Monday, 31 October 2016

Yestival 2016 in retrospect - A post by Thomas Ivor

I love Yestival, this year was my first time there and it was amazing. It was all held in a field near Pulborough in Sussex last weekend.

Yestival is all about meeting up with fellow adventurers and talking about your adventures in a big way which is what helped me come up with my own ideas. 

I met extraordinary adventurers like The Simonsen family, Jo Pickard, Dan Keely, Will Copestake, the Meek family, the Coxless Crew, Adam Conlon, Danny Bent, Dave Cornthwaite and TV adventurer Sean Conway. I had been invited to speak along with these amazing people.

There were tents that would be for the speakers to talk in, and the tents were called: Amazon, Mississippi, Nile, The Big Yes and Dreamcamp, which was the children’s area.

To prepare for the weekend, Daddy and I wrote a new talk. It was my first time speaking without slides, so I had to get my cue cards written and printed out so I could then rehearse them.

The day before, I got out all of the things that I would need to sleep in and my other things that I would need for my talk. (Bike, stand, luggage etc).

Finally we got in the car at 6:30 on Saturday morning and set off to go to Yestival. On the way there I practised my cards.

After a long journey round the M25 we arrived and were welcomed with open arms.

First, I listened to the first pitches of the day to see what it is like because I would need to do a pitch for my talk. You needed to wait your turn, and then tell everyone what your talk would be about - but you only got 20 seconds to speak! The audience then decided who they wanted to go and listen to.

Next, I had a look in the tent that I would be speaking in at lunchtime, which was the Amazon tent.

I had a small stage to stand on, a table, and my audience sat on hay bales. I also had my bike King Louis stood in front of me.

I set up quite early so that when my audience arrived I was ready to go.

Soon the time came. I was up against Dan Keely, The Coxless Crew and Tim and Kerry Meek, who all had very exciting adventures to talk about, too! I had rehearsed my pitch so I fired away and told everybody that was talking at 12:00 in the Amazon tent, about how to have adventures even if you have to work or go to school.

The crowd clapped and cheered!

I ended up with about 50 people coming to my talk called “Notes from a small cyclist”.

The main idea I was sharing is to get yourself a dry-wipe map and stick it on the wall of any room in your house where you will see it every day. You can plan adventures on the map every day, and pick the best ones to break up into chunks so you can actually do them. I explained how I am doing this myself, and about my #CycloClimbGB challenge to climb the ‘Three Peaks’ and cycle between them.

I had some maps with me, for the audience to try planning an adventure on, and I got them to share their ideas.

At the end, I got nearly a full standing ovation for my effort! I felt very proud of myself.

Dave Cornthwaite (the organiser of Yestival) came up to me at lunch break and asked me if I was up for doing a shortened version of my first talk in front of a crowd of 400 people at 7:00pm.
He asked me in particular because the people that came to my talk had given him good reports about my talk so he said “we can’t give you 30 mins but just come up for 5 - 10 minutes and just show the world what you are made of”.

My talk had been written to last nearly half an hour, so Daddy and I laid my original cue cards out on the floor of the car boot and shuffled them to make a shorter version.

Next I put my own tent up in a field next to Daddy and Katie’s tent.
I laid out my sleeping bag and mat and got everything ready, because I thought I might have a late finish!

Soon it was time for my second talk. Adam Conlon gave me lots of advice for the talk and introduced me to Sean Conway while I was waiting to go on.

I had joke in my talk about Sean eating dog food when he was running around the coast, so I asked him about it. Sean said that he did eat the dog food on the run and it took him two solid days before he finished all of the packets because it was revolting! I had a picture with Sean and he kindly promised that he would ride with me somewhere in the Lake District. I got a wave from Sean in the audience when I mentioned him in my talk.

I felt very nervous at first because I was speaking in front of so many people this time, but in the end I just thought ‘how did I get here?’ - it was amazing. I talked for 10 minutes and afterwards I got another standing ovation! Katie said she heard the roar from the audience, and she was in the next field getting my sisters to sleep!

My jokes worked fine and King Louis got a very warm welcome from everyone. I hope people will take away what I have told them in my talks and try it.

The lady after me, Jo Pickard said firstly “Well thanks a bundle Thomas Ivor!”. Daddy said this was because I was a tough act to follow!

I was very tired after my talk but I tried to hold on until Sean Conway spoke. I was extremely tired now; it was 9:30 at night so I couldn’t take in as much as I could earlier in the day.

The weather forecast had said that it would be 7 degrees overnight but when I got back to my tent at 10:00 there was frost on my tent! It was a cold night in the tent but I was so tired it was very easy to get to sleep!

I really enjoyed speaking but I also had a great time enjoying the rest of the event and meeting some exceptional people. A man called Will Copestake offered to climb Ben Nevis with Daddy and me.
He’s climbed all the ‘Munros’ and kayaked around the top of Scotland.

My favourite talk during the day was the Simonsen family because they had Hobie kayaked from Denmark to Istanbul!

There is just one thing that I was not very happy about which is that I had to miss out some talks that were going on at the same time as mine or others.

My little sister Ruth’s favourite thing at Yestival was catching dreams. Rhoda’s favourite thing was the food. I loved the food, I think it was well served and it all went with adventure. Thank you for supplying us all with something to eat!

At Dreamcamp the girls enjoyed having their faces painted just like scary lions!

I would like to say a big thank you to Dave Cornthwaite for inviting me and to his team for encouraging me throughout the weekend. I hope we will be able to go again next year!

You can watch my evening talk on YouTube, here: