David Grier, chef by trade, adventurer by passion has pushed himself to explore the limits of the human mind and body.
An extreme global journey of 20-000 km, 10 years of searching for personal change in order to deliver a meaningful contribution to the South African story.
“I believe that change on its own is not enough unless one also feels an inherent sense of hope for the future that this process will bring. I have found that hope comes in the form of a reward when there has been significant change. There is also a bigger picture - the context we live in - which is influenced by us all and the attitudes and changes we make, however small”.
Over the past 9 years the journey has taken David pushing the mind and body to the limit in completing the following events, (most recently returning from a fact finding trip into North Korea to set up a new adventure challenge)
- Man vs beast an 800 km race against 3 horses Namibia to Cape Town - 800 km
- Guantanamo bay on the tip of Cuba to the North eastern point - 1500 km
– run from John O’ Groats to Lands End down the UK - 2 300 km,
- run from South to North Up Ireland - 600 km
- run of Hadrian’s wall in one day - 122 km
- run from the most northern temple in Kashmir India to the most southern - 4008 km
- Paddled from Africa to Madagascar - 500 km
-ran Madagascar south to North - 2000 km
-ran coastline of South Africa - 3300 km
- ran Great wall of China - 4200 km
' MAKE YOUR JOURNEY COUNT MAKE A DIFFERENCE'
" these journeys gave birth to the Miles for Smiles initiative and a lasting partnership and relationship with Operation Smile performing corrective surgery on children with clefts.
Through Operation Smile each step of my journey has been transformed into change, bringing hope to so many children who now have a simple human right to a smile. These journeys have now funded some 2000 children who have now received corrective surgery.
Thinking back on one of my journeys.
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow
In March 2010 David returned from a four-month solo adventure, creating another world first, where he paddled 500km from Africa to Madagascar across the Mozambique channel and then ran the entire length of the island from south to north a distance of 2700km, an adventure that has by far been his most gruelling event to date.
During the channel crossing he was hit by tropical storms, a twister and tailed by sharks. After 11 days of paddling 500km he finally reached the coast of Madagascar. The run began at the southern tip of the island with temperatures reaching 40 degrees by early morning. As he ran up the island, the monsoon rains moved in, flooded river crossings became a daily challenge, only to be hit with Bilhatzia twice, Dengi fever and then came the jungles filled with blood sucking leeches. Finally, down with swamp fever, struggling to run he crawled out of the centre of the island and headed the last 500km weighing only 69kg after losing 20kg from illness. The final push to the northern tip ended being a mammoth 34-hour push through the day and night in a cyclone, being washed away by a river, no food and without sleep he finally made it and in the end covered a distance of 2700km
Each journey that one embarks on is so different, so unpredictable, littered with lessons. Ultimately each journey will always etch a scar of life as it passes. As I fought the twisting path of this journey, a path that has sent me on so many unplanned detours. If I look back at the different stages and how everything has panned out, they are far apart from the original course.
"An extreme global journey of 25-000km, 10 years of searching for personal
change in order to deliver a meaningful contribution to the South African story"
With every journey one embarks on there is always that goal that you set out to
achieve. To me the most important things that I have taken from each of my
journeys are not the achievements but the life lessons that I have picked up along
the way. How they always seem to enhance my perspective and living afterwards!
They have taught me the importance of change. In many a way I think that this is
one of the most important factors that I have had to come to terms with, the
realisation that everything and everyone around us is evolving, changing at such a
rapid rate. In order to keep pace, one has to have the ability to evolve with it.
I believe that change on its own is not enough unless one also feels an inherent
sense of hope for the future that this process will bring. I have found that hope
comes in the form of a reward when there has been significant change. There is
also a bigger picture - the context we live in - which is influenced by us all and the
attitudes and changes we make, however small.
How often does one take time out, time to be alone, time to reflect on what one
is currently doing and has done? It is useful to reflect back on decisions made and
their inevitable link to consequences that follow. Life out there is run at such a
pace and I feel that we are often just strung along without this time of reflection.
How often I have said, “I really must go and see that person, or just call someone I
think about often,” but just never get around to doing it because of the busyness
of the day-to-day madness we all find ourselves in. In the evening lying in bed, the
regrets just flow and the excuses seem to justify themselves. Then comes that
eternal promise that whispers, “I will do it tomorrow!” Does that eternal promise
ever come? It often comes out of the blue when the cold hard fact hits home -
how detached I have been from the loved ones around me, how caught up I have
been in running away from genuine commitments. Is it not time to change?
Things are changing, but it appears to be a lot deeper there is an underlying
impression that things are slowly happening. This is not just because I’m getting
through another African day, but because now each day carries a purpose. I
realise that each of these days is just another little piece to this giant puzzle which
is being assembled. Some of these pieces will be discarded in time as they may no
longer fit. As an individual I have found the missing piece to my life’s puzzle. I have
found the purpose behind change. This has come in the form of making a
difference in the lives of those around me. This has changed my perception as
well as outlook on life, giving me the ability to extract myself from the situation,
not to think just about the outcome in relation to myself, but to look at the needs
of those around me making my decision that will best reflect their needs and
ultimately goals that we all strive for.
For some change seems to be out of reach, just to be alive is a tormented curse. I
have had the privilege of over the past few years being part of a project that have
brought change to the lives of hundreds of these children throughout our country, giving them new purpose through change