Hi, I’m Max, 32 years old and I’m passionate about movement. Driven by this passion, a few months ago I carried out the most beautiful adventure of my life - crossing the Gobi desert, Mongolia. As part of the Grand Raid edition, I walked 400 km in 11 days, totally by myself. Pulling all the water, food, bivouac material and equipment I needed to sustain myself throughout this journey. Funds raised from this expedition were donated to Christina Noble foundation. An international NGO dedicated to serving the world's oppressed and marginalised children.
Now, you’re probably thinking - “this guy must be pretty hardcore”, right?! Truth is that I’m not a professional adventurer. I have a “normal” day job. I also live in a big city, so spending even one night in the desert by myself was already going to be a huge adventure. Which meant I needed to prepare. To make sure I’m strong and ready for the challenges awaiting me.
This made this adventure not only a crazy trip of 11 days, but a 9 months’ journey. I’m hoping that by sharing my experience, you could also be inspired by what I’ve learnt from crossing the desert alone;
Like any long journey, my path wasn’t always smooth. I actually started my journey with a big injury. I had to wait 4 months to recover my sprained and fractured ankle. As you can imagine, it was frustrating to start with this kind of challenge. But looking back, I know that it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Because during those long months of recovery, my desire to reach my goal grew day by day. Pain, physio, repeating exercises again and again…I know that these obstacles made me come back stronger!
After this long tunnel of hard work and recovery, I needed to prepare my body for walking a marathon each day, pulling about 50 kilos… How did I do it? In this kind of preparation, the most important thing is to work regularly! Every day I walked the most I could possibly walk. Biking as soon and as much as possible… I was moving every day with the feeling of connecting my whole body. I would compare this to a huge puzzle, and each day I was connecting a few more pieces… Through hard work I was feeling better day after day, feeling stronger, feeling more and more prepared.
For more than 3 months I trained hard to prepare my body, my whole body. Because having the body as strong as you want doesn’t make sense if you don’t train your mind. I live in Paris so spending even a night in the desert was already a huge adventure. I didn’t want to miss my goal because of a lack of inspiration or motivation. So the most important part of the work for me was to prepare the mind. I knew that my trip to Mongolia would also become a spiritual journey.
During those months of preparation for the journey, I took a short break for a weekend in London. When I was walking around Camden Market, I first stumbled upon Psylo. Preparing for my physical and spiritual journey, that day at Psylo’s shop, I understood that clothes could perfectly illustrate the way I wanted to live. I understood that if I was to walk in a natural place like the Gobi desert - I must respect it! Which is why I choose to take Psylo clothing with me on my adventure. For the walking part I needed very “technical” clothing. But I also needed clothing for chilling out in the evening by the fire. Psylo’s Long Necka Pants and Playa Hoodie Tee were my number one choice for feeling free and connecting with who I really am.
After all this preparation, finally it was time to start the adventure. It would be impossible to cover here all the aspects of such a huge, long and rich trip. But I hope some of my photos, together with the essence of my experience would help paint the picture for you. Although it was essentially a physical accomplishment, I feel the sense of achievement in my heart and in my mind. It is this essence I want to share with you.
Being alone in the desert, I learnt that the two things you can always count on are Mother Nature, and yourself. I learned a lot about myself… Having a big introspection and deepening the relationship with me, myself and I. I’ve seen beautiful landscapes and met amazing people (of course not many, lol). And those moments eclipsed and made the walk secondary. Those moments made me realize the power of human exchanges.
I also learnt gratitude, for this unique opportunity allowing me to connect with nature. The true silence, the flora, fauna, real wildlife… It was the deepest connection I’ve ever felt with nature. Crossing the Gobi has filled my heart and my soul for all the rest of my life.
After my return to my “normal” life I was strengthened by my experience and the new vision I gained. I now use movement more and more in my daily life. I work on keeping my head and my body as connected as possible. I plan plenty more adventures in the next months and next year. Most importantly, everyday I keep in mind that I’m incredibly lucky to move and to use this huge playground called earth… Thanks Mother Nature for giving me this amazing opportunity!
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy this story and find it inspiring for any challenge you might be facing right now. Feel free to share from your experience in comments!
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