This Everyday Adventurer Says Being First Isn’t Everything
Most of us dream of a life beyond the 9-5, but Tim Moss actually acted on it in small ways and then bigger ones to go Around The World In 80 Ways, walk across Patagonia, make first ascents of remote Russian mountains, and cycle 13,000 miles
In our competitive, connected world it’s easy to think ‘biggest and best or nothing at all.’ But sometimes you need to look at your dreams laterally to bring them into reach. Tim Moss was working as an accountant when he started to think that life should have more to offer than the 9-5.
Rather than waiting for adventure to find him, he and his wife used their own ingenuity and imagination to seek it out. From brilliant ‘everyday adventure’ firsts like running the length of every tube line, to far flung adventures on mountains emerging from the old Soviet Union, Moss soon had a portfolio of adventures under his belt.
He has combined whimsical ideas like setting a World Record for the longest journey by rickshaw (it was 1,000 miles) with ambitious targets like the first ascent of a 6,000m peak in Kyrgyzstan – he admits to spending that trip terrified after self-arresting several falls down the steep snow with his ice axe. So, what does has a life of adventure told Moss about the benefits of pushing past your comfort zone?
We trekked across Wahiba Sands carrying our own water and it felt like we were on
Q: That said, you have done some first ascents of mountains too?
A: ‘I’ve done a few trips to try and climb new mountains but even at my peak I was never a pro climber, so the niche was finding mountains in obscure areas, like Russia’s Altai mountains. The novelty of it is not coming home and shouting that you are the first guy on this peak, but the exploratory feel. You don’t have a guide book so you don’t know if it’s easy or hard, or how to get up. I really like the feeling that you have to explore your own way.’
Q: Part of adventure is going outside your comfort zone, to explore your limits – is that important for you?
A: ‘I have explored physical limits, like cycling or walking up sand dunes carrying heavy packs – seeing how hard you can go and come out the other side. Sometimes pushing how much misery you can handle, how cold you can get or little you can eat, how long you can keep trudging on. There’s a sort of masochistic pleasure from doing that and then coming back to the modern world where everything is nice and easy – I enjoy that contrast.’
Q: We often associate adventure with isolation but what about the people you meet on a around the world trip?
A: ‘Yes, you also push personal, social limits. On our around the world cycling trip we spent so many nights staying with other people because you’re invited into their homes – one of the difficulties is being a polite guest in rural Turkey or wherever. I’m not a natural extrovert but I was spending night after night entertaining families and kids with Google Translate or my ukulele, stuff you’d never do in normal life, and I really enjoy that.’
Q: Can you pick out a particularly glorious moment in an adventure?
A: ‘One was in the Wahiba Sands. We timed it for a full moon so we could walk at night but during the day it must have been getting to 50°C. It was a real slog but I remember waking up on the final morning and stopping on top of a dune at sunrise. All we could see in any direction was rolling sand dunes. It was like another planet. You couldn’t see another soul and you just felt like the King of the World. I felt it was such a privilege – you could have driven there in a 4x4 and had the same view, but after walking there for two days you felt like you had earned it, and could really appreciate it.’
‘With The Sun On Our Right’, Tim Moss’s new book about his around the world cycle is now available from www.thenextchallenge.org/books/sun/