The First Mile is an immersive travel podcast, bringing you untold stories from the world of adventure. It is presented by Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart — two travel journalists, who are adventurers in their own right — and explores everything from the ethics of cultural tourism, to documenting your journeys and making a living from travel. Ash and Pip navigate this territory with some of the world’s greatest travellers, who reveal how they got their first break in travel writing, planned remote expeditions, or made the switch from a corporate career to a life of adventure. Alongside these in-depth interviews are travel-narrative dispatches: evocative field recordings from Ash and Pip’s adventures, which take the listener along for the ride. New episodes are released weekly, in 10-episode seasons. ****** Season one’s interview guests include: author Monisha Rajesh, explorer Levison Wood, film-maker Reza Pakravan, and travel-writer Leon McCarron. Our dispatches come from Annapurna, Nepal, and Whanganui, New Zealand, where our hosts report back on rites of passage, celestial navigation, the joys of moonshine liquor, and a whole lot more. ****** Ash Bhardwaj is an award-winning broadcaster, film-maker and Telegraph Travel columnist. He regularly reports for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, and his films have appeared on BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and National Geographic. Pip Stewart has cycled halfway around the world and completed a world-first kayak descent of Guyana’s Essequibo River (where she picked up a flesh-eating parasite). She is the former Red Bull adventure editor, and her presenting work has appeared on BBC, Al Jazeera and The Telegraph.****** We hope you enjoy The First Mile. Please let us know what you think of it in the comments, and give us a rating, too.
Ep10: Rhiane Fatinikun on Getting Started in the Outdoors, and the Importance of Diversity.
In the final episode of Season 1, we meet Rhiane Fatinikun, the founder of Black Girls Hike.Rhiane founded Black Girls Hike in 2019, to provide a safe space for Black women to explore the outdoors. It is now a thriving community, with groups based in the North West, the Midlands and London.In this episode, Rhiane tells us about how she went from having no hiking experience or equipment (and being unable to read a map) to leading a national hiking movement. She also shares her hints and tips on how to create communities and take that first step towards trying something new. This episode, find out:Why Rhiane’s first London meet up didn’t go entirely to plan.How she built and expanded a community.How to take that first step towards trying something new.How to overcome self doubt.The power of social media to connect people in real life.Why it’s important to take up and created spaces for people to feel like they belong.About racism in the UK and the outdoors community.Why we need to share both negative and positive experiences.How she went from being a beginner hiker to leading a group up Snowdon. Why you should trust that you will come into your own season.How to deal with negativity.Why to plan to have no plan when you travel.Links mentioned in this episode:Rhiane’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/itsnotrhiane/?hl=en Black Girls Hike Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bgh_uk/?hl=en Black Girls Hike Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bghmcr/Black Girls Hike Twitter https://twitter.com/ukbgh?lang=en Tales of a Hiker https://www.talesofahiker.com Tales of a Hiker InstagramHumans of New York https://www.humansofnewyork.com Kendal Mountain Festival https://www.kendalmountainfestival.comWe Flock Together https://www.instagram.com/flocktogether.world/?utm_source=ig_embed Mountain Leader Training https://www.mountain-training.org/qualifications/walking/mountain-leader Moses Gate Park https://www.lancswt.org.uk/our-work/projects/kingfisher-trail/moses-gate-country-parkEpping Forest http://www.visiteppingforest.org JOIN US ON SOCIAL:We’d love to hear what you think of this week’s The First Mile and if you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart or Twitter @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart. *Please consider leaving a review if you enjoyed this episode. Thank you!
Ep9: Leon McCarron on Slow Travel and Misunderstood Places
In this episode, Ash meets Leon McCarron: writer, broadcaster, and North Face explorer.Leon has walked a 1000-mile loop of the Holy Land, crossed China from north to south, and travelled on foot in Kosovo, Armenia and on the Yemeni island of Socotra. He has also cycled 14,000 miles across three continents, walked through the Empty Quarter desert, and ridden across Patagonia on horseback. Leon’s work seeks out stories of humanity and nuance in parts of the world that are often demonised or misunderstood by Western media. In this episode, find out:About Leon’s 1,000 mile walk through the Middle East (including why Leon and Pip found themselves walking along a smugglers route in Jordan!).Why Leon’s travels turned from journeys focused on landscapes to those focused on people and what he’s learned as a result.How to tell powerful stories - the power and use of journaling, and why less is more.How Leon created his career path.How Leon enjoys telling stories by travelling on foot.Why reading works by local authors not only aids understanding but also excitement about visiting a country.Leon’s experience witnessing the Arbaʽeen Pilgrimage that takes place in Iraq.How and why Leon has helped establish new walking trails in central China and northern Iraq.Why people’s careers are not always what they appear.Why you might want to avoid googling popular travel destinations.Links mentioned in this episode:Leon website https://www.leonmccarron.com Leon Instagram https://www.instagram.com/leonmccarron/ Leon Twitter https://twitter.com/leonmccarron?lang=en Leon’s book: The Land Beyond https://www.leonmccarron.com/writing1.html Rob Lillwall https://roblilwall.com Alastair Humprehys https://alastairhumphreys.com Arbaʽeen Pilgrimage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbaʽeen_PilgrimageThe Long Form Podcast https://longform.org/podcast Our Man in the Middle East https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rmkcd Ramblings with Claire Balding https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006xrr2/episodes/player On Writing by Stephen KingBird by Bird by Anne LamottThe Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-WellsJOIN US ON SOCIAL:We’d love to hear what you think of this week’s The First Mile and if you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart or Twitter @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart.*Please consider leaving a review if you enjoyed this episode. Thank you!
Ep8: Dispatch from New Zealand: Maori Hakas, Sacred Rivers, and Jet-boat Evacuations.
In this action-packed Dispatch episode, we join Ash in Aotearoa New Zealand's North Island. Ash tackles rapids, learns about Maori culture (including traditional navigational techniques) - and makes it back to the UK just before lockdown hit.Ash meets the captain of an ocean-going waka, who left the New Zealand Army to navigate oceans with just the stars, the weather, and the taste of the water. Then he canoes down the Whanganui River in the company of a man who teaches Maori heritage and history through a river journey.In this episode:How the Maori people navigated to Aotearoa New Zealand from near the equator.The history wrapped up in Maori myth and legend.How the value of nature is communicated through metaphor.The historical importance and modern legacy of the Treaty of Waitangi.What the haka means.What European colonisation meant for indigenous peoples.Why the Whanganui River has the same legal status as a person.The geological representation of Maori familial connections.Links mentioned in this episode:New Zealand tourism board https://www.newzealand.com/uk/ Treaty of Waitangi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Waitangi Waitangi Treaty Grounds https://www.waitangi.org.nz The Bridge to Nowhere https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge_to_Nowhere_(New_Zealand) Whanganui River has the same legal status as a person https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/04/maori-river-in-new-zealand-is-a-legal-person/
Ep7: Pip Stewart on Creating a Lifestyle Career, and Making Social Media Work for You.
Ever wondered how to become a so-called “influencer”? The secret is storytelling. In this episode, Ash interviews his friend and co-host, Pip Stewart. Pip has cycled halfway around the world, embarked on a world-first kayak journey through the Amazon and survived a flesh-eating parasite. She talks about how she accidentally fell into a career in travel journalism, how one massive adventure changed her life, and why she sees social media as the route to editorial independence.In this episode, find out:Why you need to embrace being shit.If it’s important to get a journalism degree. Why hustle is key.Why social media is so powerful (and how to avoid its dark side).How Pip got a job as Red Bull’s Adventure Editor.How to get noticed in a crowded media world.How to create a lifestyle career that works for you.Why you should take online relationships offline.How to deal with your ego.How to become an influencer.Links mentioned in this episode:Pip Website https://www.phillippastewart.com Pip Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pipstewart/ Pip Twitter https://twitter.com/Stewart_Pip Jo Cantello, Wolfsong media Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong https://jmsc.hku.hk Elizabeth Gilbert on following your curiosity.Reza Pakravan https://www.rezapakravan.com Explorers Connect https://www.explorersconnect.com Ness Knight http://www.nessknight.com Laura Bingham https://www.laurabingham.org RedBull.com https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/ Preview app https://thepreviewapp.comInshot http://www.inshot.com CutStory.JOIN US ON SOCIAL:We’d love to hear what you think of this week’s The First Mile and if you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart or Twitter @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart.*Please consider leaving a review if you enjoyed this episode. Thank you!
Ep6: Ash Bhardwaj on Adventure With Purpose and Becoming a Travel Journalist.
How can you travel the world and get paid for it? Ash Bhardwaj is a travel writer and storyteller - and also co-host of The First Mile. He’s reported from around the world for global broadcasters such as the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, has a monthly travel column in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, and has made films for Channel 4, Discovery and the BBC.In this special episode, Pip interviews her co-host about launching and sustaining career in adventure travel. If you want to travel with purpose, or make a living out of travel, this is the episode for you.In this episode, find out:How Ash got into travel journalism.Why Ash was a terrible cowboy.How a trip to India to take his Dad’s ashes back shaped his curiosity for travel journalism and travel with purpose.Ash’s steps to achieving in any industry - skills, network and portfolio.How to network.Why you should say yes to opportunities.Why you should just keep turning up.Why travelling with purpose enhances your travel experiences.The importance of managing your mental health.Links mentioned in this episode:Ash website https://www.ashbhardwaj.com/bio Ash Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ashbhardwaj/?hl=en Ash Twitter https://twitter.com/AshBhardwaj Levison Wood http://www.levisonwood.com Secret Compass https://secretcompass.com Walking with The Wounded https://www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk Nick Crane https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Crane Rise and Shine Audio Network https://www.riseandshineaudio.com/The Army Reserve https://www.army.mod.uk/who-we-are/the-army-reserve/ Edgelands https://www.telegraph.co.uk/edgelands/AA Gill https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/177627.A_A_GillMichael Palin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Palin JOIN US ON SOCIAL:We’d love to hear what you think of this week’s The First Mile and if you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart or Twitter @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart. *Please consider leaving a review if you enjoyed this episode. Thank you!
Ep5: Reza Pakravan on Funding Your Journeys, and Switching From a Corporate Career to a Life of Adventure.
Have you ever wondered how to completely change your life? Reza Pakravan did just that, packing in his corporate life in London for a life of adventure. Reza has cycled the length of the planet, made (and presented) TV shows highlighting important global issues for some of the world’s top broadcasters, written a few books, and bagged world records along the way. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. In this episode, Reza not only shares his incredible travel stories, but also why he started a brand new career at the age of 37, how he found the confidence to redefine himself - and how you can do the same.Reza is just about to release his brand new Amazon Prime series World's Most Dangerous Borders, and in this episode, he reveals how he planned, prepared, produced, and funded the series.In this episode, find out:How Reza Pakravan transitioned from the corporate world to the adventure world.How to build confidence in adventure and travel by starting small.Why you’re never too old to reshape your career.How to learn a brand new skill at the age of 37.What it REALLY takes to cycle the world and get a TV show commissioned.The steps to producing a TV show.Why climate change is the most pressing issue facing our planet. Reza shares his experiences from the Amazon and the Sahel, where temperatures are rising fast.Why Reza spent four days in prison in Darfur.How to get brands to sponsor your trips.How to make a relationship work while on the road - and how being a new parent changes your tolerance to risk and adventure.Links mentioned in this episode:Reza’s Insta http://instagram.com/rezapakravan Reza’s Twitter https://twitter.com/RezaPakravan Reza’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/reza.pakravan.9 Reza’s Website https://www.rezapakravan.com Reza’s Vimeo https://vimeo.com/user29042988 Royal Geographical Society https://www.rgs.org JOIN US ON SOCIAL:We’d love to hear what you think of this week’s The First Mile and if you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @ashbhardwaj and @pipstewart or Twitter @AshBhardwaj and @Stewart_Pip. *Please consider leaving a review if you enjoyed this episode. Thank you!
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love this podcast. The Nepal episode is giving me butterflies thinking about travelling again.
Best podcast around
Has rapidly become my podcast of choice and the only one I really look forward to each week. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go give it a try. Top notch production, thought provoking, insightful and thoroughly enjoyable. It really is one of the best around!
Fascinating and varied.
I love the honesty of these podcasts. In particular when you interviewed each other, Pip your such superstar and Ash what a journey you’ve been on. Keep going.