My name is James Saward-Anderson and I am infected.
I contracted the virus when I was very young, joining my parents as they played music across the world. I was always the child which came back dirtiest, with the most scratches after embarking on "missions" to explore the deepest darkest depths of the forests near to my old home . As a school child the infection would compel me to obsess over maps of the world and inspire me to write detailed plans of future adventures.
This infection did not only infect me, but whole cross sections of society throughout history, its classic symptoms?
Restlessness with the conventional model of life, an itching desire to explore and a insatiable thirst for excitement. Sufferers are often seen climbing mountains, cycling across continenents and even rowing across oceans. The infection has been responsible for the wonderful tapestry of human exploration into the unknown. At the smaller level, it is the reason why people put themselves through the almost sadistic ritual of watching horror films, they want to be be scared, to be vaulted into the volatile realms of the unknown.
Some people may experience symptoms such as a strong desire to partake in extreme sports such as bungy jumping or base jumping. But they are different routes towards the same destination, the sensation of the drawing of energies and thoughts into the present moment, a surge in adrenaline, a momentary feeling of terror which serves to remind us that we are alive and not just organic machines fulfilling our duties given to us by our superiors.
What is this infection? You ask with baited breath. It is the unique and most human like of traits, the insatiable drive of curiosity.
Curiosity is what drove my inaugural voyage into ultra endurance running. Me and my friend Max had always dreamed of travelling across the world since we were school children, when we left college we adorned our backpacks bought our tye- dyed t-shirts and joined the ranks of the gap years masses. But when we returned we wanted more. So in the summer of 2011, we decided to embark on a journey across Europe. Not by car, not even by bike but by foot. From Canterbury, England to Rome Italy. If this didn't sound epic enough, we proclaimed to the world that we would be doing it in under 60 days, with no support team, barley any money and not a clue what to expect. We craved adventure, and by god did we get it! The trip was life chancing experience, which will stay with me forever.
"Be The Hero Of Your Own Movie"- Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan coined this phrase during one of his podcasts and it has really stuck with me ever since I first heard it. We all have our favourite films, mine growing up were Indiana Jones, The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In some way I have incorporated elements of these films into my own life movie. Granted I am not dodging bullets, or fighting Orcs but I am embarking on adventures across the world, and train regularly in Martial Arts. And with the advancement of technology is the concept of our lives becoming a movie so hard to believe? It could well be possible that each and everyone of us will have a "highlight" video played of our entire lives when we die, as they become stored onto sites such as Facebook. What will your highlight video consist of? Will you embrace your curiosity and undertake your own adventure, or will you succumb to fear and life a life based on the desire of others?