Ash Dykes - Latest News

Ash Dykes: Final Prep

Posted in: Latest News
Hey guys,

As things get more intense, and I approach the expedition launch, I'll have less time to write to you myself - so I'm taking the opportunity while I can!

I’m still in Dali, there has been a slight delay, nothing major, but it’s holding me back slightly.
I anticipate I can move on to the next city (Yushu), within the next week and then hopefully start the expedition towards the end of this month or beginning of next month.
In the meantime, you’d be surprised at just how busy it is and the more I think of it, the more I believe that we can really benefit from this extra time.
I won’t give too much info away at the moment, but we’re in talks with some exciting media channels and online platforms here in China. Mandarin Films have been holding meetings and I’ve been Skyping in, so I’m hoping we can get some good progression on these new leads ahead of the start of Mission Yangtze - which would be mega!

My mandarin studies have recently finished, with the school now on their holiday break; so I’ve focused more on equipment preparation and have been working with Navarino and Galaxy1 to make sure I’m able to send out posts, livestreams, track my route and of course interact with all of you guys. I sent a test message out over social media the other day and the response was great, people all over the world were able to view my location. It can’t be an interactive expedition, if nobody is interacting with me on the journey, so I appreciate that.
I’m also working with J-D design who is working hard behind the scenes, with making sure there is a fully functional GPS route & map on my website, so you guys can visit at any time and see where I am within five meters....... in....sane!

I’m also practising with the drone, getting familiar with the way it works and the controls, multi-tasking to the max and making sure I’m filming with all cameras at the same time, but from different angles. This involves a GoPro on the head or chest, iPhone on the tripod and drone in the air.
Making sure they’re all shooting in the same settings and that I’m backing up the footage and learning new ways to transfer it to the team in Beijing has given me a big learning curve - which I've found fun! They team in Beijing will then edit all the footage I capture into both long and short videos, which will be shared with online distributors here in China and across my own Chinese social media platforms, but also with my team in the UK, to be shared on my global platforms. In between all of this, I’ll still be doing the live time posts, livestreams and blogs with John Davies and Kim Monney.
I’m being well looked after here in Dali, have made some great friends and most evenings I’m being invited to friends of friends who are wanting to cook for me and wish me well on the journey. This is taking me to all places around Dali to try varied dishes, like the specialist Dali mushroom hot pot. I also gave a presentation to Jade Emu hotel, which was great - they only had one day to market it and it was a sell out! I was asked some great questions afterwards, in fact I ran a Q&A on my Instagram, which went down extremely well with a huge response. If you have Instagram, do join me, as I feel that will be the platform that will have almost daily updates!

I’ve noticed the interest around Mission Yangtze is rising, with more meetings being held, talks going ahead, interviews taking place and more people, brands and businesses wanting to be a part of it. It’s all very exciting and I welcome it all. I’m lucky to have a great team supporting me and helping to voluntarily help manage things behind the scenes, along with my dad who always has my back and looks after things when I’m unable to, so that I can focus on the mission in hand and final preparations.
I’m feeling great physically and mentally, I’m raring to get started and now and then the fear kicks in - I appreciate this though, it keeps me focused! I had a nightmare that all bad events happened in one day, a storm broke through, I was isolated at altitude, couldn’t find the way as the visibility was awful (blizzard) and the small trickle of the Yangtze continued to split into many, whilst I came across wolf footprints and heard the roar of a bear close by! Thankfully, this was just a nightmare and I was more than relieved once I woke up!

These thoughts sometimes come flooding through sporadically as they did with Mongolia and Madagascar too. I wake up and turn it from fear to awareness and thank the fact it came flooding through my mind, because it only makes me more alert, focussed and aware (I say, as the thunder roars outside).

I'll ensure you're all kept updated,

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