In my dreams, an evening with Levison Wood would probably not involved hundreds of other people. In my dreams, an evening with Levison Wood would take place somewhere slightly more exotic than my home town of Huddersfield. And in my dreams, an evening with Levison Wood would just be one unforgettable night.
In reality though, stone cold reality, an evening with Levison Wood involved what must’ve been most of Yorkshire’s outdoor explorers, squashed into the beautiful Huddersfield Town Hall while listening to the man himself talk about his amazing adventures. Reality did coincide with my dreams here, it was a pretty unforgettable talk.
If, like me, you’re slightly obsessed with travel, you may have caught a programme on Channel 4 recently called Walking The Himalayas. If you didn’t GO WATCH IT NOW. It’s 5 hours of your life you won’t regret spending in front of a screen. It’s 5 hours of my life I happily gave to watch Levison Wood walk the length of the Himalayas. Through Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and then finally Bhutan. 1700 miles this guy covered with his friend Binod and we were the lucky ones that got to follow their adventure. Even if it was only an edited 5 hour version.
I was absolutely hooked. I’d seen Walking The Nile, a previous documentary where Levison went on a 9 month walk but Walking The Himalayas was just on a whole different level. The people he met, the experiences he went through, the disasters him and Binod survived. It was addictive, entertaining and informative television.
Now, it was while doing a little Twitter stalk and browse of his website that I found out Levison was doing a series of talks. Little Yorkshire me was thinking and planning how to get to London or somewhere across the country to see one of these talks but then I spotted one in Huddersfield. What a complete treat. Nothing ever seems to happen in Huddersfield apart from a few fights on a Saturday night. And at £5 a ticket, it was a steal.
A few weeks later, I hopped on the train to Huddersfield straight from work in Leeds, met with my Dad for a bite to eat and then wandered through the chilly town centre to Huddersfield’s Town Hall. We arrived early enough to get good seats and I’m glad we did because 10 minutes later the building was packed with hundreds of people. I settled in, got comfy – for about 3 minutes. The seats at the Town Hall are right back crunchers – and look around at this beautiful building in the centre of Huddersfield waiting for Levison Wood to walk out on stage. A few minutes later, he was introduced and it was time to hear all about his adventures.
Now I was expecting an evening of Walking The Himalayas chat but it was so much more. Not only did I get to here about tales of his trek along the Himalayas and the Nile but also about how his dreams of being an explorer began.
This part was something I found pretty inspirational. It seems that Levison’s journey kind of started from him sending a thank you note to a guy who returned his lost wallet, a guy who Levison happened to notice was in the army – career path that Levison was interested in at the time. The gentleman wrote back to this thank you letter and gave Levison some advice on joining the army and from there, that’s really where the adventure started. As I listened to his story I just kept nodding along, laughing and soaking up every fun story and tales of mishaps this guy has had. Through looking at pictures of his gap year at 18 years old, treks up snowy mountains with his soldiers, walking down endless roads in hot countries and reaching the end of his Himalayas trek, you couldn’t be anything less than impressed of how this guy had gone on to achieve what he has done and to say it was inspirational, well it’s an understatement.
Listening about his Walking The Himalayas adventure was also pretty amazing. The amount of preparation that goes into a walk like that is incredible and his obvious passion for Nepal was pretty contagious. So much so that that’s where my next adventure is to! It was already in the pipeline but let’s just say this talk got me completely stoked for 9 days of adventure. I won’t be doing anywhere near the amount of walking Levison Wood did but I’m sure going to be researching a few walks to do while I’m there.
If you’re interested in adventure travel, or just want to learn about something new or listen about an incredible journey or two, see if you can catch this guy talk. It’ll be an interesting hour of your time. I just wonder what path he would’ve gone down if he hadn’t have written a thank you letter to the guy who returned his wallet…
Have you been to see a talk by an inspirational traveller before? Did you watch Walking The Himalayas and find it as addictive as I did? Maybe I should write a thank you letter to Levison and see what journey I end up on…