We caught up with John Horsfall - adventurer, businessman, athlete and Dundas Man. To name a few of his many accomplishments he has run 27 marathons in 23 days in the Kenyan heat, skied to Afghanistan, cycled around America, founded adventure enabling business Ziba Adventures and has recently started The Modern Adventurer Podcast.

Dundas London: John, great to be chatting with you today. Can you start by telling us where it all started?

John Horsfall: I suppose I have always had a love for sport and travel. Any sport that involves running after things (I sound like a dog saying that). But after finishing University in 2011 and a little unsure of what was next, the idea came to cycle around America. It was a silly idea but a year later I found myself buying a bike and was on my way to America. I had never ridden more than 20 miles in a day, and suddenly I was doing 100 odd miles carrying all my stuff. It was challenging but so exciting and rewarding. I swore I would never ride a bike again after the pain of the saddle for two months, but two weeks later, I was cycling down New Zealand. I loved going off into the unknown and exploring. 


Fast forward to 2016, I had decided to quit my job and was standing on Mount Elgon on the Ugandan Border about to attempt to run 1250km across Kenya. A marathon every day for a month. I had never run a marathon before, and now I was proposing to do one every day. Although there were many scares, near misses and injuries, it was an incredible adventure filled with everything you could possibly want from an adventure. From then on, I was hooked and have been pursuing a life of adventures ever since.

DL: Amazing adventures! And what has the last year looked like for you in terms of your drive and desire to explore and discover?

JH: Last year I decided to try and help people into adventure. The past three years had been about me, and that didn't really sit well. So I set up Ziba Adventures with the sole purpose to help and inspire people into adventure. Cycling Retreats in the Wild where we camp and adventures where people just come along for an off the track type adventure. Believe me when I say these adventures are not for everyone. When I had two trips cancelled due to covid my drive was to set up the Podcast to give people a weekly story about exploration and adventure. It gives me the chance to chat with some extraordinary people who have done some incredible stuff.

John wears the Dundas Coral

 John wears the Dundas Tuscan

DL: You mentioned your podcast which sounds amazing; from interviewing so many athletes and explorers, what stands out for you as the key to endurance within adventure?

JH: Attitude and determination. A correlation I have found from talking to so many adventurers on the Podcast is their desire not to quit, to prove a point to themselves or someone back home. It can be quite dull with these adventures, but if you have that determination that no matter what happens, you won't quit, then you can achieve extraordinary things. On my run across Kenya, I had shin splints in both legs by day 25 and said to myself, no matter what happens, I won't quit; if I have to crawl to the sea, I will in order to finish. Now in lockdown, it just needs the temperature to drop two degrees before I make an excuse not to go out for a run! But in Episode 13 of the Podcast, Jenny goes into a bit more detail about the mind's power.


John wears the Dundas Tuscan

DL: Dundas London is passionate about respecting the environment we love to explore. This seems like a real passion of yours as well, can you tell us a bit about your upcoming trip to the River Severn.

JH: The idea with this is to get a group together and stand up paddleboard from source to sea of the River Severn, picking up river rubbish along the way. I think it will take about a week so I hope we manage to catch some good weather along the way and what I hope is that we can shine a light on the pollution of the rivers.

DL: Great stuff. What advice would you give to someone who is drawn to risk and adventure like you were back in 2012, where it started for you.

JH: Life on the edge is addictive; it's probably a bit like a drug addict; you spend all your money on it and ruin a few relationships you have, so be careful what you wish for. Still keen? Well then I would say make a plan and stick to it. On the Podcast, I always ask what they would recommend to get started in Adventure - Have a plan and stick to it comes up a lot, put down the deposit, book that flight, make a financial commitment and go for it. The planning is exciting, and the starts are always terrifying, but I still find it is worth it in the end. You will only regret the things you don't do.

John wears the Dundas Tuscan

John wears the Dundas Coral

DL: And finally, what’s your favourite thing about combining adventure and storytelling?

JH: Breaking down preconceptions of places! Take Iran, for instance - The media usually show this country in quite a negative light. In 2018 when we were skiing to Afghanistan, I want to show a different side of Iran, and I suppose I will try to do that through photography and stories. There we hiked up in the mountains with four Iranian friends for seven hours and skied down for two minutes in the worst conditions, but it was one of my most memorable moments from the three-month expedition. People like to tell you about how dangerous some of these places are without ever experiencing it for themselves. I like to show a different side, but if I can inspire one person to take that Adventure or go to that country they have always wanted to but have been too scared to go alone, I feel I have achieved my goal of storytelling.

DL: Thank you so much for chatting with us John, we can’t wait to see what you do next.

Keep up with John’s adventures through Instagram, listen to The Modern Adventure Podcast & get involved with his up-coming adventure trips at Ziba Adventures.