Imagine a life where you work just enough to fund your next adventure. Well, for extreme risk-taker Luke Richmond this lifestyle is his reality.
But as Luke explains to Bushy Martin on the Get Invested Podcast, it is much more than a bit of fun. Spending his life in Muay-Thai training camps, the world’s highest pinnacles, Antarctic waters and dangerous jungles has also saved his life.
It became the antidote to deal with the deep darkness that surrounded Luke, who had struggled to cope after four years of mental and physical brutality in the military.
“I had my cliched rock bottom moment over in London (travelling). I became a drug addict and I woke up in jail one day not knowing how I got there,” he said.
“I was getting hosed down by the police because I was covered in my own filth. And it was at that moment in that cell where I knew that something had gone terribly wrong and I need to change my life.”
Still trapped in the cycle of drug addiction, a desperate call to an old buddy from the Army would be the catalyst for change.
“He told me to get out of London, go to this place in Phuket, Thailand. It’s like a mixed martial arts training camp. He said go there and try to clean yourself up,” Luke said.
“When you’re an addict, everything’s suppressed. So you don’t have dreams, aspirations, goals or any of that. When I started to wake up again, all of that came back.”
The sweaty training camps of Thailand were just what Luke needed. His breakthrough over addiction led to a desire for adventures and exploration, which he was always fascinated with since childhood.
But he didn’t know where to start.
“So that’s (adventure) what I wanted to do from then on, but I was also in a position where I was broke, Luke said.
“I was a recovering addict and I had no real skills apart from killing people. So I couldn’t really do much.”
Luke returned to Australia to earn money working in the mines, and discovered the Seven Summits list. It was a light bulb moment – Luke set a goal to climb the highest mountain on every continent in the world.
So far he has incredibly reached six summits, set a world record rowing across the Atlantic and dragged a cart containing all of his food and water 1800km across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.
“The biggest thing that I’ve found with any of these big adventures is you have to be very, very comfortable with just being horrendously uncomfortable all the time,” he said.
“I’ve had trips for I’ve failed a couple hundred metres from the summit due to weather. We’ve had everything go pear shape when you’re rescuing people out of crevasses, white outs, avalanche danger, all that stuff. It’s all dependent on Mother Nature.”
They’re experiences and challenges that most every day people couldn’t stand. But Luke would learn to ‘thank’ the suffering, for how it has transformed him for the better.
“I started to be very grateful for the opportunity. And then when I was grateful for it, all that suffering had the intensity turn down a little bit. And it wasn’t so bad,” he said.
“And that little mantra is something I’ve carried onto all of my horrendous trips … when they start getting real, real tough just be grateful for it and enjoy that suffering.”
Luke and his wife now appreciate all of the small things and intentionally take time out to find a silver lining in everything life throws at them.
“We live a very simple life,” he said.
“Time just allows reflection. You get to ask yourselves these questions, you know, what do I really want to do? What if I die in five years? What do I do now? You never ask yourself these types of questions if you’re working 70 hours a week.
“Keep reading. Keep learning. Never get stuck in your way. So that’s something I’ve always done.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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