One of the greatest authors ever, T.S. Eliot once said, “The journey not the arrival matters.”
These are words which Jason McGhee lives by, travelling the world and embarking on magnificent adventures.
The old St Dominics Newcastle learner is currently travelling in Spain, embarking on a journey which is not for the faint of heart.
“I am doing a trail here called the Camino de Santiago. All in all, I will be walking about 750-800 kilometres. The journey itself has been undertaken by many pilgrims since the discovery of St James’s remains in the 700’s. For many, it is a religious pilgrimage and for some just a spiritual journey.
Setting his sights on completing the journey by early April, he says the trip is proving to be an amazing journey.
“I have always been an outdoorsy person and if anybody knows me, they know that I love hiking. When I heard about the Camino last year, I had to give it a go. The experiences have been amazing but tough as well, as most days I have to walk around 25 to 30kms. The people I have met on the trail have been diverse and friendly, and it has been 99% positive so far with the only negative being that it is quite cold.”
Thoroughly enjoying the journey, Jason says it is not without its challenges.
“One of the main challenges I have faced is the language barrier, in the more rural parts of France and Spain not many people speak English. But hand gestures always seem to work pretty well,” he laughs.
“Another challenge would be the tediousness of getting up and walking for six to eight hours every day. It really makes you appreciate a good pair of shoes.”
Taking this Camino pilgrimage in his stride, this is not Jason’s first adventure.
“I have been to various parts of China and climbed a few mountains where I could. I have also gone to Hong Kong, Northern and Southern Thailand, and some parts of Europe.”
For me travelling is more about seeing as much as possible while spending as little as possible. I love it because of the plethora of cultures you are exposed to. Also, some of the people I have met have been astoundingly inspiring.”
While enjoying the trip, Jason says preparing for his adventure was not an easy task.
“The experience of helping organise such a large trip was amazing. At the trip’s inception, a lot of the people who I approached about the idea of climbing the mountain were not quite on board. But through constant nagging and pressure, things started to slowly fall into place. It was great to be part of such an eye-opening experience,” he says.
Travelling far and wide, what drives Jason to pursue his passion?
“I love new experiences. As well as being a part of making mine and other people’s dreams come true. This above all is what drives me towards undertaking past and future projects.”
As a keen adventurer who loves challenging himself, who are Jason’s role models?
“I have many role models, but above all else, my parents would have to be the first ones to mention. Sibusiso Vilane, the South African adventurer, mountaineer, marathon runner and motivational speaker, as well as Reinhold Messner, the Italian mountaineer, explorer, author and adventurer, are definitely top contenders as well.”
Learning a lot from his role models, Jason explains he has also learned valuable life lessons through his various journeys.
“I have learned many life lessons throughout plodding around all these countries. Ranging from ‘Don’t trust petrol garage Sushi’, to how to deal with being away from my loved ones who live on the other side of the world.”
With his adventure in Spain set to end in early April, what’s next on his cards?
“I have been rowing since I started University and I have somehow convinced some of my peers to agree to row across the Pacific Ocean in 2022 or 2023 with me. This is to raise awareness about plastic pollution in all the oceans. This project is still in its infancy stages, but I would love anybody who would like to be a part of the project to contact me over Facebook or any other social media platforms. Everest is also a definite but maybe in the distant future.”
With his sight set on the future, Jason is sure to take the world by storm as he becomes a globe trotter.
The Newcastillian salutes you Jason, keep making waves!