Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since.I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since.But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen.As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal.But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong.Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant.The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too.The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up.I mean, what does a child know about faith?It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known.Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about.Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg.I was devastated.I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life.‘Please, God, comfort me.’Blow me down … He did.My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.)To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies.This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes.The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life.This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being.Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree.I had found a calling for my life.
Adventure should be 80 percent 'I think this is manageable,' but it's good to have that last 20 percent where you're right outside your comfort zone. Still safe, but outside your comfort zone.
I mean, in the last few months alone, I've been pinned in a big set of white-water rapids, been bitten by an angry snake in a jungle, had a close escapewith a big mountain rockfall, narrowly avoided being eaten by a huge croc in the Australian swamps, and had to cut away from my main parachute and come down on my reserve, some five thousand feet above the Arctic plateau.When did all this craziness become my world?It's as if - almost accidentally - this madness had become my life. And don't get me wrong - I love it all.The game, though, now, is to hang on to that life. Every day is the most wonderful of blessings, and a gift that I never, ever take for granted.Oh, and as for the scars, broken bones, aching limbs and sore back?I consider them just gentle reminders that life is precious - and that maybe, just maybe, I am more fragile than I dare to admit.
Many great people over the centuries have depended on their faith- it is a sign of great strength to need Jesus in your life.
You can't become a decent horseman until you fall off and get up again, a good number of times. There's life in a nutshell.
There is little faith involved in setting out on a journey where the destination is certain and every step in between has been mapped in detail. Bravery, trust, is about leaving camp in the dark, when we do not know the route ahead and cannot be certain we will ever return.
To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened, and loved--yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies. This is no one's fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes. The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn't want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn't just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life.
Americans are cool; if you show just a chink of vulnerability, they respond so much. They'll pat you on the arm and say, 'Hey kid, you're all right.' Brits will respond but they are much more cynical.
I loved climbing because of the freedom, and having time and space. I remember coming off Everest for the last time, thinking of Dad and wishing that he could have seen what I saw. He would have loved it.
My work is all about adventure and teamwork in some of the most inhospitable jungles, mountains and deserts on the planet. If you aren't able to look after yourself and each other, then people die.
Nobody wants to end up super rich and famous - but divorced. I'm always clear on that and try to stay on the right side of the line.
My faith is an important part of my life and over the years I've learnt that it takes a proud man to say he doesn't need anything. It has been a quiet strength and a backbone through a lot of difficult times.
One killer exercise that's really great is pull-ups with your legs out level. That's my favourite. It's such functional core strength, and that's why I can climb up trees and down vines.
My faith isn't very churchy, it's a pretty personal, intimate thing and has been a huge source of strength in moments of life and death.
Christianity is not about religion. It's about faith, about being held, about being forgiven. It's about finding joy and finding home.
Being brave isn't the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.
You're not human if you don't feel fear. But I've learnt to treat fear as an emotion that sharpens me. It's there to give me that edge for what I have to do.
As for my diet, I try to eat lean, clean and healthy - nothing too surprising. And I avoid too much meat or dairy because they slow you down.
Some of the greatest survivors have been women. Look at the courage so many women have shown after surviving earthquakes in the rubble for days on end.
And Jesus, the heart of the Christian faith is the wildest, most radical guy you'd ever come across.
Survival requires us to leave our prejudices at home. It's about doing whatever it takes - and ultimately those with the biggest heart will win.