Janapar – Tom Allen
I am a little hung over and in need of some excellent sleep for day 2 of my massage course tomorrow, but it must wait, since I need to tell the world about the most surprising, delightful, made-with-sheer-determination, creative and inspiring film that I have just this moment finished watching about a man called Tom Allen, who decided, not unlike Sean Conway, to cycle around the world after becoming fed up (as far as I can ascertain) with the expected sequence of mundane predictable money driven living.
I laughed, I cried a bit, I gasped, I shouted ‘oh dear!’ and ‘no way!’, and throughout, I was totally engaged by this honest, funny, refreshingly alive account of a real adventure with self shot cinematography.
Two of my favourite quotes from his on-the-road-made video diary, were so poignant or funny or both, that I had to pause the film to write them down:
other than it’s possible to cycle through it to get to Ethiopia, which is the
only knowledge I need. I reckon, anyway.
never in a straight line, that’s for sure.
I also don’t want to spoiler the film but ‘I have malaria. Oh dear’. *deadpan* was another keeper.
What I find most interesting about Tom, is the understanding it gives as to what it means to be an adventurer. It’s something that is banded around a lot these days, but I have recently found myself pondering what it really all means whilst exploring sites such as Challenge Sophie and Sean Conway.
We’ve had Ben Fogle, Bear Grylls, James Cracknall, Charlie Boorman and the wonderful dulcet tones of bearded Ewan and the like for a long time, and it’s been highly entertaining. But inspiration has been limited, since we know that these guys are celebrities and not short of a bob or 999 thousand and 99 other bobs. What’s different about Sean and Tom is the fact that these guys started with no money, no celebrity status, no drive to become a celebrity, ability to buy a mansion or star in a hollywood film, as far as I can tell. No, these guys started with a hunger for life. Not even to ‘seek adventure’ perhaps, but just exploring what it means to be able to smell, sense, feel the adrenaline in your tum, the elements on your face and fingers… all the things that mean you are mind-fully, tangibly, unmistakably ALIVE. Right now. And tomorrow too for that matter. Which is precisely the exact opposite to sitting on your numb arse in an air conditioned white box in the same position that you did yesterday and that you will tomorrow wishing your precious hours away so you can go home and sleep or get drunk to make it more exciting.
Isn’t that the real inspiration?
I wonder how much outside their fear comfort zones Tom and Sean were when they cycled through outback and desert alone. They did something extreme by my book (blog), but we can all decide to live, and it doesn’t have to involve catching a ferry to Syria with 800 cows ( seriously, you have to watch this film.) I’m thinking about The Trews and Russell Brand now, and Be a Free Range Human, and it’s all starting to make sense. I don’t know exactly what lies ahead for me, but I am now sure of one thing. Fear won’t stand in my way of being alive, and feeling, smelling, living and having an adventure every day. You can only truly begin to feel what it’s like on that wiggly road when you dare to get off the straight one. Do it!
Further reading on the matter of Adventure vs, Adventure. Excellent article.