From being a cub scout at the age of 7 to now having walked the length of the Nile,
Himalayas and, more recently, the Americas, it is safe to say that adventurer Levison
Wood is a risk taker and enjoys a challenge.
Back in December 2013, he embarked on the biggest journey of his life. He wanted to be the
first person to walk the length of the Nile, it took nine months and was the hardest thing he’d
ever done. He walked through six different countries and covered seven million steps. What
attracted Levison to the Nile was the diversity of landscapes and environments. He walked from
a swamp to a desert in the space of a few days so he carried everything he might need.
“I’ve always used Craghoppers gear, ever since I first started travelling 15 years ago. I’ve
worn its khaki shirts on expeditions for a very long time. In terms of the main physical
challenges, motivating yourself every day to wake up and walk for 25-30 miles is incredibly
tough. It’s tough on your body; when you’ve got blisters on blisters, that is painful.
Mentally, the toughest thing was not knowing how long it would take.”
The trip along the Nile took two and a half years to plan. He put his army training into practice
and came up with a logical way of achieving it, including sorting out the paperwork, visas and
bureaucracy before actually planning the route. If you break it down into manageable chunks
then even a journey of thousands of miles becomes achievable. Levison had the right
experience and skills, and importantly, the confidence and the networks to take on something
like this – he needed to know people who could get him out of trouble.
He fell in love with Nepal when he was 19 and on a gap year to the
Himalayas. He returned when he was in the Parachute Regiment and led
eight guys who had never been up a mountain before up Mera Peak, the
highest trekking peak in the world.
“It’s tough to motivate your men in a snowstorm at -20°C. But there’s
something special and timeless about Nepal.”
14 years after his first visit to the Himalayas, he returned, this time, to
“The biggest danger in the Himalayas is gravity. The slightest
vibration and half a hillside can come down. But you’ve got to count
the high points. Meeting the Dalai Lama was incredible, as was
going to the base camp of Everest. You never get used to those views,
when they emerge out of the clouds. What links it all, though, is my
wanderlust. I’ve travelled in more than 80 countries. There are still
lots of countries I’d like to go to, Papua New Guinea for example. It’s
about exploring the world and keeping my curiosity alive.”
Image source: Craghoppers