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Chasing adventures

What made you leave the corporate life and pursue a career as an endurance adventurer, life coach, humanitarian and motivational speaker?

I think we’re all born with a purpose. Somewhere along the way we get caught up in the expectations of society to get a degree, get married, have kids, a secure job, life insurance, etc. I was half-way there, but I never really felt like I belonged and neither did I feel in any way fulfilled.

Towards the end of 2016, I had this nagging, gut-wrenching sensation that kept urging me to do something more with my life. A feeling that where I was, was no longer nourishing my heart and soul; that I needed to reinvent myself and focus more on a deeper purpose to inspire, to motivate and to make a
difference to humanity.

Having been intricately involved in business partnerships and two small start-ups over the years, I had the intellectual know-how to build a business model around ‘me’ in terms of personal branding.

My main driving force for doing this? As a kid growing up, I struggled with dyslexia, ADD and chronic fatigue (in later years).

The one place I truly felt alive, focused, and in control was when I was pushing myself physically and mentally in endurance and competitive sports. And if I could overcome these challenges and become part of a cause and awakening greater than myself as an individual, I wanted to share this with others so that they too can pay it forward – and hopefully we can one day all live in a kinder, gentler and more humane world. In 2017 it all started. I got on a mountain bike and cycled solo unsupported to Cairo. It was an unbelievable experience with some insane moments!

My endeavours have generated overwhelming support and coverage from local and international media. Being back in Johannesburg, this has afforded me opportunities to speak on stage and focus more on my corporate team-building content.

What are the core causes you support?
I supported Missing Children South Africa for a few years as ambassador, and the Syntro-P Wellbeing programme which promotes quality health and wellbeing through a holistic, integrated and connected technological means. There are a lot of charities/NPO’s out there, and I believe it’s essential to support a cause that resonates with you on a personal level. In my opinion, the only value system we all should focus on is caring for humanity and our planet.

How do you overcome challenges mentally?
I accept my current situation and the risks involved because there will always be high levels of danger when embarking on a challenge. Another tool I use is to tell myself that it could be physically and mentally far more challenging. Therefore, the current conditions are perfect – good or bad

Would you describe yourself as fearless?
Fear isn’t a bad feeling. It enables us to function at our highest vibration. So, the next time you are really afraid to do something, or it gives you butterflies, move into it, not away from it. “Courage is the ability to have strength in the face of pain and grief”.

What was your most challenging travel experience?
Swimming from Ilha de Mozambique Island solo to the mainland, just because I’m not a good swimmer. Just the idea of the unknown that was lurking beneath me was interesting.

What would you say is the highlight of your endurance adventure career thus far?
The one constant is the people – locals and travellers alike. It’s because of those connections, whether brief or still active, that I remember moments more fondly with detail. Beyond mental memories, travel photos are better with the human element. It gives it character and a story. After all, all we have in the end is our memories.

What has been the most surprising factor for you?
I would say it’s support. I’ve really been blessed with incredible media coverage, such as DSTV and SuperSport’s 10-minute documentaries; as well as endorsements and sponsorships from some of the most sought-after global brands.

What have been some key learnings?
Exploring the entire continent of Africa, travelling in its truest form an exasperating place, a melting pot of culture, the environment and extraordinary African people. Africa is varied and diverse, consisting of a mixture of tribes that each have their own unique characteristics; a product of the diverse populations that today inhabit the continent of Africa.

How do you prepare to take on extreme challenges?
I reverse engineer my finish line and block out time and distance, so I don’t think cumulatively. For example, preparing mentally for the Cape to Cairo I told myself “I’m not cycling to Cairo”, and rather unpacked it into modular stages. Therefore, I only focused on each stage at a time.

What are the pros and cons of embarking on these adventures solo?
When you’re out there on your own, carrying a 15kg backpack while running or cycling insane distances, with daily calculated food and hydration portions, strategy and intuition become the two most important survival skills. The pro is achieving what you set out to accomplish… and coming back in one piece.

Tell us a bit about your business.
Get Lost Adventures, an extreme adventure business targets the exclusive VIP market, offering limited people the opportunity to participate in a team building adventure. This venture represents my entrepreneurial spirit, which combines with my love for adventure – it is through this platform I help people embrace and enjoy adventure while improving themselves.

Favourite place?
Each country I have visited in Africa has been equally special in its own unique way, shape and form, from culture to the people to the environment. In SA I enjoy the Wild Coast and the East coast because of the climate, energy, and flora and fauna.

What is your next adventure?
I would love the opportunity to summit K2, trek to the South Pole or row across the ocean solo and unsupported. I have to consider budget and ROI as it’s a business. On my last extreme challenge partnership with Syntro-P Wellbeing, we generated over R9.2 million in PR value and R6.2 million in media reach in 30 days. Being back in SA I am looking forward to forging new partnerships, sponsors and motivational talks.

Business card: www.vip.beepdsmart.com/card/gaven-sinclair-adventures

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