I’m Charlie Knight – adventurer, marketer, writer, speaker and photographer.
I live for adventure and I’m always looking for the next big challenge.
My First Adventure
I had never been particularly adventurous or outdoorsy until I graduated from Warwick University in 2013. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All of my friends were busy applying for graduate jobs and I couldn’t think of anything worse. I didn’t want to face the “real world” straight away so I decided to delay the inevitable life of gainful employment by doing something completely different from anything I had ever done before in my life. So on a whim I headed to France to spend a month and a half walking 600 miles across the French Pyrenees.
My first adventure was without a doubt the best thing I had ever done in my life. I realised I loved the outdoors, I loved sleeping under the stars, I loved the thrill and the freedom of surviving in the wilderness. All I wanted to do was go back into the mountains and do something longer, harder and more impressive.
The only problem – one which my parents were only too keen to tell me over and over again – to go on huge adventures all around the world, you need money. That was something I did not have.
My Battle with Mental Illness
So I did what was expected of me and did what all good philosophy graduates do – I found a job that had nothing whatsoever to do with philosophy. I began as an intern at a marketing agency and landed a solid job there for two years.
I soon learnt that I don’t do well with offices, or indeed desks, ceilings and walls. I grew a severe case of itchy feet and would spent every hour of every day with my left eye staring at a spreadsheet and my right eye gazing out the window at a distant hill, wishing I could be anywhere else in the world.
Throughout this period I was fighting a difficult battle with depression and anxiety. It was having a serious impact on my life and my overall happiness. I knew I had to do something big to shake things up, break me out of my monotonous routine and give me something new to focus on.
My Journey from Mexico to Canada
I came across the Pacific Crest Trail online, and from the moment I heard about it I fell in love with it. A 2650-mile long-distance hiking route across America – what’s not to love? I became obsessed with the idea of walking from Mexico to Canada, and spent all my time looking at pictures and videos and blogs from past thru-hikers. The thought of it terrified me and excited me in equal measure, but I knew it would be the answer to all my problems..
So I took the plunge and against the protestations of all the sensible people in my life, I quit my job. Two months later I was standing at the Mexican border with no other option but to begin the long walk to Canada.
135 days later I completed my journey, a little worse for wear but feeling more alive than I ever had in my entire life. I still battle with my mental health but through adventure I found a way to deal with it.
My adventures have helped me to deal with my own mental health issues, and I want to use my own story as a platform to inspire others going through similar battles to challenge themselves and escape their comfort zones. I want to show people that whatever life throws in your path, it is always possible to overcome it and achieve something incredible. Take a look at some of the inspiring people I have interviewed, including Michael Robbert Brans who climbed Ben Nevis with one leg, and Janey McGill who went from a broken back and a brush with death to embarking on a 600-mile trek across Oman’s Empty Quarter desert.
I undertake my own adventures on behalf of a fantastic mental health charity called SANE. As well as providing support for sufferers of mental illness, they also do a lot of campaigning against stigma and discrimination around mental health and fund scientific research into mental illness.
My Next Big Adventure
Planning the next adventure is what keeps me going. I am currently in training for a 1500-mile endurance bike ride from Gibraltar to London in Summer 2017.
So take a look through my site and read about all my past, present and future adventures, including:
- Walking from Mexico to Canada
- Crossing the Pyrenees
- Climbing Trolltunga in Norway
- The West Highland Way
- Coast to Coast Walk
- London to Gibraltar 2017
Thanks for reading!
P.S. please subscribe to my blog for the latest updates on my expeditions, interviews with some of the world’s most inspiring most adventurers and general thoughts and reflections on life.