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From 12 Years At A Desk To Full Time Adventurer

Jamie Ramsay had an epiphany after waking up at his desk after a drunken night out – this wasn’t the path he wanted to travel so he packed in his career and embarked on a brand new adventure

Disillusionment is a corrosive feeling, eating away at you while you continue to go through the motions of a life unfulfilled. Too often it’s accepted as just ‘the way things are’, because to break out of an entrenched status quo usually requires you to be bold, and occasionally even more than that: to burn down your comfort zone.

Disillusioned with his life in the City, Jamie Ramsay gave up job, laced up his trainers and set off on a 17,000km, solo, unsupported run from Vancouver to Argentina. It took year and a day of running, averaging 46.5km a day. Whatever else happened he knew he had left his comfort zone behind forever.

He has followed up his epic journey with other running challenges – including running the National Three Peaks – but he soon started to think about how to stretch himself even further, deciding to switch disciplines and cycle from the Brazil’s Atlantic coast to La Paz, Bolivia...

In 28 days I rode 3,700km with panniers – in 25 days, the Tour de France rides 3,500km

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Q: In 2017 you cycled solo and self-supported for 3,700km across Brazil, Paraguay and up into the Andes of Bolivia – what was the highlight?
A:
‘Cycling across the Salar de Uyuni, when it was covered in water. It's the largest salt flat in the world, and it was basically turned into a mirror, because there was no wind. It was just the whole of the sky, a couple of mountains on the horizon, but just completely like a mirror, and I was just cycling through water that came halfway up my wheels.’

Q: You’re know for just setting off without a detailed plan, so were you aware you aren’t supposed to be able to cross it when it’s flooded?
A:
‘I don't plan, so I didn't know that it was going to be covered in water, and when I got closer to Uyuni and started asking people, they said: “You can't cross. It's just not possible.” I had no map, no working GPS but I knew there was a tiny, tiny island about halfway across, so I knew I could camp 70 kilometres into it. The guides said: “You're not going to do it, but if you're going to do it, there's a mountain there – aim for that and keep in a straight line for the next six hours, and you should find the island.”’

Q: Did you make it across?
A:
‘When I got to the island, the whole bike, and my legs, were crusted in caked-on salt. There was a little lady who lived there. She'd set up this hostel, but obviously she'd closed it, because there was no one there. She asked: “Where did you come from?” “Well, I cycled here.” She goes: “You can't. It's not possible.” I went, “I'm here.” That was an absolute highlight for me because I'd proved people wrong, I'd proved myself right, and it was just spectacular. Just the beauty; you couldn't describe that beauty, or imagine it, before you went out there.’

Q: What were some of the challenges of the ride?
A:
‘I set the distances and the times based on roads, and they weren't roads, but I still delivered those distances. So, over 28 days, I did 3,700 kilometres. In twenty-five days, the Tour de France does 3,500km, but I have no physio, no support. I'm just doing it by myself. The challenge was being able to keep that going day in, day out.’

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Q: Once you got to the high Andes you must have had some some pretty tough climbs to do?
A:
‘Yes although one of those was another highlight – was a mountain climb that was 2500m or so of vertical, up. I was fully loaded with four panniers on. I started at the bottom, and I didn't stop until I got to the top, I just ground it out the whole way. I was thinking: “I've never done this before. I'm a runner.” Again, that's how I get the enjoyment out of proving to myself that I've achieved something, but it was breathtaking. You're going up, and up, and up, and then you get to the top and it's a flat plateau with just nothing there, apart from some Llamas walking around.’

Q: You’ve taken on a series of progressively harder journeys since turning down a different path – why is that?
A:
‘I worked in a job for 12 years I didn’t like, and I didn't push myself to any of the abilities I could have, and I went down the, “Let's get drunk and party” route. The reason I stayed in that job is I was too scared to go out of that comfort zone, that little safety nest that I'd been in for 12 years. When I got out of that and went for the big run, it was more like not being scared to challenge what I could do, so that kind of mentality is now what pushes me forward. It’s like, “Well, you've done this, now you can push it a bit harder.”’ What is abnormal to other people, is now my normal!’

Jamie Ramsey is sponsored by Land Rover Explore the outdoor phone – find out more at Landroverexplore.co.uk and follow him at @JamieIsRunning [Facebook / Instagram / Twitter]

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