Wow, I can’t quite believe we are at episode five and halfway through the first series. But…it’s Ben Page week! This was one of the first episode I recorded, on Skype in my living room, before I saw sense in renting a little studio. So be kind to me if you find the audio a little rough in places. It’s not perfect by any stretch but the first recordings were certainly a learning process.
Ben is an award-winning filmmaker and adventurer, with a shining talent for solo-powered travel, self-sufficiency and capturing corners of the world on camera to share with others. I met Ben at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival early this year, where he introduced his beautiful film The Frozen Road, which made me want to immediately plan an intimidating new adventure. The film follows his journey to cycle solo through the unforgiving frozen wilderness of Canada’s Yukon Territory on a fat bike, as part of his round the world expedition from 2014-17. It has caught the imagination of many thousands of outdoors lovers around the world at adventure festivals such as Banff, and deservedly won the Donald Tiso Best Film Award at Edinburgh. If you haven’t seen it you lucky people can even stream it free online at benpagefilms.com. His photography is stunning too, be sure to check it all out.
We talk about the reality of Ben’s bikepacking travels in some pretty inhospitable places and what was involved in filming his solo adventure, staying alive in minus 40 degrees, avoiding packs of wolves, the constant dichotomy between solitude and loneliness and the challenges of coming home and settling back into the UK whilst carving out a career as a filmmaker and photographer. Ben has a fascinating and inspirational approach to tackling fears in his life head on, and I’m amazed by the drive and clarity he shows as a young guy in his 20s, not least saving all the cash he needed to travel around the world when he was a student at university!
Finally, hot off the press, Ben has just released his new film, RJ Ripper, a collaboration with Joey Schusler. It follows the extraordinary trajectory of Rajesh Majar from the streets of Kathmandu to welding his first bike and becoming a world class mountain biker. Check it out on Vimeo.
Thanks so much to Ben for giving up precious time!