Reflecting On An Amazing Yestival 2017

Posted on November 12th 2017 by Jason Rawles

I’ve known Dave Cornthwaite for years but we first met in January this year as part of our commitments as GetOutside Champions for Ordnance Survey. It was like meeting a long lost brother and we laughed, spoke and had a few drinks. It was a privilege that Dave and his wonderful fiancee Emma then asked me to talk at Yestival.

Yestival OS

What is Yestival?

Dave started a movement of people that say YES more. Say YES to a better life, more adventures and more ownership of happiness. This has grown in to thousands of people all supporting each other to create more goodness. Each year, well this is the third year, there is a festival style gathering called Yestival. While I was proud to be asked to come along and talk I have to say I was a little skeptical about it all.

Yestival sign

About Yestival 2017.

The event is held in a field at the Brinsbury Agriculture Centre in West Sussex. It all starts around 4pm on the Friday and goes through to the Sunday PM. I stayed until the Monday rather than pack up and as Storm Brian hit us that weekend it also meant my tent could dry out. The emphasis on the festival is about inspiration and discovery rather than hard drinking. But, a few scoops would no doubt be consumed!

I hadn’t met that many people before attending but as we sometimes find nowadays we have a lot more ‘digital’ pals in our social ecosystems and I was excited to meet them all in person. As I’d arrived early it was great to help out and also meet these wonderful legends. My heart just swelled as we all hugged and greeted each other as if we’d never been apart. It really embodied the phrase about strangers being friends we just haven’t met yet. Even just typing this makes my skin go pimply at how wonderful it was!

This really is the essence of it – people – and how together we can make and drive the changes we need to see.

yestival people

My talks at Yestival.

I haven’t rowed oceans or climbed Everest and it’s highly unlikely that I will. So I took a different spin on my talks. To talk about why adventure should be part of your life. How it’s about escapism and reflection and more importantly, what’s happened in my life to make adventure so important.

I talked about my up bringing, how I found adventure, my mistakes in life and how adventure brings me back to an even keel. Also why I now do what I do to help society to be its best using adventure as a platform.

I’ll be honest, it left me feeling vulnerable but the feedback after was so overwhelming. It’s no shame to admit that life can be overwhelming and you have to find the tools to help you deal with it. For me, and others, it’s adventure and many more should find this escapism to put things in to perspective.

yestival talks

The people of Yestival.

It’s hard to name them all as there were so many. Yeah I could mention Dave, Anna, Spike, Glen, Jo, Clare, Julia, Emma, Paul, Peter, Kirtsy, Shona, Laura, Sarah, Phoebe, Kerry, Tim, Amy, Ella, Nigel etc. etc but actually it’s just too hard. I had so many inspirational, enlightening, humbling, privileged and energising discussions. Every minute, of every day, was just bursting with ‘something’ that would move my life onwards in a more positive way.

The trick is to put it all in to some kind of plan. Some way to leverage this without it becoming a weekend of what if’s…

yestival alive

What’s next…?

The reason why it’s taken a while to put this blog together is because it needed to be almost a plan of attack. To find those 3 things that I could present to you all as to the outcomes. What have I taken from Yestival 2017 to enrich, enhance and enable.

yestival next

So I present to you three things with 3 actions –

Number One.

I need to be happy and not just act happy. Let me explain. Since I quit my corporate world I’ve dedicated a lot of time to helping others. Perhaps some of it is an offset against the bad choices I’ve made but it’s been wonderful. However, based on the dark discussions I have with myself, I do need to ask myself how happy am I really?

Firstly, I need a break. I’ve not had one for over 4yrs. Yes I’ve been away with work and it’s great but I need to clear my mind, balance, and refocus.

Secondly, the need to look after myself more. I believe it was Jim Rohn who said “I’ll look after me for you, if you look after you for me”. After 2.5yrs of wrist injury I now have no more excuses.

Thirdly, take care of my personal and professional development. More stuff to engage my brain and get to more events. I love to learn and be inspired by people around me.

Number Two.

For whatever reasons trust is really hard for me. I know why and it’s not for this blog. However the community of Yestival really helped with my faith in people. The real goodness. I need to allow myself to trust and be loved more and also ensure I don’t lose the connection with the people already in my life.

Firstly, to make sure I spend more time with family and friends. I’ve let this lapse even though it’s something that’s important to me. I notice my happiness fade when I don’t see people who are dear to me.

Secondly, after failed relationships, I’m going to allow myself to be loved. I don’t know how else to shape this but it’s not fair on myself to remain distant from this aspect of my life. I’d love to find an adventure partner in crime! This part isn’t to be forced but it starts with being happy and allowing myself.

Thirdly, ensure I capitalise on this moment. To follow up with people. Make sure I honour commitments and let the people who want to help, help. To allow people to be part of what’s being created. Not run away when people want to help but to welcome with open arms because I’m scared of either being let down or letting people down.

Number Three.

I’m notoriously awful at asking for help. I’d rather be the helper than the helpee! Always! But the reality is I can’t do this alone. I need help…so here goes –

Firstly, I need people to join The Adventurer Club but it’s not a request for money as you get a tonne of benefits. My goal is to deliver over £100,000 in funded socially good adventure programmes within 3 yrs. So, it needs members/funding/grants etc. to help sustain and deliver. EXCITING! This could also include the company you work for/own joining as a corporate membership.

Secondly, while The Adventurer Club feeds my need to do social good I actually earn money from working as an Adventure Guide and with organisations to deliver team adventure days and workshops. Is your organisation looking to improve efficiencies/leadership capacity or are you looking to achieve an adventure and need/want a guide? Get in touch.

Thirdly, are you looking for a keynote or motivational speaker? My talks have ranged from the success planning process that took me from a dustman to high flying sales person and how leadership in business and adventure can drive your organisation to greatness. We can discuss your goals and plan an approach that will help you hit your goals and objectives.

yestival adventurer

Ultimately, the guiding and business aspects of my working world give me the air cover needed to deliver The Adventurer Club and ensure it’s a community interest company, social enterprise that’s not for profit.

Contact me via my WEBSITE to discuss…

I need your help to deliver over £100,000 to adventure programmes that help those less fortunate.

yestival yesbus

Summarising Yestival.

It’s a bold statement to say that attending was one of the best things I have done. Ever. But it was. I was a skeptic but went with open eyes and ears. We laughed and cried. Groups of us hugged and hugged even more. I was humbled and inspired.

A big thank you to Dave and the team. A big thanks to EVERYONE who attended my talks and gave feedback and offered to volunteer. HUGE thanks to the people I met and those I’ve yet to meet!

The best is yet to come…

Much love Yes Tribers,

Your pal,



One response to “Reflecting On An Amazing Yestival 2017”

  1. Jo Lindholm says:

    A beautifully honest blog Jason. I really enjoyed reading it and it sounds like you’ve made a lot of fantastic commitments to yourself. Sometimes it’s so easy in this busy busy world to not look after ourselves and reading your reflections is a good reminder to me to also prioritise myself (me needs and health) sometimes too. Thank you for sharing and all the best x

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