5 - 9 things to read/listen to this month

Here you will find the teams’ recommendations on all things adventure and /or mental health. There will be between 5 and 9 recommendations each month but we’ll kick you off with 9 because we’re good like that.

1. Jungle — Yossi Ghinsberg The first ‘adventure’ book I picked up. Yossi writes of a trip he took with some friends into the Amazon rainforest in the 1980s. He had more adventure than he was hoping before and remarkably lives to tell the tale. This is a truly gripping story, his survival is astonishing and I highly recommend it. Please don’t watch the film first. 

2. Through Sand and Snow— Charlie Walker Charlie spoke at our first event and if you missed this, I’m sorry. He was a fantastic speaker and it wasn’t a surprise to see half of the audience queuing up to buy his book about the first leg of his journey. After a drunken bet, Charlie decided to cycle to the furthest points of Europe, Asia and Africa and with little training set out on his four year journey. Having previously worked for a year in journalism, he writes well and this is an easy read. But if reading isn’t for you and you have the chance to hear him speak, then take it. A remarkable journey undertaken by a normal guy. 

3. Free Solo — Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi I see your ‘Dawn Wall’ and I raise you ‘Free Solo’. It felt hard just watching Alex Honnold’s training and preparation to scale Yosemite’s El Capitan - without a safety rope. That’s 3000ft with your bare hands and nothing to catch you. Whether you climb or not this is worth watching, Honnold alone is a fascinating man and you will be awestruck by his determination/madness. The real world’s answer to Spiderman.

4. Momentum Generation — Jeff and Michael Zimbalist  If you like surfing and you haven’t seen this film yet, please give yourself a shake and move it to the top of your list. Unlike many surfing films, this gets a little bit more personal, showing what was behind the ups and downs of some of the world’s greatest surfers.

5. Living Adventurously — Alistair Humphreys The godfather of microadventure has released a podcast where he cycles around the country interviewing a huge variety of people; from Michelin star chefs to teachers, paralympians to barefoot runners. He explores what adventure means to them and how their curiosity has lead them along different journeys. It’s unedited and that makes it completely charming — pick from 40 interviewees in the first series. 

6. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life — William Finnegan One of Kinga’s top 5 favourite books and one of her inspirations to quit her job and go on her own world journey. A beautiful memoir about a surfer dedicating his life to finding the perfect wave. This is a proper adventure book that spans decades intertwining love and life lessons learned while wandering around the world and learning to settle down alongside a tumultuous love affair with the ocean.

7. Ocean Of Fire: From The Garden Of Allah To Timbuktu — Robert Christopher, Erik Martin I found this book on a shelf in a hostel I was living in while I was in Mozambique. Very random, but a great find. Another adventure story about crossing the Sahara to reach Timbuktu just for the hell of it. Brilliant story that reminds us that the journey really is as important as the destination! (Kinga)

8. Meru— Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi Alpine climbing documentary about the first ascent of the Shark’s Fin route on Meru Peak by Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk. Other than the insanely stunning visuals in this film, the story of overcoming massive mental and physical obstacles to overcome a (literal) mountain is so inspiring it will make everyone want to go climb their own mountain. (Kinga)

9. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober — Catherine Gray If you like many of the nation are going to be embarking on “Dry January” 2020 then this is worth a read straight after Christmas. The books starts with Catherine, a successful London journalist spending a night in a jail cell and realising that her drinking habit has got a little out of hand. Maybe you haven’t ended up in a jail cell yet, but I guarantee this will make stopping for the first four weeks of the year A LOT easier (and you won’t have to ban yourself from going out all together). Catherine writes with great humour and makes some stark observations that just might have you questioning whether you want to pick up the bottle again in February. I read it last year and it changed the way I drink for the better.

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