Living a life of Adventure is something that many people dream about, but Tom Allen is a man quite literally paving the way. (ok, ok, please excuse the bad joke and keep reading…)
I’ve been a fan of following Tom’s adventures for several years now. When I was saving for my own big trip away I lived vicariously through many of his exciting films and books. I’ve written about him several times on this blog, including ‘Five Travel Films that changed my life’ and the only ’10 Adventure Websites you will ever need’.
Since I started following Tom’s work he has done some incredible things. Most incredibly trying to build Armenia’s first long-distance national hiking route, from the Georgian to the Iranian border. With support from the Royal Geographical Society, Tom received a grant which included a Land Rover Defender. With that he explored and mapped the Armenian leg of what would become the Transcaucasian Trail.
Just before Phil and I went away last year, we were lucky enough to see Tom speak at the Royal Geographical Society. He spoke about his expedition and the positive changes he was hoping to bring to the region. He also talked about the issues and challenges this project had included. It opened my eyes up to a whole new way of how we can explore and change how things are done.
One of the expedition team was an Italian called Alessandro. He has now co-founded a startup called Cartisan. It has the intention of creating beautiful, hand-crafted topographical maps.
Last summer, Alessandro showed up at the trail-building headquarters in Dilijan National Park. He held a prototype topographical map of the area in which they were working.
It was the only 1:25,000-scale topographical map of Dilijan National Park in the world.
Now, a year of development later, Alessandro is working towards launching that map as a commercial product. Can you imagine? Having that much vision and dedication to a project. From seeing a problem, to creating a solution and working hard to make it the best possible product he can.
On many occasions, I have seen a problem with how things are done (or not done). Occasionally I have written about it or chatted about it with a friend to try and come up with a solution. We all have at one point or another. This is someone who has taken the time and dedication to create something that is going to be of use to thousands of people. It’s pretty impressive.
Tom and Alessandro have set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to print 2,500 copies of the map. They will then be distributed globally and made available in Armenia too.
At the time of writing this article, they have already raised over 50% of their goal. I have just purchased a copy of the map – which I am using to give me the kick up the bum I need to plan a trip to Armenia next year!
What I want to stress though, is what an incredible thing Allesandro is doing. Maybe you are not a hiker. You have no plans to visit Armenia’s Dilijan National Park. In fact, you won’t leave the comfort of your sofa for the next 12 months…
But I’m sure you can appreciate the amount of time, effort and work that has gone into creating this.
A great way for you to do something brilliant today is to visit the Indiegogo campaign and share it on your social media channels or drop an email or message to a friend you think would be interested in the project. And check out the video – what an amazing place!
Also published on Medium.