Words: Sarah Kobal | Photo: DO IT NOW Media
The annual FEAT event took place on Thursday 10 October at the Victory Theatre in Johannesburg and what an incredible evening it was with a stellar line-up of adventurers sharing their epic adventures and experiences with the audience. Now in its fifth year, the event is getting bigger by the year - and it was not hard to see why.
Speakers at this year's event were: Chris Bertish (SUPin’ and surfin’ adventures), Dave Joyce and Marco Broccardo (Crossing the Empty Quarter), David Waddilove (From Meteorites to Mandela), Gavin Moffat and Ingrid Lotze (Really Mom, it's not that deep!), Karen Hauptfleisch (Exploring Africa’s countries and highest summits), Kevin Davie (On the tracks of William Burchell), Nikki Candy (Space Camp), Ray Chaplin (Face level expedition down the Orange) Ricky Goodhead (Expedition running), and Richard Kohler (Paddling South Africa’s coastline).
This was my first FEAT event and it was absolutely phenomenal! Each speaker was allocated seven minutes with 21 slides for each presentation, as a way to ensure that they did not run their over time, but the two-and-half hours still flew by. From start to finish, the audience was virtually on the edge of their seats, as they sat captivated and enthralled by each story. When a speaker talked about a bad-luck experience, this was always met with an 'awww' from the crowd. But when something fantastic was said, the audience would immediately shout out 'yays' and 'wooos', and it was this interaction that really made the evening a whole lot of fun. As the last speaker took to the stage, I remember thinking how I could have sit there for much, much longer, listening to all these inspiring stories from fellow adventurers.
In the spirit of the evening, the audience was provided with a postcard and pen and where we could write down either an adventure or expenditure we wanted to accomplish within the next twelve months. This novel idea was created by Lisa de Speville and started a lot of buzz and excitement amongst the audience, as we excitedly wrote down our goal on the postcard. I am positive that the first set of speakers (as the audience was required to hand in the postcards during the intermission) really inspired the audience as to the type of adventure they had written down - I know mine was!
Once FEAT came to a close, it was incredible to see how inspired the audience was, and the energy flowing through the room was electric. Passions were reignited, commitments made, and conversations centred on what the next adventure was going to be. “The sole purpose of FEAT is meant to remind you of those things that you forget and of the things that you push to the background,” explained de Speville. “If you leave FEAT and are inspired to go and do what you are itching to do, then FEAT has accomplished its purpose.”
The evening made me realise that anyone can be an adventurer and you don't have to be a professional adventurer to accomplish your dreams. All too often we cut our dreams short because we think that it is going to cost too much. "A lot of these adventures don't necessarily cost a lot of money – particularly when people do things that are unsupported,” says de Speville. “This is especially true when you are cycling or running from place to place, staying in budget accommodation, and cooking your own food; it can be low cost. Unfortunately, most of us have responsibilities and put up barriers, which I'm also guilty of doing,” explains de Speville. "I have all these ideas in my mind and ten years later, I still haven't done them. It's really about coming around when that burn becomes too much to resist; give in to it and just do the things that you want to do. There's no other way to do it.”
When asking de Speville what advice she would give to fellow adventurers, she said, “If you really want to do something that is burning in your heart and something that you have always wanted to do, you can't forget it. You need to keep it in your mind. When you want to do something, give yourself a time frame so it's not just something in mind because those years go by very quickly.”
So if you haven't been to FEAT before, I highly recommend you keep an eye out for the next event, as I'm sure that everyone who has walked away from FEAT has had the adventurer within them reawakened.