Some of the more obvious situations that Ash may find himself in can be anticipated to allow him to be prepared. For example, Ash has a comprehensive first aid kit in case of injury or illness. He can ensure that he stays as safe as possible on the trek by wearing specifically designed tramping footwear and he can protect himself from the elements as much as possible by wearing the best outdoor clothing available - as discussed on a previous blog regarding Ash’s partnership with Kailas.
There are also small details that can impact the expedition. Believe it or not, one of these is the everyday practice of shaving.
One might assume that with all the challenges Ash will face (no pun intended) shaving would not be a consideration - in fact choosing not to shave might seem the most convenient and understandable option. Not so for Ash, who keeps his beard growth under control for a couple of very important reasons.
The first is psychological. To achieve his goal on Mission Yangtze, Ash needs to be at 100% mentally. By looking after himself physically, he sets himself up to be in the best mental shape possible.
Brushing his teeth each day, regularly trimming his nails and having a shave help him look good in the photos and video footage he is sharing along the way, but more importantly make him feel good about himself and the day ahead, in his own mind.
According to Ash, “When your mind is ready it tells your body you are ready and you know that it will be a better day because you are totally prepared in both mind and body.”
A positive start to the day is powerfully important so these small details that make Ash feel good can be the difference between a successful day or a long, draining 12-14 hour slog.
Another reason for shaving is to reduce the risks that having an out of control beard may bring. When Ash was in the humid jungles of Madagascar he encountered a lot of insect-life that might have liked to make a home, hidden in his beard.
There is also the potential for the growth of fungus and bacteria that would be unpleasant on and around the face. This could lead to infections if exposed to cuts that Ash will inevitably experience (on his journey - not while shaving!).
Throughout Mission Yangtze Ash will be using Cornerstone products - lightweight, compact shaving gear that can be easily transported in his backpack. While a little bit of stubble can offer some protection from the elements during parts of the expedition his regular weekly shave will ensure he keeps his facial hair under control and help him feel good...it’s as close to being pampered as Ash is going to get for the next 12 months!