When it comes to adventure, it’s safe to say that George Bullard is a man in the know.
At 14, he swam the English Channel. At 19, he completed the world’s longest, fully unsupported polar journey of all time (something Sir Ranulph Fiennes described as ‘genuinely ground-breaking’). He was the first person to kayak from Greenland to Scotland. And alongside his countless extra-ordinary journeys, he is a Head Ambassador for IGO Adventures.
What ignited your passion for adventure?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a green field. I would walk out the front door in the morning and not return until I was wet through and too cold to talk – or if I was being chased by a bull that I naively tried to ride!
Many people can pick one life changing moment that made them live a more fulfilled life, like an illness or a tragedy of some description. I believe that I was exceptionally lucky to realise that if we live until we are 80 years old, we have approximately 700,000 hours on this planet (half of which you sleep for!). If that doesn’t inspire you to live, then I don’t think anything can!
Tell us three highlights or memorable moments you experienced whilst travelling?
- Returning home after breaking the record for the longest unsupported Arctic journey of all time. I was only 19 and could just about grow facial hair. I sneezed and it all fell out!
- Spending time on the sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia. A phenomenal place where animals rule the roost.
- Arriving into Scotland having kayaked across the north Atlantic Ocean. Nobody thought we could do it – when we had finally arrived into Scotland, it was a huge relief.
How to you overcome the challenges you face when travelling in such extra-ordinary destinations?
There are two secrets:
Firstly, proper prior planning prevents poor performance.
Secondly, NEVER give up….
What should everyone know about being on an expedition?
Life on an expedition isn’t always like it is on Instagram. There will be some real moments of elation, but there will also be some moments of despair. Learn to switch on all your senses, because when it is over and your experience becomes just another distant memory, you will need to create those moments in your head that you will remember for a lifetime. I would always encourage people to go with someone on an expedition. Share that journey and make it something that really brings you closer together as a team.
How can you as, an explorer, shift people’s perception and bring awareness about sustainability?
I think there are plenty of ways you can alter people’s perception. From having a presence online to giving talks and presentations, there are plenty of ways to spread the word.
When deciding where to go on your own personal travels, what is important to you?
For me, the most important thing is that you feel a little exposed – maybe even a little apprehensive or scared. It doesn’t have to be a massive six-month journey crossing of the ocean; it can be as simple as stepping outside. If I had to recommend anywhere it would be to do something small like an IGO – a weekend adventure challenge. (As Head Ambassador of IGO Adventure, please enjoy a 10% discount with them IGOBA10GBPRESS, whoop!)
For me, adventure is…
Leaving the front door!
To inspire your next journey, join us at Connections Adventure, 27-30 October 2019.
Follow George’s journey: @georgebullardexplorer #hibernever