“I live an absolutely beautiful life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. If I wasn’t living this life, I think I’d be trying to”, says Dave Cornthwaite who is now a successful adventurer, published author and motivational speaker. But it was not always like this.
Up until 2005, Dave worked as a Graphic Designer in Swansea: “I followed societies path: I went to University and ended up doing a job that utterly stole my soul. I was one of the most miserable 25 year olds you would ever have met. [When I wasn’t working] I played PlayStation for 12 hours a day for about 3-4 years. I woke up after every session realising that I had literally been living in a virtual world”. It wasn’t until “I woke up on the morning of my 25th birthday and my cat was sitting on my chest; I realised that on paper I was a successful western adult: I had a house, a well paid job, a long term partner and a cat; but, the only one of those things I really loved was the cat! And, as I looked into her big green eyes, I realised she was about to have a much better day then I was!”
It changed my life.
Dave had not long taken up skateboarding and it was after one particular session, “I realised that this town I had been living in for 6 years felt completely different and it was just because I was travelling around it in a different way, a new way. I had a different perspective”. It made him think; “If I can re-discover my own town then I can re-discover the World”. Two weeks later he quit his job and the life that he knew and vowed to take on the Guinness World Record for the longest ever journey made by skateboard. It took him 4500 miles across Australia from Perth to Brisbane via Adelaide and Sydney, he completed it in 156 days.
This lead him to devise his own plan, Expedition 1000, made up of 25 journeys of at least 1000 miles in length using non-motorised, human-powered transport: “I have completed 11 so far that’s over 19000 miles under my own steam: skateboard, kayak, tandem bike, stand up paddleboard, sail boat, swimming and the list goes on and on”. He now makes his money by “speaking fees and book sales. I’ve started to look at other options as well. I think more sponsorship is on the way in”. He goes on to say: “I earn a fraction of what I used to, but the absolute key for me isn’t how you earn your money, it’s how little you spend”. He doesn’t have any permanent dwellings and spends 10-months of every year on the road: “If I had a house and a [conventional] job I definitely couldn’t afford to do what I love”.
His life couldn’t be anymore different with his hard work paying off: “I’ve managed to turn travel, adventure, writing and filmmaking into a job, I’m totally freelance, I travel all over the world and get paid to do epic things” and he owes all this to a skateboard: “It changed my life. All it takes is the tiniest catalyst and off you go!”