Biography

I am a Finance Degree-qualified Banking Sector Business Analyst, who grew up and was educated in South Africa (via St Alban’s College, the University of South Africa, and 5 years Articles at Ernst & Young).

My earliest inspiration – both to adventure, and aviation – was as a Scouts patrol leader (as part of an Air Scouts Troop) during my teen years – during which years I earned the highest Scouting award available at that time.

I have lived in San Francisco for a year, and then London for 22 years, to gain career experience, and as a central base from which to further my travels, marathons, adventure, and exploration opportunities.

To date I have visited 81 countries on all 7 continents, mainly backpacking, with extensive trips (up to 7 months in duration) through South America, Central America, North America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Europe.  In the US, a 5 month, 27-state van trip will always be memorable !

Apart from English, I speak fluent Afrikaans (Dutch), and conversational Spanish.  The plan is to add basic Mandarin to this in due course.

I am currently building my portfolio as a Motivational Speaker (UK clients addressed to date include Barclays Bank, JP Morgan, HSBC, Royal Bank of Canada, ICBC-Standard Bank, and the Croydon Cadets Regiment; in SA, the Two Oceans Marathon Committee in Cape Town, and finally, numerous school and Scout groups in the UK, SA, and Australia).

I am also in the process of writing my first book (for publication in late-2017).

Since leaving school (and probably due to the St Alban’s “Bounds” run each term !) I have always been heavily involved in competitive sport, and have completed 34 700 Km including 171 full and ultra-marathons (best of 2h37, and 31 marathons in sub-3 hours) on 6 continents (including 27 “Comrades” 90 Km Ultra-marathons, best of 6h58), 6 Iron Man Triathlons (finishing in the top 15 three times in SA), the 3-day ‘Dusi Canoe Marathon, numerous other ultra-distance white-water canoe marathons, and the UK “3 Peaks Challenge” twice, each within 24 hours.  (As an aside, my brother Rowyn – SAC class of ’85, and 15 finishes himself – has been Race director of Comrades the past 5 years).

In the mid 1980’s I spent a compulsory 3 years as an Infantry Officer (Lieutenant) and Platoon Commander in the South African Army, and Angolan Bush war, during which time I was trained in parachuting, numerous weapons, battlefield operational medicine, urban counter-insurgency, and bush warfare. I was awarded two medals during my tenure.

During my time in California, I became a proficient yachtsman, learning to sail on 72-foot Islander “Odyssey” out of San Francisco.

I am also a fully qualified fixed-wing Private Pilot (PPL) with 103 hours flying time.  I am currently working towards my rotor-wing (helicopter) qualification.

My most recent achievements have been :

Polar Exploration :

  • Becoming the first-ever African to race-walk to both Poles, by placing fourth (first mixed team) out of six teams in the inaugural six-week unsupported 600 Mile (1 000 Km) cross-country skiing race to the South Pole, Antarctica (January 2009)
  • Placing fourth (in a 3-person team) out of sixteen teams in the inaugural three-week unsupported 350 Mile (600 Km) Polar Challenge cross-country skiing race to the North Pole (May 2005)
  • Runner-up for “OutThere Magazine” (South Africa) “2009 Adventurer of the Year Award”

Jungle Exploration :

  • Placing second (in a 4-person team) in the 2006 Belize Jungle Challenge(February 2006)

Cycling :

  • 600 Mile (960 Km) 6 day cycle the full length of France (Paris to Montpellier) (April 2011)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Montpellier, France to Genoa, Italy) (May 2012)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Genoa to Rome, Italy) (May 2013)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Rome to Naples, Italy) (May 2014)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Naples to Sicily, Italy) (May 2015)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Montpellier – Andorra – Barcelona, Spain) (May 2016)
  • 500 Mile (800 Km) 5 day cycle (Barcelona to Pamplona, Spain) (May 2017)

I am currently working towards my next long-term goal of summiting Mount Everest – via Kilimanjaro (Tanzania); Aconcagua (Argentina); Cho Oyu (Nepal); and Mount Denali (Alaska).

Other interests and activities include local and international travel, SCUBA diving (Advanced OW), skydiving, snow and water skiing, hiking, canoeing, white-water rafting, chess, and charity fundraising.

I am also greatly interested in and read a lot on International Geo-politics, NASA & Space exploration history, iconic Bridges, and Human Physiology (in particular Sports Physiology, and the topics of “nature-nurture” and twins within the field of Genetics).  Meeting numbers 2 and 12 of the twelve astronauts that walked on the moon (Aldrin and Cernan) has been a highlight this past year.

I think I must also be the only Saffa that is learning to play the Didgeridoo !!

And the only Accountant that became a certified welder at one point !!

On a lighter note, I am blessed with a great family and a large circle of friends that I value very highly, I love to socialise, and LOVE a good party !  I am a definite team player who is very positive, extremely determined, passionate, but also compassionate.  I also firmly believe that one day I will walk on the moon !

 

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