A rugby player turned extreme environment athlete, author of ‘Beyond the Horizon’ and motivational speaker, Richard Parks is one of the official ambassadors of the Emirates Lit Fest 2016.
We caught up with Richard before #EAFOL16 to talk about his unusual experiences. Take a look:
1. What were the funniest and most revelatory thoughts you had on any of the 7 peaks?
RP: The funniest memory of my 737 Challenge was actually something that I didn’t share with anyone until I wrote my book.
I was in Russia, on Mt. Elbrus, having just completed my 737 Challenge, having climbed into the history books, I let my hair down a little! Our Russian liaison, Serge, had managed to find us some brandy….fast forward 3 bottles later and a Hollywood comedy sketch unfolded! I’m too embarrassed to share all of it; you guys will have to read the book, but it involved techno music, a Russian chef and a video camera! Ha!
On a more serious note, my most revelatory thought came long after the
737 Challenge, actually whilst writing my book. The concept that my biggest perceived weakness or flaw was actually my biggest strength. Isn’t life crazy like that…with a change of mindset our weakness can actually become our strengths.
2. You’ve embarked on a difficult and demanding challenge like 737. What would you advise people to do on a daily basis that can foster that kind of determination?
RP: I am driven my being part of something bigger. All my projects are successful as a result of the incredible team I have. Even the solo projects, like my Antarctica Speed Record, were the result of a huge team effort over
16 months – I simply did the last 29 days on my own! Well that’s how I see it!
Self-knowledge can have a huge impact on how we perceive the tough times.
Obviously, if you’re doing something you love, or you have chosen to be doing, it makes the tough times more manageable. But understanding WHY you’re doing it enables you to unlock your deepest reserves. It’s okay for that to be the mortgage, or a new car, etc. – it might be for your kids. On my expeditions it’s being part of my team. The pain of letting them down is much worse than any pain I’m enduring at the moment.
3. Who is ‘Beyond the Horizon’ intended for?
RP: Everyone. It’s a story about the human spirit overcoming human frailties that we can all resonate with in our day to day lives. It’s not just about world-first expeditions in the world’s most hostile corners; in fact, I’ve been blown away by how it’s been received by those that would never dream of climbing a mountain! To win the Cross British Sports Book of the Year award in the Rugby category for a book about mountains says a lot! Ha!
4. What are you most looking forward to at EAFOL16?
RP: I would love to hear and spend time with the astronaut Chris Hadfield. If I had another life I would be an astronaut! Or at least I would want to be! Ha!
There’re so many wonderful and fascinating people at the EAFOL16. The challenge is fitting them all in!