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Our (true) Creation Myth

Hello. I'm Tim, Adventurous Ink's founder and curator. I'd like to tell you a little about why I started the business...

Have you ever noticed that ex-smokers are the most vociferous about passive smoking? I’m like that with the outdoors. It meant everything to me for a long time growing up, until I lost my way. Now I’m back, at somewhere past 40, and I’m gutted at what I missed out on.

It drives my passion for helping others find happiness and contentment in the outdoors.

I can't actually recall the black and white picture above, but it's me aged two or three, desperately trying to follow a group from my Mum's Girl Guide Troop on a hike up Helvellyn. I was clearly set on the outdoor life from an early age!

As an only child living in a South Yorkshire hamlet with no friends nearby, it’s hardly surprising that the outdoors was my thing. Green was my favourite colour. My favourite bodywarmer had a special pocket which housed a homemade survival kit: a bent paperclip and a bit of string.

As I hit my teenage years I did all the outdoor rites of passage: mountain biking, kayaking and climbing my way across the north of England. It was all set to continue when I moved to the mecca of the climbing fraternity, Sheffield, to study Geography at University.

Fast forward 5 years and you find me spending my weekends chasing the next shirtless high in a sweaty nightclub. The outdoors little more than the occasional place to recover my senses, the morning after a night that never ended.

Stupidly I had slacked my way through A-Levels, failing them with style. My higher education options dwindled to the only place that would accept me: Coventry University. I could hardly have been further from decent climbing or mountain biking. I was however on Birmingham’s doorstep, home of one of the best Techno scenes in the world. I can’t lie, I had a blast.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick...

Life progressed. Marriage. Career. Kids. Student, then teacher, of Taekwondo.

All good stuff, no regrets.

But I wasn't getting outdoors. I wasn’t climbing. Not even walking.

I’d never made it to the Alps, nevermind the Himalayas. I could count the number of big multi-pitch routes I’d climbed on the fingers of one hand. A winter ascent of a Scottish couloir, still a mythical fantasy.

My busy life meant that these unfulfilled youthful dreams never troubled me one bit.

And then I hit 40.

You’ve heard this bit countless times. Yes, midlife crisis in full flow, tattoos and everything. I even seriously pondered selling my classic VW camper to buy a vintage Porsche.

One month later my Dad died.

This steadfast companion who had driven me the length and breath, who had spent hours “Enjoying the view”, whilst catching a breather as I raced ahead up yet another hill, would accompany me no more.

To be honest he would probably have been happier walking along, fishing in or boating on a canal. But I now know he could see a fire burning inside me and was determined to stoke it, and made it the thing that cemented our bond.

He never openly expressed disappointment with my life choices, but thinking back over the occasional comment, I could see it confused him. How had the fire gone out?

As he caught his last breath in a ward of Carlisle Infirmary, I looked out the window, over the Solway Firth to the hills of Dumfries and Galloway and knew it was time for a change.

Adventurous Ink is a big part of that change. I'm only sad that Dad never got to see the fire rekindled.

And the campervan? I still sold it, businesses don't run on fresh air you know!

July 01, 2017 — tim frenneaux