How this Brave Scottish Adventurer is Redefining Exploration

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This article, brought to you by National Geographic Traveller (UK), delves into the incredible journey of a Scottish adventurer and how he’s pushing the boundaries of exploration.

What ignited your career as an extreme adventurer?

At the age of 16, I embarked on a life-changing path by joining the Royal Marines and enrolling in the rigorous British Commandos training, known for being the toughest infantry training worldwide. Enduring a seven-month-long program, I honed essential skills such as survival, orienteering, and signalling. Eventually, I became one of the youngest Elite Commando Reconnaissance Snipers in the UK armed forces, serving in diverse locations from Northern Ireland to the Middle East. This intense career taught me how to survive in the harshest environments, and it was undoubtedly the spark that set me off on my adventurous journey.

You’ve taken on various expeditions in remote places. Which proved to be the most daunting?

Physically speaking, rowing across the Atlantic with Team Essence, a group of five British men, from mainland Europe to mainland South America, was the most challenging. Completing the arduous journey in 50 days, 10 hours, and 36 minutes, we faced uncertainties as no one had attempted this expedition before. The lack of knowledge about the duration and the most hazardous parts of the journey made it a genuine adventure in every sense. Despite thorough planning, rowing for two hours and resting for two hours became a mental and physical endurance test. At one point, we realized the closest person to us was Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station, underscoring the vastness and isolation of the Atlantic Ocean.

You now manage Vertical Planet, a company that provides safety consultation for TV and film crews in high-risk environments. Which project stands out as the most thrilling?

Working inside active volcanoes has been the most extreme environment I’ve encountered. For the gripping 10-part National Geographic series, Welcome to Earth, we filmed Will Smith inside the erupting Mount Yasur in Vanuatu. The shoot involved capturing explosions and lava bombs amidst poisonous gases, hurricane-force winds, and airborne silica and glass particles. Our priority was to minimize our time in the perilous surroundings while getting the filming done effectively and ensuring safety.

What role does exploration play in the 21st century?

In the 21st century, with much of the planet yet to be comprehended, exploration remains significant. However, the approach should focus on leaving minimal impact and giving back to the local communities in the areas we explore or travel to. Reflecting on my early days as an explorer, I recognize how it used to be a self-centered pursuit. But in recent years, I strive to connect every adventure to a meaningful story about the changing environment and climate. Given my wide audience reach, I feel a responsibility to teach and share these experiences.

What would you change in the world of travel?

The most crucial change I’d make is reducing the carbon footprint. As someone who travels frequently for work, I’m constantly mindful of the impact my journeys have on the environment. When possible, I opt for sustainable modes of travel, like walking and skiing, as we did during a trip to Greenland last year.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve been given is that our thoughts shape who we become. I wish I had known this as a child because there’s immense power in turning your thoughts into reality. For those aspiring to travel more, my advice is simple: Just go out there and start small. It doesn’t always have to be a grand, month-long expedition.

Describe what adventure means to you in three words.

For me, adventure is about “Expanding my mind.” It’s a quest to understand who I am and how I fit into this world. The places I visit and the challenges I undertake all contribute to my self-discovery, what I can learn, and what I can achieve.

Aldo Kane has teamed up with Exodus Travel to create the Aldo Kane Exodus Collection, a series of tours to destinations he has explored, ranging from the Okavango Delta in Botswana to the Canadian Rockies.

This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK). To subscribe to the magazine in select countries, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about adventurer

What kick-started the Scottish adventurer’s career?

The Scottish adventurer’s career began when he joined the Royal Marines at 16 and underwent intense training to become one of the youngest Elite Commando Reconnaissance Snipers in the UK armed forces. This experience taught him how to survive in extreme environments and set him on the path of adventure.

Which expedition was the most challenging for the adventurer?

The most challenging expedition for the adventurer was rowing across the Atlantic with Team Essence from mainland Europe to mainland South America. The journey took 50 days, 10 hours, and 36 minutes, and it was particularly difficult because no one had attempted this expedition before, making it a true adventure.

What is the adventurer’s role in the 21st century’s exploration?

In the 21st century, the adventurer believes that exploration should be done while leaving as little trace as possible and giving back to the local communities in the areas explored. He emphasizes telling meaningful stories connected to the changing environment and climate, using his platform to teach and share experiences.

How does the adventurer approach travel and its impact?

The adventurer is concerned about the carbon footprint of his travels. He tries to minimize his impact by opting for sustainable modes of travel whenever possible. During a trip to Greenland, for example, they made sure to use only walking and skiing as forms of transport once they arrived.

What advice does the adventurer have for aspiring travelers?

The adventurer’s advice for aspiring travelers is to start small and simply get out there. He believes that even small adventures can be significant and impactful. Additionally, he advocates for the power of thoughts in shaping one’s reality, encouraging a positive and determined mindset.

What does adventure mean to the Scottish explorer?

For the Scottish adventurer, adventure means “expanding my mind.” He sees it as a journey of self-discovery, understanding who he is, and his place in the world. Adventure helps him learn and achieve personal growth.

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1 comment

traveler_23 August 5, 2023 - 2:53 am

luv readin’ ’bout extreme explorations, it’s amazin’ how peeps pushin’ limits out there. wish i could be so adventurous!


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