones are from the 60s and 70s. And the scale is 1/150,000, so it’s not to scale. So we knew there were like a series of roads and logging trails right up until the centre which led between settlements.

We were travelling from east to west, so we realised we could get as far west to the centre of Borneo as a tiny little settlement up in the mountains. And then there’s this huge mountain called the range there, which is effectively a border wall between Central and West Kalimantan.

Louis: The footprint of that mountain range is the size of Wales just for some scale.

TM: Jeez!

Ant: So we realised we could get to this settlement and then 40 kilometres as the crow flies there was another settlement, the other side of the mountain. So we went under the assumption that these settlements are geographically quite close in terms of the scale of the island and that the locals must know a route.

It turns out that they didn’t. We went anyway. We managed to collar a local into coming with us and then on the second day, he just deserted us. So we were left out in the middle of the jungle unsure whether to turn back on a route that we weren’t sure whether we could do, because none of the locals had ever done it.

Louis: So essentially we ended up running out of food, not enough food to get back, not really enough food to go on, we barely had any. And in terms of the distance we were covering they were so little over a period of 12 hours of best effort, maybe one or two km.

It was just slicing through vegetation, thick mud banks, mountainous dense jungle. We were getting nowhere. We were going without food for long periods and really struggling. We had to make a call because it was all getting to a survival situation. And it looked the only feasible option was a sort of headwaters from the river. It looked like on the map, based on the contours, that where the river started the headwaters may actually be closer to us than it showed on the map.

So we took a chance and went to these headwaters, which was a feasible distance away. We spent a day and we got to the headwaters. And it turned out in fact, there was the beginnings of a river there. So we constructed a bamboo raft and paddled our way down in the hope that we find a settlement. And we did, in fact, find the settlement. But it was touch and go really.

TM: What were the people you encountered there like?

Ant: In Borneo they are really friendly.

Louis: With the tribes in Borneo, it was a bit odd for them initially, two dudes coming out of a sacred mountain, but they were really friendly we are we had no problems with the locals.

Ant: It was a very different story in Papua New Guinea completely…

TM: So this was the second island challenge. How much time was there from completion of Borneo to getting on the ground in Papua New Guinea?

Louis: We finished around New Year 2017, and then we were out in PNG for my birthday on the 7th of May. I think we initially went end of March, early April. So, it was about an eight-week turnaround.

TM: And you say the people out there were vastly different…

Ant: Yeah, massively. So Papua New Guinea is a mad place generally, get this, it’s home to the world’s only poisonous bird, the Hooded Pitohuionly! PNG only got ‘discovered’ in the old fashioned sense of the word by the colonialists in the mid-1800s. And it’s always been an extremely tribal place. They speak over 900 different languages there, that’s not that dialect, that’s completely different languages.

There’s fierce warfare there that occurs between the tribes and has done for centuries. Obviously now, the white man is there and trying to build cities and exploit the resources. It has all meant that a lot of the population have come into touch with money and alcohol and things that they never have done in the past.

But it’s made the tribal situation a lot worse and that gets shown in the gang violence that you get in the cities and even in the sticks. There’s a lot of violence fueled by money, alcohol and tribal disputes.

TM: A couple of blokes like yourselves are going to get noticed pretty quickly right?

Ant: Yeah, we did get noticed quite quickly and the key thing for us when we were going through these areas was to find the guy that was running the show in each area and negotiate safe passage.

Louis: So there’s kind of two elements to the PNG stuff there. There’s a real distinct difference between the full blown unexplored jungle with really primitive tribes that we came across, people who were still dressed in bush clothes. Still very, very basic, who hadn’t really been exposed to the Western world, we were maybe the first Westerners they’d ever seen, all living really high up in the mountains and jungles.

And then there were the guys that Ant talked about who’d had some kind of Western interaction and influence, who knew about money and all that sort of stuff. So whilst we’re up in the highlands and the unexplored areas we were kind of having to tailor our approach to these very primitive, very wary, very worried people that believe in jungle spirits and thought we could be jungle spirits.

And then we drop down into areas where there would be a bit more access. And we have to worry about this gang called The Raskols that were literally butchering people while we were out there. And we ended up walking down a road where Ross Kemp filmed at one point.

He obviously had a full security escort and all of that, just as we were walking down the road the day before, a few K’s up the road. A whole busload of people had been robbed and butchered by these Raskols. So, we were sort of walking down this road just me and Ant with a machete and an American dagger between us just hoping for the best. We also had about a grands worth of cash in our bags and a couple of sat phones. So, yeah, it was a scary one.

TM: Were there ever any proper threats to you along the way?

Louis: Yeah, I mean the one that sticks in my mind was when we were walking down that highway I was just talking about. They all drive Toyota Land Cruisers out there and this Toyota Land Cruiser came steaming up the road with a big gang of badass looking Raskols in it.

It went past us and then it came back and I remember looking back and I knew from the reg and the colour of the vehicle that it was the same one. They stopped, they were all high on whatever jungle juice they’d been smoking. They had a couple of shooters between them. The weapon of choice out there is the machete, that’s what they use. This guy had a thing called a stapler, which is like a staple gun with a tube you’d have for your plumbing tied to it with a round that they’d found in the jungle in the barrel.

There’s a lot of pristine ammunition in the jungles from WW2. So the staple gun acts as the pressure cap that fires this thing. He rammed that down my throat while Ant was negotiating with them. I was just concerned it was going to go off whether he wanted it to or not.

We were basically able to buy our way out of the situation and talk them into giving us safe passage down the road for a decent amount of money. Of course, they didn’t do that, they just took our cash and f**ked off. But that one was pretty scary, they seemed pretty game. It’s the kind of place where they can just whack you with a machete, lob you into the jungle and no one would know where you’ve gone. So, that one was probably the scariest for me.

TM: Did you have people keeping tabs on you? I know you said you had sat phones…

Ant: There’s a guy who lives a couple of doors down from Louie back in England who normally runs what we call Mission Control whilst we’re away. We had trackers on us and we had sat phones and we’d always check-in at the end of the day.

He basically keeps all our families and loved ones informed while we’re out there. There was a hairy time in Borneo when we just disappeared off the map completely. So he had the nice job of phoning up our families and telling them we’d gone missing.

TM: What was the most useful piece of kit you had out there? Sat phones must have been key?

Ant: The satellite phones have been quite hit and miss. But they are pretty invaluable when they work.

Louis: In terms of a warm fuzzy feeling the sat phones are pretty important. Really it comes down to making yourself as comfortable as you possibly can. So I think having lip balm or something like that, the little things that prevent you from having to put up with another annoying thing. For me, it’s really basic.

Ant: I’d probably say out in the jungle having a machete is pretty invaluable, because without one you can’t make any kind of headway, and also when you roll up in some settlements where you might be viewed as an easy target, just having that strapped to the back of your backpack on your belt, it kind of just present that you’re not f**king around.

If someone really wants to do you over they will, but the opportunists normally shy away when they see that you’re carrying a big blade. In the jungle, there’s no handier piece of kit.

TM: You both went through all that turmoil in Papa New Guinea, yet you still managed to get up for Madagascar. What was the deal with that trip?

Ant: Madagascar came a few months after Papa New Guinea. Once we’d got across PNG, which was our main worry, we thought the other islands would be quite doable, especially Madagascar. I mean, there are areas that are non-governed and classed as red zones in Madagascar. In terms of criminal elements that are going to do you a lot of harm, it doesn’t really exist.

There’s a lot of cattle hustlers and people that mess around with the locals. But we were kind of in the clear with that regard. In Madagascar every year they have an outbreak of the bubonic plague it normally kicks off in the rainy season.

And we were leaving just at the end of the dry season, and it had already kicked off. There were more cases than there had been in like the past three decades.

TM: I didn’t think the plague still existed?!

Ant: Neither did we. Madagascar still has a lot of cases every year, and I think in Peru, but everywhere else is ok I think. You can treat it with antibiotics, you just have to catch it early.

So we were going on the ground out there when they basically had a major epidemic. And we were in two minds whether we were going to go or not. We got told by my brother who’s a doctor not to go, to just delay it.

But we’d booked the flights and had no cancellation insurance and things like that. We knew that most of the cases were confined to the capital, and we’re only going to spend in a couple of days. So we kind of thought, why not just wing it?

Louis: For some reason on the lead up to Madagascar I was struggling a little bit in terms of normal life stuff. I think I was in a quite bad frame of mind going into the expedition anyway, just personally. It was the place that was quite a worry.

Here’s a funny little story about Ant. We were back and forth. As to what we should do? Should we go should we not go? And it really came to the crux where we were going to have to make a decision whether to pull the trigger. And I said, “right mate, we’re going to need to make a decision”. And Ant just said, “look mate, you just make a call, because I’ve got zero regard for my own safety.”

So we went. And it was savage in a totally different way to what I think either of us expected. The water situation out there was bad. We crossed northeast to southwest. There’s a thin strip of jungle that runs down the east coast. Once we got through the jungle, and we were kind of getting used to the jungle after Borneo and PNG, it was actually pretty good. We followed this river up to a plateau.

It was fairly beautiful with chameleons everywhere, lemurs and all of the things you’d think if you thought of Madagascar. Then we got this sort of big dusty arid platter. And we went across that and made our way down, the centre of the West was just a different story. It was people literally dying from starvation, dehydration and malnourishment and the plague.

We were yomping into these settlements, struggling ourselves with the heat and stuff, doing upwards of sort of a marathon distance a day. And having to try and ask these people for water. These people live in such horrendous conditions. I felt terrible trying to go into these places and ask for water and food. It really changed my perspective on my life, and how we live in the Western world.

Ant: There was another thing, when we went out there, we took enough, doxycycline which is like an anti-malarial. It’s an antibiotic, it covers a lot of things, but it’s also the cure for the plague. If you present with symptoms, they put you on a course of that straight away. So we were going into one settlement and we saw a young lad who had a few buboes under his armpit.

And we barely had enough to cover us in terms of the drugs that we needed, we had just a little bit over in case. We were going into these settlements where they were clearly some quite very unwell people, and we were left with no other choice for our own mental well being but to hand over the antibiotics we had for ourselves. We were faced with some quite tricky moral dilemmas a lot of the time out there.

TM: It sounds like it was a very different challenge to the other ones you went through?

Louis: Yeah, psychologically it was a hard one. Also, try eating warm mangoes for a few days on the trot and see how your guts get on with that. There was such little food, the previous year’s crop had failed, so the locals didn’t have a great deal. So, as we’re walking along, all there really was for us was an abundance of warm overripe mangoes that had fallen off the tree.

We picked them up, had a bite, got them down best we could. We’d sort of do that all day. And when we had to go – we called it the dropbox, when you’d feel your guts go – that was getting pretty painful and pretty regular at that point. So yeah. I haven’t managed to face a mango since.

TM: What about the wildlife you encountered. In Madagascar and the other places, you must have seen some of interest, or maybe had some encounters?

Louis: Oh, yeah. I mean, we’ve seen a lot in terms of Borneo and PNG. The main concern we had and what we were faced with quite a lot of the time was crossing rivers that had a substantial number of saltwater crocodiles in them. There aren’t a lot of bridges out there, the locals either use a boat or if they don’t have one, they’ll just swim across and you’re basically taking your life in your hand.

There were a few instances in Borneo where we saw quite a few saltwater crocodiles just near where we were going to be crossing the river. And it gave us pause for thought quite a lot. In Madagascar, obviously, a lot of the wildlife out there is unique.

Thankfully, there are no venomous creatures native to Madagascar, only scorpions and things that get brought in by outsiders, they have snakes, but they’re not poisonous. So you see chameleons and lemurs in the jungle, but once we hit the desert, in the centre, your fairly lucky to see anything.

TM: We’ve got to talk about Greenland. When you say Madagascar was a different challenge, this must have been very different again. In terms of the Arctic conditions, had either of you encountered that previously?

Louis: I never have. My first Polar experience was Greenland. It was a big one, in terms of what we’d got under our belt already. But I think the whole time, we’re very conscious that you if make a mistake in the jungle, you can kind of get away with it to a degree. But if we were to make a mistake on the ice cap, there’s real risk involved, and the chances are we would probably die.

So, there was a reason why we left the polar face to the back end of the expeditions, because we knew it would take a lot more prep, and we really need to be in a good place to go and do it.

But Ant really took the lead on the Greenland expedition in terms of training and figuring out exactly how it was going to roll. You went out to Norway didn’t you?

Ant: Yeah. So there’s a collective of Norwegian Polar explorers who are very unlike the Explorer class in Britain. They’re all quite happy to share information and things like that with each other. I got in touch with a gentleman called Petter Thorsen, who’s good friends with Boerge Ousland, the first man to cross Antarctica, he did it with a tide ski in the mid-90s. Absolute nails, like real deal here.

I’ve got in touch with this gentleman and said what we were planning and he said just come out and spend a few days with me. So I went out to his to learn how to put up a tent in hurricane-force conditions, how you fix your stove, real basic things, the things that out there you need to know.

We did a few days. And then he was like, “right, I’m going home, you can ski to mine.” And between where I was and his house was like 100 kilometres over a mountain range in winter in Norway. So it’s kind of like trial by fire. So I went out first night there was a massive storm. I put this tent up by myself. And then I tested our satellite phone. I phoned up Peter and he was like, “if you can get a tent up on your own in these conditions you will be fine in Greenland.” So I spent a good six weeks out in Norway at the start last year. And I was just getting drilled to death, it was like Rocky montage training.

Then around May, me and Louie both went back out there. And we just basically consolidated everything I’ve learned. Just so we were singing off the same song sheet. Because it’s not very difficult. It’s just you need to know certain pieces of information and how to do them right in order to survive out there.

It’s fairly basic, it’s completely different to trying to negotiate safe passage through jungle communities. I think that is very difficult. It’s just about following a series of rules, you know, and if you do then you’ll be ok. If you don’t you’ll come unstuck and you’ll die.

Louis: I think this is where the Royal Marines did give us a bit of an edge. We almost reverted back to doing what we know we can do and that is just following structure and keep doing it regardless of the circumstances around you.

We know that we can do our drills over and over and over again, whether that’s keeping your weapon clean in Afghanistan, or physical training, whatever the drill is, we know that we can stick to the drills, regardless of how dire the circumstances around us were.

So once Ant learned what drills we need to do and showed me those drills, it was just a case of doing the f**king drill and don’t stop doing them. The second you stop doing them, you don’t get out your bag to uncover the tent, or you don’t melt those two litres of water the night before. That’s when you f**k up. So, once we knew what to do, and we knew we just had to keep doing that. That’s sort of what we did.

TM: So, there was a lot of discipline involved?

Ant: Yeah. I mean compared with the other islands we had to change our approach several time. We had to be quite fluid with our approach to things. Because situations and the circumstances change quite a lot. And we have had to change how we approach things.

Whereas on the ice cap, the conditions, you know, even though they can be extremely hard and arduous, they don’t change a great deal. It’s either really windy and really cold or it’s not. You just approach everything as you would every time.

TM: But I guess there were still some hairy moments there as well?

Ant: Oh yeah.

Louis: There are probably two, or maybe more things actually that stick in my mind. And in fact, sometimes when I go to sleep, this still sticks in my head. One Ant took his skis off to do a bit of a recce and was walking over a snow bridge, and both feet at the same time went through this snow bridge, which was over a f**king huge crevasse, up to his waist.

He was just kind of dangling there. He looked at me with just a look of horror on his face. And this crevasse was a big one, that would have been him done, we weren’t roped together. He sort of managed to lean back and do a bit of a backstroke in the snow to get himself out. We went back and had a look down the hole and it was 200 metres at least, it was a monster.

So, there was that one and then coming through the crevasse fields on the west coast. I had real bad snow blindness in one eye, so my eye was covered up. We decided to push through the night to finish the expedition, it was on the last day.

I basically ended up going through this crevasse field blind in one eye in the dark, following Ant’s headtorch about 100 metres in front of me because I couldn’t stand the pain of light in my eyes.

Ant gave me the heads up that there was a particularly dodgy kind of reach line that dropped off this ice cliff into a riverbed. And basically, I’ve got it wrong and my poles went and they pulled me down this big bank. Luckily, the frozen river there had a pocket of air underneath. I whacked my head and both the pulks came down on me, I was knocked out in this frozen riverbed with snowblindness

Ant: I was just shouting down at him, “Louis, Louis”, there was nothing. Then all of a sudden I heard this voice shouting, “how did I get down here dude?” Then he stood up and he was like, “where’s my bergen?” And I said, “we haven’t been wearing a bergen for this whole journey.”

Louis: That could have easily gone way worse. If that was a solid bit of ice that would have been at the very best the solid brain injury. Or it could have been a deeper crevasse and that would have been the goodnight for me. So they’re two ones that really stick in my mind from Greenland.

Ant: I mean, with all these expeditions, the thrill in them for us and other people that are following what we’re doing is the risk that we put ourselves in. Obviously, we try and mitigate that as much as we humanly can, but there’s always going to be that element of risk if you’re going through crevasse fields or into these incredible places that people hardly ever get a chance to go to.

TM: How’s the relationship between you two been? I guess there must have been moments that must have tested your friendship a little bit?

Louis: Because it’s been such a journey in terms of not just the expedition, but also our lives back home. You know, Ant had mega frustrations with his work initially, finding jobs was hard for him.

And then just before the Madagascar expedition, I got a full-time job so that but strains on me and what I could do towards the expedition. So I think it’s not necessarily been just the on the ground expedition, spending time with Ant under high-pressure situations.

It’s a lot of the home shit that makes it tricky because we essentially live different lives when we’re back at home. But when we’re on the ground, if we have a disagreement, no matter how opposing our views are, we always make sure we kind of work it out. We’ve never had a fierce argument or anything like that. We might get f**cked off with each other and not talk in the morning or something like that, but we’ll be laughing, not long after.

Because what we’ve done is extremely dangerous and extremely hard for the both of us, we always have to make sure that we’re kind of agreed, even if one of us doesn’t want to do it.

TM: We need to finish by about talking about the final challenge, Baffin Island. It’s only the fifth island out of the five, so it should be a piece of cake right?

Ant: Yeah, you’d have thought so, but there’s a reason we left it till last. That’s because it’s probably the one that’s caused us the biggest amount of nightmares apart from Papa New Guinea. Logistically it will probably be the most difficult. It’s the only place on earth where they have a strong growing population of polar bears over the whole island.

And to top it off, we can’t get a shooter. So, at the minute we’re scratching our heads on how we’re going to do this challenge. Because the last thing we want to be is some polar bear’s dinner. We left it till after Greenland because we realised we were going to need to cut our teeth on Greenland in order to successfully cross this island.

Baffin Island
Baffin Island

Louis: Greenland is the second largest ice cap on the planet, so within reason, in the summertime, if you could get on and off the ice cap, you could walk or ski across it. It’s just getting up and down that’s tricky without the snow. Whereas Baffin Island, it’s very old ice caps. But the rest of the ground is made up of a rugged, mountainous tundra that does thaw out over the summer.

So we wouldn’t be able to carry the provisions we need on our back to get across it. Therefore that means we’re going to have to ski it and to ski it, we’re going to need snow cover which gives us a limited window of when the temperature is low enough. Which is basically winter or either side of winter

Obviously the depths of winter is 24 hours darkness and minus 60 odd with some nasty weather sounds flu. So, we really need to try and get it right in terms of the weather. There’s lots to think about with this one.

TM: So is this imminent? Or is it still in the planning stage?

Louis: I suppose it’s still very much in the planning stage. If things come together, from what I gather, you need really the beginning of winter or the back end of winter. So that gives us pretty soon, or February/March next year, and then we’d be back to this time 2020. So I guess there are those two windows each year.

TM: We like to ask for a piece of wisdom. Is there something you can share that you’ve learned from your sort of adventures?

Ant: I remember when we first decided we were going to do this challenge. We went down to Stanford Map shop and bought a load of different maps of all the places. And we didn’t really have a clue what we were doing.

One night we were trying to plan all the routes, plan how we were doing it. I remember just sitting there thinking, what the f**k have I got myself into?

It was such a vast challenge and I looked at it as one big challenge. And I think by going forward, no matter how big the challenge you set yourself is, if you break it down into its individual components, it makes it a whole lot more manageable and achievable. And that’s the big thing that I took away from this.

Louis: There are two things. One is humility for me. The planet can put you on your arse so easily, it humbles you pretty quickly. So, the ego side of things, regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, you can f**king lose that when it comes to doing things like this. It’s about being realistic and sensible, and doing your best to mitigate the risk.

The other thing is the big one from Greenland when I got overwhelmed by the situation. I just looked down at my boots, and I put one step one foot in front of the other. That would get me back on track.

Taking a positive action in the moment that’s manageable, would get me zeroed in again and I’d be able to start thinking about the next break in an hour’s time. It boiled down to me just getting one foot in front of the other and getting on with it.

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