Matt Prior Adventure Academy: Be alive, don’t just exist

Positive News

World record-holding adventurer Matt Prior has driven a taxi to Everest base camp and crossed Siberia on a WW2 motorbike. His latest challenge is a first-of-its-kind academy designed to inspire ordinary people with the spirit of exploration, challenge and self-discovery

I definitely wasn’t born a natural adventurer. But I’ve always been curious: wondering what else is on this planet, how different people live, what opportunities and challenges are out there. I wanted to see these things with my own eyes.

As a result I’ve ended up dedicating a large proportion of my life to adventure. I have driven a London Taxi to Everest base camp and hold the world record for the highest altitude a taxi has ever been – 17,143ft. I have driven a rickshaw from the southern tip of India to the Himalayas and taken several off-road motorbike trips around Asia and South America. As I write this, I have just returned from a pioneering trip to circumnavigate Lake Baikal in Siberia – which was just over 1000 miles and two weeks on the ice, in winter, using only an old WW2 Russian motorbike and sidecar – another world first.

There is no feeling comparable in this world to the experience of true adventure. My expeditions have given me perspective on life and helped me appreciate what’s really important. It taught me who I am, what I’m capable of and showed me how others live around the world. By condensing adversity and unknowns into a small space of time you can learn important lessons about yourself that otherwise may take a lifetime to master. Now I am no longer fearful.

“There is no feeling comparable in this world to the experience of true adventure.”

I think not, ‘why’, but ‘why not?’. I see the world as a place of opportunity and potential, confident that I can overcome any obstacles in my way.

Unfortunately, though, as the modern world engulfs yet more of our planet, life is becoming sanitised, safe and to be honest, boring. This is not the environment you need to flourish, learn, push boundaries and feel alive. In fact it is having the opposite effect. Life is becoming too easy. Look at nature: it never stops – everything is constantly striving to grow. Humans are going in reverse, becoming too comfortable and slowly stagnating in the process.

Adventures are a great way to break free. I understand the pressures of normal life. I need to pay bills and put a roof over my head too. But I try and go back to real living, real experiences as much as possible. I want to feel alive rather than just exist. The hardest part is taking the plunge, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and embracing the unknown.

I realised that what is needed is a way of helping people take that first step. It’s for this reason I’ve just launched a unique, one-of-a-kind workshop called the Matt Prior Adventure Academy. I want to give people the courage, inspiration and practical information they need to embark upon their own adventures – big or small.

We all have the same excuses running in our head: ‘I wouldn’t know where to start’, ‘It’s too dangerous’, ‘I can’t afford it’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ‘I don’t have the confidence’. Through the Academy I hope to provide a safe but challenging space for people to face those fears and change their life for the better.

The weeklong workshop is a no-frills, practical course designed to give you the tools and confidence to tackle your own expeditions whatever and wherever they may be. And reap the personal development benefits that come from that: self-confidence, self-esteem, stress-management and more. I will teach you how to adapt, plan, problem-solve, research and overcome adversity. I will share everything I have learned over the past fifteen years on all manner of expeditions and adventures, including how to get sponsorship to help fund your trip.

The workshops are held in Indonesia, which is one of my favourite parts of the world. We will explore several different islands together, hike up active volcanoes, discover hidden villages, soak in hot springs, ride small motorbikes and much more. In the evenings we’ll cover all the topics required to get the ball rolling on your own adventure and answer any other questions you might have. The course is designed to be pragmatic – you’ll be learning while actually on the adventure, which is what sets this Academy apart. You’ll get to see things first hand, practice what you’ve been taught and experience the highs and lows of a professional expedition in just under a week. There are only three people per course to ensure the proper amount of one-to-one time.

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I will also be donating a percentage of my profits to the NSPCC, which was a very important charity to a close friend of mine who recently passed away. He was the inspiration for setting this Academy up and the real driving force behind why I am doing this. He had no regrets and I don’t want to either.

If you are itching to see the world on your own terms. If you want to unplug and get off the grid for a while but don’t know where to start – this course is for you. We are all working harder for less. There is no time anymore to simply be in the moment. But beyond the veil of modern life, the world is filled with potential and opportunities for growth and excitement. Adventure can open a door to the world, and a door inside you. I wasn’t born a natural adventurer. But if you’re curious about the planet, then perhaps you could become an adventurer too. What have you got to lose?

Matt Prior Adventure Academy Main Promo from Matt Prior Adventure Academy on Vimeo.


Positive Travel is edited by Aaron Millar. He writes about adventure travel, and personal development through exploring the world, at The Blue Dot Perspective.

Photo title: Matt Prior adventuring on a moped in south-east Asia

Photo credit: © Matt Prior

  • gail

    Dear Matt,
    Love the idea, but issues of Money and Time are big when I consider following it up. Any ideas – have you a programme running in the UK? Also have you thought about the older population? Many of them are also keen for adventure! Gail

  • Matt

    Hi Gail.

    Thanks for your message. I understand that money and time are the two biggest hurdles when it comes to most things. When following up on anything though, I think the real focus needs to be on what you will get out of it and then concentrate on how to make it happen and if it’s what you really want. I know this is a fairly big commitment but at the same time, for just over a week of your life, in the grand scheme of things it’s minimal for the benefits you will get out of it. I have done many similar things myself over the years and so understand that you have to work tirelessly to save the money and get the time off – it’s not easy! At the same time, anything worth doing in life never is. This could easily change your life and open all sorts of possibilities and opportunities. If you listen to the testimonials in the video and read them on the website they will hopefully show you that this is worth the investment. I do also understand that even if you really wanted too that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be accessible to everyone though. Unfortunately as I am running two careers and living in Hong Kong, there’s only so much I can currently do at the moment to cater for everyone in the way I would like to until this grows.

    As for running in the the UK, it has crossed my mind but there are no plans to do so at the moment. This is because the idea is to get off the grid, go to an unknown environment, where no English is spoken and experience several once in a lifetime opportunities, learning as we go. I don’t think the UK can currently offer this. It could work to a certain extent but to get the maximum value I think it needs to be in an area such as Indonesia where the course is currently based. I’m not sure what level of adventure you’re looking for in what timescale and budget but would love to be more than happy to help out. I know there are outward bound courses and low level weekend adventures in the UK that I could point you towards but nothing like this I’m afraid. There’s nothing like this in the world at the moment and so I think it depends again on what you’re looking for. There is a larger plan to branch out into many other countries but I’m not sure the UK will be in the near term as it doesn’t achieve the objectives I am looking to achieve for people. The aim is to give people the best experience possible.

    As for the older population, there is no barrier to age, all we require is a reasonable level of fitness and a few days experience on a scooter – the same for all applicants. I am confident that age will not be a factor unless we’re talking about very old age then unfortunately this may not be possible, but this would be up to a medical professional, not us in this case. We are in the process of looking at removing barriers to the course such as offering a different method of overland transport but this will start to detract from the overall experience and so I am reluctant to change it too much as I know it is a great overall experience that achieves what I am looking to do for people. It’s a fine balance.

    I hope that goes some way to answering your questions. Please feel free to email us [email protected] for any further questions, I would be more than happy to give you a call if that would be quicker too.

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