Tom, I'm jealous. At just 21 your list of adventures is already more extensive than many would hope to achieve in a lifetime!
You've recently returned from America where you spent one month Stand Up Paddleboarding the Mississippi with Dave Cornthwaite's source to sea expedition. Having never been on a stand up paddle board before, you returned having paddled 1,120 miles and with a World Record under your belt! I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
Can you sum up the expedition for us in 3 words?
- Eye-opening, incredible, unforgettable
... Does eye-opening count as 1 word?!
How about your lowest low and your highest high? I bet there were a few of each!
- I had a few lowest moments, none were terrible but I was pretty miserable at times! At night the temperatures barely dropped from the high 40's they sometimes were during the day, this made sleeping in a tent, often filled with mosquitoes, extremely miserable; some nights you'd lie in a pool of sweat with buzzing around your ear and very little chance of sleep! The few times Dave and I argued were also low points, they didn't stay bad for long as we always quickly made up!
- One of the high points has to be the final day arriving in Memphis. We were joined by 20 odd local paddlers for the last 20 miles in to the city, we had small planes playing about over head, a TV helicopter come flying over Vietnam style, four News crews, a police escort and a lot of fun! My second favourite moment has to be the day we broke the World Record for the furthest paddled in a day on a Stand Up Paddleboard; 77.2 miles in 13 hours and 55 minutes - quite a day as we finished well after dark with head torches blazing!
Lets rewind a few years, what was your childhood ambition? Have you always loved adventure?
- I wasn't a child that long ago so I can remember very well luckily! From the age of 6 I wanted to Captain the England cricket team, something I won't be doing but I've always had an obsession for cricket, perhaps more than adventure - I played to a good level as a boy/teenager and still play regularly today! Adventure has always been another feature; the army was always a realistic option for a career path (and still is after university, maybe) and I grew up walking in the Lake District and Wales (where my father proudly traces our family, being an Evans!). My gap year really kick started my life in adventure as I randomly decided to cycle the Coast to Coast solo before flying off to Africa for four months, where I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and later travelled to Thailand and Cambodia before starting university a month later. Everest has been a love of mine since I was a boy; Dad proudly telling me that he went to the same school as the great Sandy Irvine; Everest and Mallory & Irvine are topics I pride myself on knowing a hell of a lot about, I'll climb Everest some day!
Can you name one of your heroes/mentors?
- One is hard to pin down in terms of heroes; I have cricketing heroes and adventurous heroes but I'll leave the cricket out here, don't worry! Mallory and Irvine, along with Scott and Shackleton, were great British men I'd love to use as inspiration for my career in adventure, they really define the greatest period in Britons history! More modern names such as Chris Bonnington and Ranulph Fiennes offer great inspiration too. Historical heroes include Nelson and Wellington, William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King - they all changed the face of the world, musically I love everything to do with Bob Marley!
- Mentors-wise I'm lucky enough to be working closely with Adventurer Dave Cornthwaite; he's taught me a lot, particularly while we were on the Mississippi, and will hopefully continue to do so!
Who has the most influence on your life?
- Myself; I definitely make my own decisions (rightly or wrongly) but other than that I'm very close with my family and am lucky to have a handful of extremely close friends who I'd always listen to!
What event in the past, or future, would you most like to witness/experience in person?
- I'd have loved to have been on the 1924 Everest expedition, if Mallory and Irvine had survived that is! I'd like to be around when Fossil fuel supplies run out so I can say 'I told you so' to my friends!
Where would you most like to travel that you haven't yet been to?
- I've been lucky enough to have travelled to 28 countries on 5 continents so far; the obvious answer would be the two remaining continents of South America and Antarctica - Antarctica being a place I'd do absolutely anything to reach.
What do you miss most when you are away?
- Mum's cooking and food in general!
And lastly, what is top of your list for your next birthday??! ...friends and family take note ;)
- As ever the latest outdoor gear would be great - I'm starting to get a lot for free now though!
Tom, thank you so much for your time and sharing with us!
If you would like to read more about Tom's adventures and keep up to date with future plans, check out: http://www.exceedpossibility.co.uk