The front cover for Boundless was designed by partner Andy Kirkpatrick - he was adamant that the cover picture shouldn’t include my wheelchair. “It’s not really what the story is about” he said “and it might put people off picking it up if they think it’s a book about disability.” An intriguing perspective, but certainly the cover image says what the book is really about - facing challenge and fear.
In my first book, If You Fall, I write about recovering from the rock-climbing accident that paralysed me, and about my return to adventures and embracing change. I never set out to write this book but wrote because writing helped me figure difficult emotions out. Boundless is a very different book, about facing challenges and fear both in the wilderness and at home. I set about writing it as part of a mountain writing programme at the Banff Literary Arts Centre. It tells the story of the biggest physical challenge I’ve ever faced - a month long journey sit-skiing 600km across the wilderness of the Greenland icecap, my arms as my engine. It was a journey that led to the biggest mental challenge I could have ever anticipated, returning to the rock and a week-long climb suspended on the kilometre-high overhanging face of El Capitan.
I hope that Boundless isn’t a book about expedition heroics, but one which offers a view of life’s challenges and the profound effects of wilderness. The adventures I write about have shown me just what is possible when we set our heart and mind to something, and have the support of a good team - then we can really go beyond limits.
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