Since winning the funding from Berghaus for a trip of a life time, the 8848 descent, many other people have approached me with the offer of products. Some I have accepted with care and understanding others I have quietly rejected.
I have been riddled with self doubt, an unconscious tugging at my heart. For me this expedition is not about the promotion of brands. It is not even at the same level of other expeditions I have done. I have dreamed about this expedition for over 10 years. With a cause and a reason others are willing to pay for the trip. Its not a hand out, and I dont see it as a job. Whilst I will be looking for the 'pure' in all aspects of the trip. I know that many feel I have stained any notion of a personal pure, with marketing and brands on line to promote the trip.
Sponsorship in all its disguises is a costume I hate to dress in. The fit is not right and I look foolish. Like a homeless Santa dressed but soiled in the week between Xmas and New Year. In the past I have cut ties with those that have assisted me, because I dont believe in the values of the brand.
Things have not changed, not now, although I have to fight the impressions others have about me and my acceptance of sponsorship. Many see it like a contract with the devil or acceptance of sweets from strangers. I see parts of the sponsorship game like this, but I see the flip side. The loving family that supports its children to grow. Thats what it is all about. That is the golden fleece. I have been beating myself up about it for too long and it took a conversation with Doug Ammons for me to see the truth of it all. This trip, like so many more is simply the quest of children chasing butterflies in the garden of life. Chances slip away in the breeze and we must run after what we want – with care. Not too strong to harm ourselves or others along the way.
I have included some of the conversation points below.
These appear as brief marks, without the back and forth of the dialogue.
[I think the statements from Doug pin the feeling I have in a way that is clear, without my usual weird tangents.] 'Well, don't beat yourself up! [...].'
'In the face of success, don't take a hammer to your toes!' 'All my film trips were sponsored in some similar way and the thing is, its a truism that one gets out of them what one works for, even if they are "compromised" in some purist sense.' 'I think it's more a question of keeping the lines clear. So plan, prepare, and make it into the trip you always wished for. it's an opportunity for growth and change, not a negative!' 'This is a gift, and I'm certain you will use that gift to great purpose internally.'
The days are ticking away, soon to Nepal and the expedition will start in full force. That is when I will know the truth of it all, the dark stretches of the night, the lone paddler in the rapids. One boat, one paddle stroke, one mind.