Posted in: Latest News
- An exclusive first-hand look into Ash' lifestyle from Martin Lyons (Ash' photographer)
With the departure date creeping up, here is a rough insight to what Ash is currently up to, on a day to day basis.
It’s been interesting to get to see the “behind the scenes” of what planning and preparation goes into an expedition of this magnitude.
Before I met Ash, I would see either his social media posts, news in the papers or magazines and even features on TV, which would simply display what Ash was doing and what he would face along the way. Other than this, you don’t really get an understanding of the energy and effort that goes into actually getting the expedition off the ground.
With Ash’ permission, I’ve outlined just some of this below, which highlights jobs and disciplines needed to push forward with it. What’s interesting, since working with Ash, is seeing how set and focussed he is with the direction he’s heading in. He knows what he wants and how to go about getting it, through constant relentlessness. I’ve also seen how important and well he is portraying himself online, after all – he is a brand and a growing one that is constantly learning and developing.
When you first read articles about Ash’ adventures, you have to ask yourself, why? How? Does he have a death wish?
But seeing how he goes about his business first hand, really gives you an insight. His early adventures were very reckless, which he admits, but since they’ve developed, so has his understanding, knowledge, preparation and training.
He researches extensively, the challenges, obstacles and dangers that he may face along the way, understands how to manage and overcome them. He trains physically to help him tackle the challenge and trains mentally to help him manage the challenging process. He once said to me “you often panic, when something unexpected happens, well if you’re expecting it, what’s the need to panic?”
It’s difficult to understand the extensive experience he has at only 27 years of age, he’s been doing this since a teenager, with no money, military experience or university degree – learning and developing the hard way. There is a lesson he has learnt in almost everything he has done and there is always a story where the training and preparation he does at home, has saved his life out in the field.
Diet is key to Ash remaining strong and able
Here's the current lowdown:
- Although not on a strict diet, he seems to always go for the healthy option and has a big understanding of what he’s putting into his body. Learnt from his mum, who has also stressed the importance of eating healthy. (Ash will be writing a food blog before he departs)
- Training, almost every day, you don’t get an understanding of just how tough his training regime is, the photos and videos he posts – as cool as they are, they just don’t show the intensity. He has had trained fighters, personal trainers and military guys join him on his routine, none of which have made it the full distance.
- Satellite communications, Ash is getting himself familiar with the sat comms provided by Navarino (BGAN system, Isat Phone 2, InReach), linking them all to each other, to the website and to his smart phone. With help from Galaxy1, understanding how they work, what size, what weight, how they charge, how long the battery life lasts for, trying to minimise the amount of cables he’ll need to take and practising the live streams with John Davies at J-D Design.
- Electronics, in order for this to be one of the world’s most interactive expeditions, it’s important to keep everything charged. Ash has been speaking with Mobile Solar Chargers about the best way to go about this, as he will need much more power than he had in Mongolia and Madagascar. Understanding his needs, they have now supplied Ash with everything necessary to be completely self-sufficient in terms of power, i.e solar panels, power banks, LED rechargeable torches etc. On top of this, he will need a back-up, where by if all else fails, he can rely on charging everything via jump leads, powering the main power bank via any local car/motorbike batteries he may come across. He also has the camera kit to think about, as the majority of the expedition will be self-filmed!
- Mapping, as mentioned – it’s important for Ash to understand the route, the communities, the food points, the weather, terrain, wildlife and tributaries he will face. He has mapped it on traditional maps and also on Google Earth, not only for himself, but he needs to co-ordinate where the film crew (CCTV4) should join him to film for ten different sections through-out the year.
- China Logistics, Ash is currently working in two different time zones, liaising with the UK and Chinese market. China book, China TV, meetings, sponsors, interviews and much more! It’s relentless and exciting, but he has had a huge amount of help in China by Mandarin Films who secured a TV deal with CCTV4, meetings with GWR, CAA, arranging Grammar School Sponsorship, secured a Visa and much more. Also supporting Ash in China is Shanghai Joint Publishing, Oliver and CCTV4.
Ash is in the process of releasing his Mission Possible book in China
Here in The UK, Ash is working with solid members:-
- Phil, Ash’ dad – huge player who has been there from the beginning, attending meetings, helping with contracts and acting as a representative when Ash is away.
- Jeremy Ramsden (Commercial Director and key player to the AD brand).
- John Davies (J-D Design, web developer and strong supporting player in helping smooth out the process for Ash).
- Kim Monney (Stylist for Ash and providing a lot of support to the brand).
- OneTribeTV, who are helping in securing a TV deal, have helped with China and made the introduction to Mandarin Films.
- Jennifer Barclay, Ash’ book agent who secured a book deal with Eye Books (Ash’ UK publishing company who believed in what Ash stood for and published his first book) and Shanghai Joint Publishing (Ash’ China publishing company)
- Myself - (Photographer and supporter, suppling and capturing Ash’s day to day life for digital/marketing use and backing Ash with any general needs or support)
Ash testing his satellite equipment - provided by Navarino
More things happening
- Learning Mandarin, yes – on top of all of this, behind the scenes, Ash has been secretly learning Mandarin and is being sponsored by two different grammar schools in China, where he will be studying intensively for 6 weeks before the expedition commences.
- Social Media, many people think his social media is run by one of his agents, but everything you see on his social media platforms is posted by Ash himself and it is him responding to you. Blogs on his website are different and we will always state whether it’s a “blog by Ash” or a “blog by team”. He is currently juggling all the platforms, to include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and of course the Chinese social media platforms: - Weibo and WeChat.
- Interviews and meetings, whilst all this is going on, it’s still important for Ash to attend meetings, provide talks, take interviews (on the phone or in person) and he is a man of his word. This week he heads down to London where he will attend the Malaria Summit on behalf of Malaria No More UK, in addressing global commonwealth leaders to help halve malaria in the next five years. A room full of key players, to include Olympic Medallists and the likes of Bill Gates!
Ash has been attending many interviews and meetings in preparation for Mission Yangtze.
These are literally just a few bullet points as to what’s happening behind the scenes and when I got to see this, I looked at it all completely different, it’s a lot more intense than I could have ever imagined and there is far more to it, than just packing a bag and walking! What I also found fascinating, is the amount he tries to help during the process, whether that be for Malaria No More, Lemur Network Conservation, Madagascar Tourism, speaking at charity events, schools etc. I look forward to seeing how all this progresses, as this is the very beginning of a long career.
Ash leaves for China on the 22nd of April, for three weeks, in order to put plans in place, attend more meetings, interviews, launch the book, plan logistics with Mandarin Films, collect kit, drop off electronics and study Mandarin. He will then be back in the UK for two weeks, before the big off!
Stay tuned with the ins and outs, by signing up to his exclusive monthly newsletter, or following all his social media platforms.
Any questions you may have, as always, feel free to comment them below and we will leave Ash to respond.