This week, we got the chance to sit down and have a crack with spokespeople Sam, Rob and Alex from Outside Your Zone, an adventure focused YouTube channel based here in Cumbria. The passionate trio create a range of exciting YouTube content where they chase all kinds of adventure, from exploring abandoned mines and planes, to bombing hills on longboards, canoeing Coniston Water and more.
We caught up with Sam, Rob and Alex to discuss, their future plans and goals, their favourite adventures so far, and what advice they’d give to a young person looking to start going outside and finding adventure…
Disclaimer: All videos and content currently put out by OYZ were created pre-lockdown in Summer 2020 when Covid rules were relaxed. Be safe and sensible during lockdown.
Tell us why you decided to create Outside Your Zone
Alex- Personally for me, I used to play loads of video games and do a lot of unproductive things and then 4 or 5 years ago I met Rob and Sam and they got me involved in skateboarding. I did BMXING as a kid, but I’d become a bit of a gamer, like hours and hours on the game inside. Sam and Rob helped me see a different way of life, with going out and having fun outdoors.
Sam- Me and Rob have always had a passion for adventure and exploring. Growing up in Cumbria, we had the freedom to go off and explore our outdoor spaces- and we had the opportunity to do so in an awe-inspiring landscape, which also allowed us to pick up new skills like survival skills, bushcraft skills and longboarding. These new skills and interests developed our knowledge which also developed our thirst for adventure. It made us want to do more and push outside of our comfort zone.
It all kind of clicked for us, last summer, when we spoke to a reporter who was interested in what we were doing, we’d never thought to record what we were doing, but we thought if we were going to be out doing these things anyway, then we could put them on YouTube and inspire other people to get out and find their own adventure.
Can you tell us more about Outside Your Zone’s philosophy of adventure, appreciation, initiative, and respect?
Sam- OYZ is all about finding adventure, getting out into the outdoors and making the most of our time on this planet. We want to encourage appreciation for outdoor spaces and for the fulfilment and excitement you get by going out there and for the relationships you go out and build while on adventures. Making relationships is really important and you make strongest relationships when overcoming adversity together. We want to create that sense of community.
It’s hard to find these adventures, relationships and fulfilment without taking the initiative and taking that first step to go out there, exploring a new space or building a skill, you know, it’s hard to get these experiences from just playing games or using social media all day.
Respect is probably the most important aspect; it’s about respecting the environment and protecting it by doing your bit. Leaving no trace and preserving natural beauty. But also, it’s important to respect the risk that is involved with things like this, its part of pushing out of your comfort zone, you have to respect risk to stay safe.
“You only get a certain amount of years on this planet, why waste it?”
Out of all your videos, what has been your favourite adventure so far?
Alex- My favourite is our Hadrian’s video, we longboarded Hadrian’s wall cycle route last summer, it’s coming out on the 20th, and we did it in 24 hours.
Rob- I would say the same, it was epic to go from the seaside to Haltwhistle, the middle of the UK, in 24 hours. We camped in bivvy bags near the wall too.
Sam- Hadrians’s was my favourite, we worked really hard for it, it took a lot of preparation, Rob did a lot for it. We covered 40 miles in 24 hours on our longboards. The route was lovely, we had good crack which got us through the pushing and the blisters and fatigue- some of the down hills were immense. Wearing camping packs as well, our terminal velocity was much faster- we must have hit 40 something.
If you could give some advice to a young person looking to start going outside more and finding adventure, what would it be?
Sam- Take that first step, put your shoes on and go do something you’ve always wanted to do. It’s all about the process and setting yourself up, setting yourself a target. It’s simple, pick up something that in 20 years will mean something. Go out there and achieve things and appreciate the world. Take that first step- you don’t have to go outside and start doing triple backflips, go do something outside your comfort zone.
Rob- The key word is your, I’m never going to tell anyone where their zone is, if you work at it, you’ll eventually become fearless.
Rob- Getting outside your zone can even be going to the supermarket and buying new food instead of sticking to the mundane, I try keep it varied- you don’t have to suddenly go out and do backflips, it can be little things.
Alex- All this stuff is very good for mental health as well- social media can increase anxiety. When you’re bored, it’s better to go out and actually do something.
Sam- Expending energy is so healthy it’s what we’re meant to do as humans, we’re not to meant to just sit inside and stare at a screen- we’re not asking for you to go past your limits, it’s all about small steps. We want to encourage people to have a better lifestyle.
Rob- If people are concerned about costs, It is possible to do this stuff on a budget, our adventures have the most bang per buck. For example, Sam and his friends didn’t have canoes, so they bought inflatable mattresses and searched around for life jackets.
“You can do a lot with a little bit of money- we live in Cumbria- there is a free adventure everywhere.”
What does adventure mean to you? What place does it have within your life?
Sam- Adventure is about having real experiences. Life is all about adventure, what I value most is new experiences and trying my hands at new things. Adventures prove you can overcome adversity- if you stay inside too much, it becomes hard to get out and push yourself.
Rob- Adventure is a lifestyle- you can have a 9-5 and still live knowing there is another adventure coming. If you see general life as an adventure too, then you live life better.
Alex- Adventure is a way of life- you learn so much about the people around you who go on adventures with you and you get to meet people doing the same thing, you can’t do that just sitting and watching tv, you can strengthen bonds with friends and people you meet this way.
We love that your videos vary from exploring abandoned mines and planes to bombing hills on longboards, could you tell us some more about how you got into these hobbies and why?
Alex- It’s a case of finding something interesting and cool and going out and doing it. Learning is part of the experience. We've also set up the Cumbria Downhill Collective, which brings skaters and bikers of all kinds together- it’s just on hold due to Covid.
Rob- We also might be out on a walk and see people canoeing or something and think that’s unreal, we want to do that.
Rob- Me and Sam were so lucky to have a Grandad that encouraged us to experience new things, we never went on holidays as kids, our grandad would take us out of School and say we were having an ‘educational adventure’ and that’s what we want to continue here at OYZ, those educational adventures. We want to keep away from the influencer style, we want to be real.
“It’s never about us, it’s always about other people and helping people to do new things they want to do.”
What future plans and goals do you have for Outside Your Zone?
Alex- We’ve got loads on the way including a 50 mish, motorbike stuff, wild camping and we also plan to do as many Wainwrights as possible.
Alex- In summer, if Covid allows we also want to get people involved for a Charity cause, we're thinking about doing an endurance based video to raise money for Charity, we've got a few charities in mind so far.
Sam- We’d also love to do downhill races as well and do workshops on looking after your longboard, you know, set up a BBQ and get more people involved post Covid. It’s not about making money; it never will be. We want to encourage people to be more friendly and more inclusive.
Rob- OYZ is a completely safe space for people to try new things and we want people to recognize that.
The OYZ team want to stress that there is adventure out there for everyone, no matter your physical abilities.
Make sure you subscribe to the OYZ YouTube channel and turn on post notifications so you don’t miss out on OYZ’s Hadrian’s Wall Video that is coming out 20/02/2021. You can also follow them on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook.
Remember, adventure is out there, grasp life by the horns!