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Sean Conway

Q & A With Adventurer Sean Conway

3 January 2017

Our fourth interview is with photographer turned adventurer Sean Conway.

In 2013 Sean was disenchanted with his job and wanted to try something new. He set himself a challenge: to swim the length of Great Britain in two months to raise money for the charity War Child UK. Swimming 900km in 135 days, Sean conquered the challenge, becoming the first person to do so. Sean went on to write about his immense adventure in Hell And High Water which we have published in large print this month. To learn more about the man behind the book (and the beard) we sent him a few questions.

Were you adventurous growing up?
I grew up on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe in the heart of the African wilderness so early childhood was pretty adventurous. There's nothing quite like chasing elephants out of your garden to feel like Tarzan of the savanna. I remember only running around barefooted continuously and having to take thorns out my toes.

What made you decide to quit your job to embark on a life of an adventure?
Throughout my twenties I lost my ambition, my adventurous spirit. I didn't do anything that challenged me. I just existed, not lived. When I turned 30 I realised my life was wasting away and I was miserable. From then I decided to add life to my days rather than just exist accumulating stuff.

We've recently published Hell and High Water in large print. What can readers expect?
Spending 4.5 months swimming at sea was the toughest challenge I had ever done. Most people said it simply wasn't possible and I would probably die trying. The next 4.5 months saw me battle huge waves, crippling fatigue, jellyfish stings to the face and near death when getting caught out in a freak storm. But determination and resilience didn't allow me to give up. No matter what. It really was Hell in the high water.

What challenge are you setting yourself next?
I've done a big cycle and a big swim. I want to do a big run now. Maybe Africa. Watch this space.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Take more photos. No matter how amazing that sunset is there is a chance that in your old age you may forget it so take as many photos as possible. They will be your most treasured possessions in years to come.

Do you have any tips for anyone wishing to emulate your challenges?
Just do it. Research everything. Speak to people. get excited and just go for it. There is no better time than now. Go. Now. Stop reading this. Go!!!!

'Hell And High Water' is now available to order in large print.