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a blog by Chris Barrow

Off the grid

Kielder water panorama

Seth Godin reminds us that there is no such thing as writer’s block (just as there is no such thing as “the wall” in a marathon – they are both mental constructs) but it is 2nd April since I last posted here.

No specific reason, other than a crowded calendar, a series of exhausting weeks, some Saturday’s working (which is when I normally visit this space) and a sense of no room to breathe, relax and create the space in which to stop writing about the business of dentistry.

Doing it, doing it, doing it, as Michael Gerber would say.

Today (Friday) I’ll be leaving London early to visit a client in South Wales and then catching a flight from Cardiff to Newcastle, there to meet with my 3 fellow conspirators in that expedition business that I’ve made tantalising reference to in recent months.

The 4 of us are off to Kielder Forest for a weekend off the grid, camping out in the wild (unless the weather turns unbearably miserable, in which case Plan B will be to talk around a farmhouse kitchen rather than a camp fire).

It has been 2 years since Sandy Sanderson walked over to me in the Radisson Blu, Manchester Airport and asked for a selfie “with that bloke on the telly”.

We chatted about my experience on ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’, what difference it had made and what I was going to do about it.

That last question had me thinking.

All well and good to dine out on the TV show until family, friends and colleagues have heard enough, equally to change certain aspects of my lifestyle and simplify things (although I have retained some annoyingly bad habits) but what about the “paying it forward” bit?

Sandy challenged me to consider that and, through him, I met with Tino and Amy and we slowly evolved the idea of creating safe opportunities for other people to get “off the grid” and take a good look in the mirror whilst free from the distractions of modern life.

Over the past two years we have slowly, but surely, met, bonded and enjoyed great conversation and allowed our imagination to run wild with ideas, then honed and crafted those ideas in the fires of the reality of what can be done.

Next month we will be launching a new business.


To facilitate the physical, emotional and spiritual enlightenment that can come through a controlled return to the wild.


To create a variety of wilderness retreat environments in remote locations, ranging from 4 to 21 days duration.


We are not expecting our clients to hunt and find their own food and water – this isn’t a survival test and I don’t want anybody to lose 20% of their body weight in 14 days as I did.

We will invite our clients to join a small group and venture into parts of the world that are way off the tourist and trekking trail (as you will soon discover).

Forget Machu Picchu, Everest and The Great Wall.

Where we are going you will not be bumping into anyone you know.

This weekend, as well as getting back to nature, we will be putting the finishing touches to our soft launch in June, from which we are looking for our first clients, ready to take 21 days off the grid in February 2017 – destination………..

You’ll find out soon enough – and you’ll never guess. I’ll be there and I cannot wait.

So wish us luck this weekend – and watch this space if you are ready for a once in lifetime experience.

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