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The Master & The Apprentice

Updated: Mar 21

“If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re not living.” 


What do you think?


This creed for living life to the full,  sounds to me like something that a teacher might tell their younger student.


15 or so years ago the wonderful Wade Campbell, founder of Borderlands Sri Lanka, had just given me my first taste of working with young people in the outdoors. He was the master and I the willing disciple absorbing every word and action. I was blown away by the power of adventure to develop and prepare young people to go out into the world, be themselves and do good things. 


It turned out to be a life changing experience. 


I left Sri Lanka and on return to the UK began an intentional career change to become a Youth Expedition Leader. 


What I learnt from Wade at Borderlands was both my inspiration and beacon of light. 


Like most students I dreamt about one day returning to Borderlands to say thank you, and seek approval from Wade as a worthy graduate doing good work. 


This March (2024) I had the opportunity to go back to Borderlands. This time I returned as the co-founder of my own adventure business, The Living Project, with a team comprising 13 students and 2 teachers from our own excited International School client - The American International School - Riyadh.


You can imagine the excitement and perhaps the trepidation. How will the Master respond to me? Will I remain forever the students, or will I gain the acknowledgment my ego requires?  


The truth is that Wade invited me into his family home and treated me and our team with the greatest hospitality.  


However, it wouldn't have been much fun if we didn’t also have to size each other up a little in order to get to know each other again. I’m sure Wade needed to test me, to see if all my words and bravado were real.


So... we set about finding a way to work together and deliver an excellent Learning for Service Adventure. To our credit, we succeeded. We went with the flow, flexed to allow each other to shine. We trusted the process, and the magic of being outside.


Wade is a man of action. He is the only person I know who can transform a building site in the jungle into a fully functional and vibe- filled activity retreat centre in a matter of days. His drive to do this, his welcome, and his treatment of me was clearly a testament to how he was feeling about me and our adventure. However, I needed more. I needed some words of affirmation.  Once I left, he sent me this message. 


“What a pleasure to get to spend time and reconnect. The ground work done on this trip was a big part of the success and many thanks to The Living Project team.” 


I was proud. Now if I may, I'd love to offer a few of my own words in response… 


“Thank you Wade and Borderlands for hosting The Living Project and AIS-R so generously. You remain a beacon of light for doing good things in the world. I’m still learning from you, a Master. You are a pioneer, you have chosen to find and explore the edge while meeting the outrageous trials and tribulations of life full on and never giving up.  I would expect nothing else. Others, like me who follow in your wake, can, as a result, look over that edge knowing that somebody was there before them.” 


And if a once student, now graduated, can offer some of my own advice, it would most humbly go something like this: 


“My friend, keep exploring the edge, but don’t forget to get in the hammock once in a while, sit back and take a moment to soak it all in. Revel in the moment and really smell the flowers with your family and friends. Enjoy! Be cool with the magnificence of everything you have created, knowing that it provides security now, but like all things it will pass.” 


And if I might be so bold, I’d like to offer a revised version of the aforementioned creed for living that resonates with me now: 


“If you're not living life on the edge, you're not living, but do make sure you take time to step back and enjoy the view.”  


Cheers, respect & thanks for it all! 



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