Saying goodbye to life as a "really bad" graphic designer opened up a world of opportunity for Dave Cornthwaite. Now a record-breaking adventurer and bestselling author, Dave follows his passions as part of the glorious pursuit of enjoying Mondays.

His heartwarming book Life in the Slow Lane is one of our favourites. Take the time to read it and you might just find yourself rethinking your own priorities in life.

So Dave, we're dying to know, how did you get into the adventure scene?

It wasn't intentional. After a couple of years in a job I became disconcerted with the idea of filling my house with stuff just because I had money to buy things and space to put it in. I hated my job and wasn't very good at it, and my relationship was faltering too.

But I needed more than a holiday and slowly the idea of doing a big endurance journey formed. Time on the road to think, creating a story that maybe I could be proud of, and achieving something unique. As a totally ordinary bloke I felt like I wanted to add some strings to my bow and some appreciation of how valuable time could be - something that is practically impossible when you spend all day working for money or playing computer games.

Eventually I happened across the idea of longboarding (on wheels), and a couple of weeks after trying it out I quit my job and decided to skate further than anyone else ever had.

It was the sanest decision of my life. I took off, skated the length of Britain and then across Australia, breaking a couple of records, raising tens of thousands for charity, making a whole world of new friends and getting a first book deal along the way.

Nine years on, I'm eleven journeys into a project called Expedition1000. In between I run a life-fulfilling brand called SayYesMore, encourage people to get outdoors and find their potential, write books, make films and tour around the world as a speaker.

In fact, I go on my big adventures so I can have a rest!

Expedition 1000 sounds exciting, what else can you tell us about it?

Expedition1000 is my big, ambitious life/career aim. It involves 25 different journeys, each one over 1000 miles in distance and each one using a different form of non-motorised transport. This keeps me inspired and focused, and also serves as a good remedy to the post-expedition blues that can come along after a big project or journey.

Of the eleven that I've completed so far the most formative was becoming the first person to stand up paddleboard down the Mississippi River. It took 82 days, taught me so much about people and myself, and gave me endless thinking time to realise what was important to me.

Staying true to that is so key to living a life that you love.

That sounds like excellent advice. How do you actually go about planning your adventures?

I think, 'Ooh, that would be awesome.' Then I write a list of things I need to make it happen and a few days later I'll be off.

There is usually very little planning, no looking at pictures, just living in the moment and proving that all these excuses that we use to delay the inevitable are a bit silly. I don't train for anything either, I just make sure I travel a little slower in the first few days so I learn what the heck I need to be doing!

Learning as you go, given all the adventures you've been on, I bet you've learned a lot?

I've learned that time is more important than money, to never believe what you think, and not to say no unless there's something to say yes to. There's nothing more important than spending time with good people in nature.

Now there are some wise words to live by! With that in mind, what's the best advice you've ever been given?

A chap named Paul Deegan (super inspiring bloke who I'll always be grateful to for giving me some time when I was finding my feet) told me to always play my strongest hand first. After dwelling on this for a while I decided that I didn't agree and that I should go and do a journey which felt right.

Being able to ignore people I respect and stick to my guns and still make it work gave me the confidence to trailblaze a career in adventure.

Bold stuff! Can you perhaps provide some tips of your own for people interested in doing what you do?

Stop talking and start doing! Give yourself a project or YesList to start living by. Start by spending time with other, like-minded people. You could come along to an adventure-related event or even sign up to YesTribe.

For those who aren't considering a career in adventure and just want to do something unforgettable, what one experience or adventure do you think should be on everyone's UK bucket list?

Firstly, I hope you don't mind, but while I think the concept of a 'list' is a really important motivator, calling it a bucket list basically means death is the primary motivator - which is awful!

I'd rather call it a YesList, and ensure there are some deadlines, like 'complete 52 new things this year.'

I think everyone should go for at least one big adventure in their lifetime, and travelling from John O'Groats to Lands End (or the other way round) is a must. There are so many different landscapes and challenges, and you get a chance to see our backyard from a new perspective.

We love the idea of a YesList! Are there any tips you can give to help encourage others to get started with their own micro adventure?

Just start off small. Go and camp on a hill a short train ride from your work. Do this a few times, take different people each time, then expand. Go for a weekend. Set yourself challenges which are cool, tough and satisfying without eating into your annual leave.

You've been all over the world, but where is your favourite place in the UK?

Cornwall. Not only are the hills terrifically punishing, but the people are good, the countryside is impossibly pretty and there are loads of fields and forests to find a nice wild camping spot.

We're definitely with you on that, wild camping is a joy. Do you have any particularly memorable camping experiences you could share with us?

This is SUCH a hard question to answer! I've camped out thousands of nights, but have an endless fascination for travelling on water and pulling up spontaneously on an island, riverbank, beach or sandbar to spend a night.

If I HAVE to pick one, it'd be Scandinavia, I took a Hobie Pedal Kayak from Oslo to Helsinki last summer and I camped on islands almost every night. It was gloriously peaceful and beautiful.

That sounds fantastic! Who's the ideal type of person to share these experiences with?

Someone endlessly positive who is also comfortable with spending time in silence. With an attitude to get stuff done, see their own faults and giggle at them. No ego, just an enjoyment of life and the bandwidth to think for their travel companion as much as themselves.

Travelling with the right companion certainly makes all the difference, but if you could invent one thing to make your trips easier, what would it be?


Now that would be cool! Is there a must-have gadget you always take with you on a trip?

My iPhone. I film with it and use it to communicate, write and edit. It's my story-sharing device.

... and finally, what's the strangest thing you always pack?

It's not so strange, but I always take pillow. People always laugh at that, but nothing is more important than a good night of sleep. Forget a creased item of clothing or a rucksack. Give me a fine down pillow every time!

Fascinating stuff, thanks so much for taking part Dave.

You can follow Dave's adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There's also a cool video of highlights from his Expedition1000 escapades on Youtube. Epic!