On January 17th 2013, my brother, Carson Bilsland, was killed during the siege of the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria. He loved adventure, whether it be as a speed-skier for the British Team, free diving in Mexico or paragliding in Nepal, and he was most alive when he was pushing himself to the limit.
The loss sunk me into a deep depression and when I found my way out six months later, I realised I needed more from life than being a management consultant. A two-week sailing trip in Arctic Norway honed my desire for new experiences and in May of the next year, I left my job. I spent the summer going on adventures across the country and preparing for a grand trip that had captivated my mind – to cycle the Silk Road, from Venice to Xi’an.
On January 1st 2015, my friend Ryan and I kicked off from Marco Polo Airport and begun the long, slow cycle through Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and China that would take us six months and leave us with the most incredible memories – from being chased by dogs and storms through the mountains in Greece, getting robbed by the Mafia in Georgia or breaking bread with Kyrgyz shepherds in the Pamirs and being roasted by the desert sun in forty degree heat as we rode through the Taklamakan desert.
Returning to normal life after such a trip was impossible and I was left with the issue of what to do with myself before I decided to start my own business – if cycling to China was possible, could running a company be much more difficult? The company that took shape in my mind was one where people could have experiences like mine, adventures that had the capacity to change how you look at the world.
Nine months since drawing up a diagram about how to help people go on adventures, we’re almost ready for launch – with thirty excellent guides signed up and trips from as diverse as diving in Borneo to surfing in Alaska, we’re going to make it easy for people to find genuine, incredible adventure experiences like mine and my brother’s.