In 2012 I started the Why Not? Adventure Film Festival to share adventure sport stories from Ireland and around the globe. In an effort to encourage people to undertake more of their own adventures. No matter how small. Ironically the very person these films inspired was me. And it’s been life changing.
In June 2013 Why Not? Adventure Film Festival hosted a Bike Week Film Night in Galway City, Ireland; kindly funded by those wise folk at the Galway Transportation Unit. We screened two feature length films and several shorts. One of the film’s we screened was called ‘Janapar: Love on a Bike’ by Tom Allen. It was a big hit with our audience. Including myself and then fiancée, now wife, Mary. Tom also wrote a book of the same title which goes into more detail than the film. It’s a fantastic read. I found it hard to put down and once finished felt this real longing for a big adventure that I hadn’t felt in a few years.
Five months later, as part of the annual Why Not? Adventure Film Festival tour we screened the Irish premiere of Matchstick Productions and Red Bull Media House’s Mc Conkey in four different locations. To me it’s one of two of the best adventure sport documentaries I’ve ever seen. The other being Stacy Peralta’s surf classic ‘Riding Giants’. ‘Mc Conkey’ is about the life and death of legendary free-skier and BASE jumper Shane Mc Conkey. It’s truly inspiring. And sad in ways. But not tragic. I don’t think it’s tragic to die doing something you love.
Mc Conkey in particular had a big impact of me. For months afterward, whenever I’d find myself intimidated by a big swell or swollen river I’d ask myself “what would Mc Conkey do?” To which the inevitable reply was usually ‘he’d man up and stop being such a wuss’. It generally worked.
Both of these films had a big impact on my me; and Mary. It was time for a change and a challenge. The whole reason I started WNAFF was to share other people’s inspiring stories and hopefully inspire others to seek out their own adventures. No matter how small. Ironically the very person these films inspired was me. And it’s been life changing.
Below is an email I sent a few days ago to Tom, who wrote and filmed Janapar; Love on a Bike. I think it sums up best the effect his film (and Mc Conkey) had on both Mary and I.
If anyone has any comments or has had similar experience, please share them in the comment section below.
Yours in adventure,
----EMAIL TO TOM----
Happy New Year(ish) and greeting from sunny Buenos Aires.
You kindly gifted your film ‘Janapa’r for our Bike Week Film Night that we ran in Galway, Ireland during June 2013. Our audience was totally inspired and captivated by Janapar. So was I. And my wife. What a story. Read the book too! Loved it.
In fact I was so inspired by ‘Janapar’ that both myself and my wife (of one year) decided that we needed a big adventure. Almost exactly one year after we had first watched and read Janapar we had quit our ‘safe’ jobs, cleared our debt and were standing in Dublin airport about to begin a 12 month round the world adventure; beginning with a 2,200km cycle ride through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. We ditched the bikes in S.E.Asia, made our way to Australia and New Zealand where we spent 2.5 months tramping it’s South Island. We are now in beautiful Buenos Aires, about to rent an apartment for 3 months, learn Spanish, Tango, eat steak and drink too much Malbec. We’re counting our lucky stars that we took the chance on this adventure. It’s been amazing. And it’s not over yet!
I just wanted to say thanks for making Janapar and writing the book. It was and is such an inspiration to us. And many others. We’re never going to regret giving up our jobs for this experience. On our death beds we’ll never wish we’d spent another day in the office. But this experience will stay with us for a lifetime.
Graham & Mary.
Janapar: Love on a Bike.
This blog post is supported by Landon Carver, training consultants.(www.landoncarver.com). Landon Carver design, develop and deliver EU funded work placement opportunities for Irish Outdoor Adventure/Education and Activity participants. They’re frick’in awesome!
“Landon Carver's work placement programmes are the best thing to happen to outdoor instructors in Ireland in years.” - Russell Pullin, Delphi Adventure Resort
Well done, very inspriring Graham and great that your initaitve to inspire others inspired you and Mary. such an amazing adventure. Reading this sitting eating my breakfast before work makes me want to run off to Argentina and learn the tanto, I am learning spanish so just maybe .... have a ball :)Reportposted by elaine doyle Friday, 30 January 2015 08:26 Comment Link