James Gardner has been everywhere lately, video parts, constant mag and internet coverage, as well as producing short films and winning film making awards. Next week, James and James "Grot" Holman will be embarking on a around the world skate trip, documenting the journey as they go then making it viewable via several means announced in the near future. With just over a week to go, we spoke to James to see how he was feeling on the eve of his trip...
When, where and how did this plan to do this around the world trip come from?
I'm not sure if it is because I grew up in a small city or skateboarding itself that fuels my desire to travel and see new places. Maybe it's both? Either way, in the years I have been skateboarding I have pretty much been everywhere I've ever wanted to visit in the UK and I guess now I've done so and finished education the obvious and logical progression was to follow my metaphorical "nose" to terrain overseas.
How did you go about getting funding for the trip? Have you got any obligations to your funders?
I think the hardest part about doing a trip like this and most probably the thing that puts people off the most is the cost and actually making a start at saving for it. Personally, my belief is that money is for spending and that in large part is probably something to do with why it's often in short supply! However, on this occasion I was lucky, well not so lucky, to have a generous sum left to me by my late Nan who left me and my two sisters £3,000 each. This was last year and obviously with such a large amount of money, that weirdly enough had sentimental value, the last thing I wanted to do was piss it up the wall. Therefore it was placed immediately in an ISA and left there until I finished my degree and had time to start planning the trip and booking my ticket.
As for further financial investors, yes, there has been some which i will discuss further later but all the other money which had to be saved for insurance and all the other things like that were done so through work I have undertaken over the summer.
Which places are you visiting?
The route is as follows:
November 3rd we depart London Heathrow to New York, 7 weeks later we fly out of L.A to Wellington in New Zealand. After a further 7 weeks here we fly from Auckland over to Cairns where we plan to travel down the Gold coast hitting up most of the skateparks along the way down to Melbourne. We have years working visas for Australia and have therefore only booked our tickets as far as Cairns as we don't know how long we will end up staying here for yet. When we do decide to undertake the last leg of the trip home we will be doing so up through Asia, funds permitting!
What spots are you hoping to skate and who are you planning on meeting up with on the way?
To be honest, I don't really care what or where i get to skate, as long as I get to roll somewhere, I'll be happy. Hook-up wise we have a few people lined up along the way that we're planning on taking advantage of. Grot has some hook ups in New York and I have a few over on the west coast. We'll be staying with the legend that is Dom Henry in New Zealand which I'm greatly looking forward to!
What are the three main reasons you are looking forward to leaving?
1) I have never been to any of the places I'm going to and new things excite me.
2) I'm fucking sick of being back in Hereford.
3) I dislike not being able to skate enough during the harsh temperatures of the British Winter time.
What are your biggest concerns about the trip?
I'm pretty scared I'm going to run out of money and not be able to either do everything I want to do, or even worse not have enough money for a ticket home. I'm also absolutely crapping it about getting any of my gear robbed. If we lose any of our "production" equipment we're seriously screwed, which is why I have invested in some pretty heavy insurance!
What are your top 5 essential items that you'll be taking with you?
1) Macbook pro - My lifeline to the world beyond and also my main means of financing the trip whilst I'm on it!
2) My video camera for just pretty much the second reason above and also because it's fun stealing peoples souls...
3) Askateboard - they can pretty good fun to play on sometimes!
4) My toothbrush
5) I guess my passport is probably a pretty essential item for the trip also.
What are you expecting to miss the most about home whilst you're away?
I'm not sure i can really answer that one yet. I guess i expect to miss my family, my friends and my dogs. Who knows what?
How did Grots involvement in this project come about?
Ol' Grot jumped on board with me after what was simply a brief conversation back at the Mystic Cup in Prague this year about what I was up to now i have finished my degree. We spoke about the trip and he told me how he had been looking for a reason and someone to go with for years now and this just seemed like the perfect opportunity. Things just went from there.
So then, what's the deal with this proposed TV show?
Now, this is a bit of an exclusive actually as we have been pretty keen to keep the details of what we were actually up to whilst away quiet whilst all the nitty gritty details were being finalised but now we're all good so here it is...
What started out as an idea to produce a series of short podcasts for Vans has now snowballed into a pretty large scale production. Quite simply, Grot and I will be filming our trip for television and be producing three series of six, twenty four minute TV shows which will broadcast on digital television. I can't really say which station just yet as the contract is yet to be signed but I'm sure you'll have a pretty good guess at which one it's likely to be! Next to the TV shows "crossing borders" will also be documented online through the web site we have yet to set up and and also through a series of podcasts available through the Vans UK iTunes account. A certain extreme sports video hosting website are showing a keen interest in the project to so I'm really, really amped on the whole thing. At the risk of going into too much detail here the show is going to document the exploits and adventures of Grot and I and the people we meet on our journey. Keep your eyes peeled on the Sidewalk forum for further details of the project and exclusive info on the progress of the production.
Click the image below to be transported, as if by magic, to an exclusive edit...