Just over 10 years ago, my best friend Rob Gauntlett and I set out to try and become the first people ever to travel from pole to pole using only human and natural power. Part of our vision was to try and share our experiences with as many people as possible so that they would have a chance to see the wonderful things we came across as well as feel our fears and difficulties first hand. In order to achieve this, we carried many kilos of video equipment with us along the whole 40,000 km route and tried to shoot as much as possible, both for our blog at the time and with the aim of creating a documentary about our expedition for others to watch. Knowing that other people would be able to share our experiences was one of the biggest motivations we had for carrying on when the times got tough. Literally, blood, sweat and tears went into filming that footage in order to tell the story. Unfortunately, we arrived home having finished the expedition into the middle of the financial crisis, and our hopes to make a documentary were dashed until better economic times. Then less than a year later, Rob died in a tragic climbing accident in the French Alps, pulling the bottom out of my world and devastating Rob’s family. Focussing on how to get through each day was enough of a challenge, and everything else was forgotten. Rob never did get to tell the story of his life’s greatest accomplishment.
Now 10 years later, the One Mile Closer Project created in Rob’s memory has inspired hundreds of people to have their first adventure through cycling across Europe and Asia, and through this Rob’s memory has provided education to more than 700 pupils currently studying at the school built in his memory in Uganda. Rob’s story has made this huge difference to so many peoples lives, but the story he was so keen to tell has yet to be told.
I need to tell Rob’s story, not only to honour our friendship but to help his memory continue to inspire others to embark on their own adventures. Finally, I have an opportunity to try and do this, but I need support to make it happen. Please lend a hand and help Rob tell us his story, the story of a great adventure.
– James N Hooper