An adventure to last a lifetime

  • June 20, 2022

When Mikey Taylor joined forces with the team at The Mark Hughes Foundation to raise much-needed funds for a cause close to his heart, he had no idea just how far his commitment to the challenge would take him. Chatting to us about his incredible 500km journey, Mikey reveals how he was able to transform his mind, body to help spread a little goodness where needed.

  • Tell us a little bit more about the challenge you embarked on and why it was so important to you.

    From 2nd – 9th April I was challenged to ride, trek, and paddle my way through Australia’s Top End, completing a 500km journey that has never been done before. This challenge was set up to support The Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF). It’s a cause close to my heart, as the MHF funds vital research and support to brain cancer patients. The foundation exists because only 5% of federal funding goes towards brain cancer, even though it kills more people under 40 than any other disease. It also sadly kills more children than anything else.”

  • Of all the amazing causes you could support – why did you choose MHF? What makes it this one so special?

    “Cancer has affected my family recently. Throughout the height of COVID-19, when travel restrictions were in place, my UK based sister had the fight of her life battling against cancer. Luckily for me, she was victorious in her battle, although it was excruciating to not be able to travel and be there to support through her journey. When the opportunity arose for me to be part of this adventure and do something meaningful for cancer sufferers, I jumped at the chance to help raise funds and contribute any way I could. The MHF helps with research, but also with funding additional specialist nurses to support patients and their families. This is the part of the foundation that speaks to me most.”

  • From a physical, emotional and environmental perspective, what did the challenge entail?

    “Australia’s Top End is one of the world’s harshest environments. Along with 30 other adventurers, we set out to test body, mind and spirit as we rode, hiked and paddled across the vastness and beauty of Kakadu, Katherine Gorge, Jatbula and Litchfield National Parks. We experienced 40-degree heat and 80% humidity, and while the scenery was spectacular – the physical challenge was certainly tough! One night around the campfire, we read out letters from nurses and patients… It was really emotional to hear the impact the funds we were raising can have on people’s lives.”

  • Did you struggle at all with the realities of traveling and sleeping in the Outback?

    “It’s fair to say that I’m more of a ‘Hilton Hopper’ than a camper – and the accommodation wasn’t exactly five stars! Each night we slept in swags or tents. Being over 40 degrees, it was pretty sweaty and restless each night. Not to mention there were all manner of peculiar creepy crawly creatures wandering across my body. Added to this, there were 30 exhausted blokes in close proximity around the campground, so the noise of snoring was like being surrounded by a pack of farm animals.

    That being said, there was so much to enjoy along the way… I had never visited the Northern Territory before, so adventuring through the Kakadu National Park was a huge treat. The landscape is so unique and prehistoric. We got to see incredible waterfalls, mountain ridges, billabongs, wild birds, crocodiles up close, and rock engravings that were over 10,000 years old. We were also privileged to meet so many of the locals and get truly immersed in the culture.”

  • This adventure you embarked on had never been done before – why did you want to be one of the first people to accomplish this mammoth challenge?

    “The MHF do a crazy event every year and invite a select few to join in the challenge and help with the fundraising. I felt just lucky to be invited. In the past they have climbed to Everest Base camp, completed the Kokoda trail and climbed Kilimanjaro. What a great way to raise funds – challenge your body and mind and have some fun along the way.”

  • How did you prepare for the experience? Did nutrition play a part in your preparation?

    “Managing my nutritional requirements through training and the adventure was paramount. It’s amazing what your body can achieve if you get your food and hydration right. In the lead up to the event I was training twice per day. One long cardio session to build endurance and one weights session to build bone density and help avoid injury. In the lead up to the event, I had no alcohol for 12 weeks and needed around 4,000 calories per day. I would keep a clean diet of fruit, vegetables, oats and lean meats. Then supplement with fish oil, melatonin and magnesium for recovery and sleep quality. I would also include a 250ml nudie juice and nuts after each weights session to get good calories into the body quickly and aid recovery. 

    When it came to the event, nutrition quality rather went out of the window as quantity was more important. I was burning between 8,000-10,000 calories per day. When your calorie burn is like this, you can pretty much eat whatever you want – so, everything I could get my hands on was on the menu!”

  • That sounds like your body was in good shape – how about your mind? How do you get into a positive mindset to take on this kind of endeavour?

    “To get my mind in the right frame to complete challenges, I have always been a big fan of just two things…
    1) Making life simple
    2) Keeping as healthy as possible

    I find it’s easy to get overwhelmed with negativity when life is too complex… We can all be guilty of having too many plates spinning at any given time, but if you strip life down to what’s really important to you it can be very liberating and help deliver a positive mindset. For me, success is to laugh often and deeply and to always maintain the love and respect of my family and close friends. If there’s anything complicating these priorities, it’s best to cut it away.”

  • At nudie, we’re all about creating and sharing goodness. In such trying and busy times, does it feel more important than ever before to contribute to worthy causes and help where possible? What are some of the other ways you feel we can all contribute a little goodness to the lives of others?

    “When I first arrived in Australia in 2003, I worked at nudie… It was the motto of the company to “do some good and have some fun along the way.” This has always stuck with me, and I believe that if you manage to live this mantra successfully, then you’ve left a positive mark on the world. In my experience, behaviour is hugely infectious… If we all try to share a little positivity, it spreads like wildfire and elevates everyone’s mood.”

  • As a former nudie team member, do you still drink nudie? Which is your favourite nudie juice blend and why?

    “I don’t drink nudie… I GUZZLE it! Lately I have been mostly drinking the probiotic range. I find a little probiotic is so good to help me get the max from my nutrition and feel my best, plus the Mango Passionfruit is unbelievably tasty! Try adding a few cubes of ice and blending in the nutribullet – it makes a frappe to die for!”

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