May 03, 2024 13 min read

Last month we celebrated Earth Day, and while it is a fantastic day to have marked in the calendar, it did beg the question to us, shouldn’t every day be Earth day? Shouldn’t making sure we’re doing what we can for our planet be at the forefront of our minds at all times? We recently caught up with eco-adventurer, Isaac Kenyon, who it’s safe to say holds the same belief. Isaac Kenyon is the founder of Climate Explorers, a company that offers sustainability education and outdoor reconnection experiences, as well as being a keen adventurer, having rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and is the first person to have run the entire Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge. It was a real pleasure to hear what Isaac has to say about the importance of not only getting outdoors, but making sure we are mindful and caring for the planet when we do so. Read on to find out about how Isaac first got started on his eco-adventuring journey, the inspiration behind what he does, and what we can do to better the way we adventure.

Image: Ollie Axon

We’d love to know a little about your background, and what do you think first ignited your interest in the outdoors and the environment? 

Getting outdoors and loving our precious environment saved my life. In answering this question, I feel that I discovered a love for the outdoors and nature only when I was in my 20s. I first ventured into the outdoors with my family as a child but never truly appreciated the power of the outdoors until much later in life. During my university years, I was at my lowest moment in well-being in my life. I was convinced by a friend to go on a long walk in nature and wander until my mind grew clear. It was at this moment that I can answer when I truly first ignited my interest in getting outdoors. It was a moment when I realised the link between getting outdoors in nature and better wellbeing, my life transformed from one trajectory where I was considering ending it all to another full of happiness, opportunity and hope.

Can you tell us when and how did you first get into adventuring? We’d love to know about some of your earlier adventures that got you started on the path you’re now on? 

This question is a tricky one for me to answer. I define adventure as doing something novel out of my comfort zone with enough challenge to make it interesting. This means not doing a challenge too big and daunting that affects your well-being negatively, but also not something too easy that demotivates you. So in this case when we talk about my first adventures they probably happened before I can even remember as a toddler or so. As a child, my first vivid memory of adventures was salmon fishing in North Devon, Exmoor National Park on the East Lyn River in the UK. My father is a salmon fisherman and often took my brother and me fishing along the riverbanks. Why I liked this challenge is that there was always a sense of curiosity, as we never truly knew if we would catch a salmon or where they were on the river or what style of fishing would catch them, so you had to be inventive and as my dad called it ‘playing the game’.

All through my life since the age of 5 years I was a big fan of swimming in the pool and often swam at a swimming club. I joined the swimming club at university as well. It was when I reconnected with the outdoors after a spell of poor mental health and recovered from time spent outdoors that I realised I needed time in nature as a lifestyle choice. I decided that I wanted to do more outdoor activity and kept experimenting with being outdoors in terms of timespan and found the longer the days I was in nature the better I felt. This ultimately has led to me becoming an endurance eco-adventure athlete. But before we jumped to that my first outdoor activity at university started with the sport of swimming as that was the sport I felt most comfortable with already. So I took my favourite sport of swimming to the outdoors. Essentially doing open-water swimming, this then led to swimming the English Channel.

You describe yourself as an eco-adventurer, can you define what eco-adventuring means to you? And explain to us the importance of eco-adventuring? 

I have a confession to make… I have not always been the most sustainable adventure athlete, many of my adventures in the very beginning were not good for the planet and we’ll talk more about what made that change later. Eco-adventuring is a term I came up with after thinking deeply about how I wanted to reinvent how I did adventures to lower my impact on the environment. Eventually, I decided that an eco-adventure is a low-carbon adventure which prioritises environmental responsibility at every turn from leaving no trace (sticking to marked paths where possible) to taking climate action (plastic pick-ups, conservation work) during the adventure to improve the spaces we play (adventure) in. This is then followed by educating others on the subject of environmental responsibility. Eco-adventures are important for several reasons:

  1. You can tangibly make a real good positive environmental impact – closing the ‘say-do’ gap with climate action. Adventures are inherently damaging to pristine environments for a number of reasons and doing an eco-adventure can minimise this impact and help restore.
  2. We have become very disconnected from nature as our society has developed a greater reliance on technology. These experiences bring us back to human well-being practice by getting outdoors, moving our bodies, getting fresh air, serotonin and the rest. Staying indoors and glued to digital devices is simply not healthy and eco-adventures can bring health back into our lives.
  3. Challenge and education. Without learning something new or challenging ourselves we can become demotivated, eco-adventures provide a learning and challenging experience that can engage and inspire.

What do you feel are the key things to do to ensure our adventures are environmentally friendly?

Keep it local, by travelling far you're likely to increase your emissions, for instance, flying will result in huge CO2 emissions. Can you do something that helps the environment at the same time as adventuring? Examples are: litter cleaning, removing invasive species, planting new trees etc. When it comes to what you take and use during your adventures can you follow the recommended reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle with your outdoor kit? It’s thinking about how you do your adventures in the most sustainable and least negative environmental impact way possible.

Is there a stand-out moment for you when you realised eco-adventuring was something you wanted to take more seriously?

As I traversed the globe, venturing into diverse landscapes, I have witnessed the consequences of human actions and climate change – warming oceans, vanishing glaciers, the heart-wrenching sight of deforested lands, the damage of wildfires, shifts in migration patterns, the desolation of polluted waterways, and the unforgiving wrath of extreme weather events. I grieved for the suffering inflicted upon our Earth, a cruel injustice.

Yet, it was a singular moment, over four years ago, when I once found myself in a situation whilst rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, that I will never forget. Amidst the vast expanse of the ocean, I encountered a turtle ensnared in a tangle of abandoned fishing nets, suffocating in a sea of plastic soup which we often rowed through. Helpless, I watched as it struggled, yearning to intervene but knowing the risks involved in freeing it in these big waves and fast currents, I couldn’t. It was a heartbreaking reminder of our impact on marine life, of the plastic pollution and overfishing that plague our oceans. In that remote stretch of water, far from land, the sight of plastic debris and household waste bobbing on the surface underscored the urgency of our environmental crisis. Our actions, no matter how distant or seemingly insignificant, have consequences across the globe, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. It was a sobering realisation when I realised I was part of the problem and also recognising the magnitude of the problem, I found myself at a loss, uncertain of the actions that I could take to make a meaningful difference. I developed eco-anxiety. Leadership is about rising up to the challenge and making change in times of difficulty like the climate/environmental crisis we are in. True leaders are almost always made by circumstances. I refused to live in eco-anxiety and decided to take action which helped me overcome this worry. Quickly after the Atlantic Ocean row, I realised that I needed to change my own actions and that meant changing the way I adventured.

You have had some massive achievements in the adventures you’ve completed! For example, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, your 40-day row across the Atlantic Ocean, and being the first person to run the entire Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge (just to name a few!). Could you tell us a bit about the process of preparing for these adventures? As well as what it takes to successfully complete them?

My golden process for overcoming any challenge starts with asking the right questions!

  1. Why do I want to do this challenge/adventure? What is the purpose of this? Without a why, you have no direction and ultimately less motivation and when you get to tough times (believe me if you choose a good adventure there will be low moments), it is the purpose and why that can motivate you to push on through the low block.
  2. What does success look like for you in this adventure? More often than not I see people go on adventures and they do not enjoy them because they had no real idea of what the purpose of their adventure was or what a successful adventure looked like for them from an authentic viewpoint, and not what others tell them to think is successful. Some people I speak to completed an adventure because they thought it would make others think they were cool on Instagram, for example. Believe me, that is not enough to make a success out of an adventure.
  3. Are there any limiting beliefs for this adventure? This question addresses whether this adventure is going to be challenging or not. If you have no limiting beliefs maybe this challenge is too easy. Alternatively, it could be way too overwhelming to comprehend, so you maybe need to build yourself into it through smaller adventures that tackle some of those limiting beliefs. For instance, I decided to row across the Atlantic Ocean without any rowing, sailing or sea navigation experience. So, I broke the adventure down into different segments to tackle all my limiting beliefs and what-ifs in the build-up to this adventure. I went on courses to learn to row, to sail and navigate at sea, and this breaking down the challenge into smaller manageable chunks made it much more possible and ended up being a successful ocean crossing.

Image: Ben Duffy

What kind of challenges have you faced along the way when completing these adventures? And what do you feel you have learned from them?

Depending on the circumstances there are always different challenges I have come across. Here are some examples of challenges and learnings:

  1. Team adventures conflicting mindsets – getting everyone on the same page, fully trusting each other and communicating well, is a very difficult challenge. If done poorly it can be critical. For instance, in the Atlantic row, the biggest challenge was dealing with different personalities. Spend more time together before the challenge to understand the dynamics and reactions between different personalities before the adventure begins. In other words, choose your team wisely and spend as much time together as possible, especially if the risks to life or death are high in your adventure.
  2. Mental resilience – I’ve done some big adventures that require a lot of tools for mindset shifting from negative to positive. Positive self-affirmations are the key tool to drown out negative emotions.
  3. Financing has been in the past a great challenge. Where do I get the funding to do these adventures? Well, after many adventures my blueprint has been always having a compelling why statement that has an impact greater than yourself. This allows you to start building a community of stakeholders who want this challenge to succeed for the greater good. Think about mission statements and businesses/individuals who would care to support those causes.

Do you have any inspirations that have led to you wanting to complete adventures like this? Or are there any other driving forces for you?

I do! I absolutely LOVE the film, Jurassic Park. I always wanted to be the palaeontologist hero Dr. Alan Grant. It’s why I did a Geology degree at university, but that aside, the film was an incredible metaphor about the power of what you can discover if you explore your curiosity and the beauty of taking a little risk in doing that. Dr. Alan Grant was invited by a rich millionaire to a remote island ‘Isla Saura’ which according to the rich man had real-life dinosaurs on it. As a palaeontologist, this would be a dream to see a real-life dinosaur. Of course, there is a huge risk in that this island could be rampant with uncontrollable dinosaurs but also huge curiosity of what if this is true. Dr. Alan Grant decided to take on the adventure to go see the dinosaurs for himself and although you will see in the film things turn into a bit of survival, he still had the most incredible experience. In life, if we prepare for an adventure and remove all the risks it becomes less challenging and then less of an adventure. What I love about that film is they didn’t know the answers to what they were about to do, but they proved that sometimes a ‘just jump’ and do it mentality can be so rewarding. Yes, this can lead to challenges unforeseen, but this is where the growth and learning can come from. My only thing is don’t just jump if the risks are way too high as this could mean the difference between life and death. So in summary, an inherent understanding of risk or slight challenge is what drives me, not too much that I could die or burnout or something severe could happen, but not too unchallenging that it is boring, easy or demotivating. Getting the right blend of outdoor adventure drives me.

What would you say is your favourite adventure you’ve completed? And would you be keen to complete it again?

My favourite adventure I have ever completed was my first big one which I mentioned earlier, the English Channel swim. It was a big jump out of my comfort zone which taught me so so much and hooked me ever since. I want to do another big open water swim but not the English Channel. I like the challenge of a new location with new elements to overcome in terms of adversity. Maybe a swim that has not been done before.

You are the co-founder of Climate Explorers, can you tell us a little more about the organisation and what your main aims are with the organisation?

Climate Explorers is a community interest company, that offers a novel approach to sustainability education and distinctive outdoor reconnection experiences. We specialise in eco-adventures, which are a combination of team building, nature reconnection and environmental project volunteering with outdoor adventure activities, workshops, media content, and sustainability leadership keynote speaking. These are impactful and packed-out days. Our mission is to educate, raise awareness, and develop enduring environmental transformation in organisations, businesses, and community groups. We collaborate closely with our clients, providing ongoing support for sustainable behavioural change. This holistic approach enables our clients to embrace sustainability on a profound human level, empowering them to confront the pressing climate challenges affecting our world and its inhabitants.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement so far with Climate Explorers?

Starting it. We often forget the courage and the risk we take when we decide to act on something. Starting is the biggest achievement of any of my adventures and is certainly with Climate Explorers CIC, starting is so essential for making any vision or dream a reality and is the biggest achievement.

Why do you feel it’s so important to encourage others to get outdoors?

To disconnect to reconnect and be healthy. What I mean by this is we now live in a world that is more disconnected than ever and also is not as healthy as it once was. We have become more indoors and sedentary, leading to poor well-being. In addition to this, technology is ruling our communication channels and we are losing our human reality. The simplest and easiest way to resolve our communication issues and our well-being is to provide space to reconnect with each other and more importantly ourselves, one of the ways we can do this which is scientifically proven to be effective is by getting time in nature outdoors and separating ourselves from technology and other distractions. A bonus for our well-being is getting outdoors can be uncomfortable, as you have to move to get out there and see the world, which makes us healthier too.

Despite clearly being capable of some of the toughest adventure’s in the world, are there any micro adventures that you enjoy that you can recommend to our readers?

The best micro-adventures are always the closest and easiest adventures you can get away with doing within a short period. My favourite micro-adventure is a wild camp. I like to do this mostly in the summer as it has the best conditions. I can do this any day of the week. Sometimes when I know it’s going to be a clear night, for example, on a Monday after work, I would first have dinner and then grab a backpack with a sleeping mat, sleeping bag, head-torch, and bivvy bag, and hike from my door to find an outdoor wild camping spot (sticking to guidelines, of course!). I would then sleep wild, looking up at the stars, and then in the morning wake up to birdsong at sunrise, pack up and go home, have a shower, and get to work for the day. Sometimes nobody would ever know I did this and it's just a secret! A lovely micro-adventure. I usually will already have locations in mind that I have scouted out in the daytime and checked out if they are safe, etc.

Have you ever done any adventuring in Scotland? Do you have any favourite Scottish adventures in particular?

I certainly have adventured in Scotland. It’s one of my favourite locations to adventure in the UK because of its vastness and interconnected nature corridors which we don’t often have in England. My favourite Scottish adventure is heading into the depths of the Cairngorms National Park and living wild for a few days whether bikepacking, hiking, or trail running. It’s a special place with a lot of biodiversity.

Lastly, is there an adventure you’re working towards completing next? Or anything exciting coming up for you that you’d like to share with us?

Up next I am working on a new eco-adventure and sustainable film production focused on achieving the 6 Peaks challenge across the British Isles and Ireland. In my team, our mission is to raise the profile of community environmental action and low-carbon transportation between the highest peaks in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man) and the Republic of Ireland. We will get involved in activities during the eco-adventure to improve conservation and climate efforts to address climate change, combat UK biodiversity loss, and champion conservation for local species at the specific 6 peak locations. We will be working to improve wellbeing, nature reconnection and belonging in the communities we visit. This is a campaign for improving landscape and habitat protection and to leave a positive social and environmental impact on the communities and natural spaces we visit. The eco-adventure is set to last 2 whole weeks with numerous stakeholders involved and a lovely impact film to inspire others at the end which you will be able to watch in 2025.

Wow. This sounds incredible! We’re so looking forward to seeing the film. Thanks for chatting with us Isaac!

You can read more about Isaac and eco adventuring on his website at and we highly recommend following him on Instagram here.

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