Everyday Adventurer Jon Maiden – 'Exploring. Dreaming. Discovering'

Ten years ago, while at university, I first came across this quote. It had an instant impact, inspiring me to shun the traditional graduate recruitment route in favour of spending two years working abroad in South Africa and Poland.

A few years passed and the quote stayed with me as I sought out challenging and ambitious professional projects to keep my days busy and rewarding. But then a few more years passed…

This quote was no longer with me. The years were passing too quickly. Something was missing in my life. I was beginning to regret the things I wasn’t doing.

It was then I decided to fully embrace the spirit of adventure.

Short walks became long hikes. Nights in a hostel became weekends in a tent. The gentle hills became craggy mountains. And I started to become more creative with my newfound passion…


Challenging my vertigo on the Carn Mor Dearg arete up to Ben Nevis.

Last year, amongst many other everyday adventures, I spun a bottle outside my front door and walked for 15 miles following the precise compass bearing it created (the eventual destination was spectacular!). I sought out the most exposed scrambles the UK has to offer in order to challenge my vertigo. I hitchhiked over 3000km to the Arctic Circle in only 6 days.

Watch a short video of this incredible experience here…

Alongside these life enriching everyday adventures, I started my own business, Big Green Fox, which develops careers education resources for schools. And I’m about to launch a second, Goalvanise, which enables people to create their Life List online and then inspires and supports them to achieve their life goals.

I was living the quote again! I was exploring. I was dreaming. I was discovering. I was no longer regretting the things I wasn’t doing.

But this year I’m taking my everyday adventures to a new level – pushing myself to, and probably beyond, my physical limits in a variety of ways – and all for a fantastic cause. I’m undertaking 10 Challenges 4 Cancer with the aim of raising at least £2000 for the Association of International Cancer Research (AICR).


Meeting up with Chris in northern Norway at end of my 3000km hitchhike to the Arctic Circle – with him already 5000km into his charity ride to Australia.

Here are details of my 10 Challenges:

#1: A 3-Day Ironman

A 112 mile cycle ride (from my hometown Sutton Coldfield to London), a 2.4 mile swim, and a 26.2 mile run (the London Marathon) over 3 consecutive days.

#2: Walking Across Ireland

A 130 mile journey across Ireland – following the Grand Canal from Galway to Dublin.

#3: Climbing Germany’s Highest Mountain

At 2962m, the Zugspitze is Germany’s highest mountain and this will be by far the highest, and most technically difficult, mountain I have climbed.

#4: Climbing the Height of Everest… in Yorkshire’s Tallest Building!

79 ascents of Yorkshire’s 112m tall Bridgwater Place in Leeds – the equivalent height of Mount Everest which stands at 8848m – in 24 hours.

#5: Cycling4Cancer

My friend Chris is Cycling4Cancer – 20,000 miles from Leeds to Sydney. He’s inspired me to get peddling for cancer research too – over 150 miles from Sheffield to my mum’s house in southern Wales. My first multi-day cycle trip.

#6: Kayaking from Sheffield to the Sea

A 60 mile kayak journey from Sheffield (the UK’s most land-locked city) along the canal network, into the Humber estuary.

#7: Recreate Team GB’s Finest Moments

My challenge is to recreate ten of Team GB’s finest moments including Mo’s 10k, Sir Chris’ velodrome heroics, and every event in Jess’ heptathlon!

#8: Scotland Coast to Coast by Kayak

An 80 mile kayak expedition from Inverness, on the east cost, to Loch Linnhe, on the west coast.

#9: The Welsh 3000s Challenge

15 mountains above 3000ft in 24 Hours. Over 35 miles of walking and 3500 metres of ascent in total.

#10: Walking in My Great-Grandfather’s Footsteps: Manchester to Birmingham on Foot

A walk of over 80 miles retracing the route taken by my great-grandfather who, unable to find work in Manchester, walked to Birmingham. I’ll be walking with my dad and sister.

So here I am, honoured to be writing as Berghaus’ Everyday Adventurer for February. Over the coming month I’ll be reflecting on more of the everyday adventures I have embarked on over the past year but, more so, reporting back on the first two of my 10 Challenges 4 Cancer. Watch this space for details!

If you are able to make a donation to cancer research please visit my JustGiving page here.

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