In the first of our Member Spotlight series (London Fields Edition), we interview Madoc from Secret Adventures.
Hi Madoc! Can you tell us a little bit about Secret Adventures and what inspired you to start it?
Secret Adventures run adventures in London and beyond. It started out when I came back from working on expeditions abroad and needed to find excitement and adventure here in the city. One of our first adventures involved cycling from Hackney out of London along the canal, under the M25 then swimming over to an island with all our stuff in waterproof bags to sleep around a fire. There’s something liberating when you realise you can do things like that in a city like London.
Since then we have gone on to organise night kayak adventures under Tower Bridge, full moon wild swims and campfire concerts in secret London spaces to name just a few.
What has been your favourite event that you’ve organised so far?
One of my favourite ones was a secret concert in an urban exploration space in central London that could only be accessed by boat under a building. We explored these beautiful tunnels by flame torch and candle light (like Indiana Jones in the city), had a dinner party and then a candlelit concert. Magic, all on a miserable winters evening in December.
The Huffington Post described the experience of coming out of the tunnels back into the city as like “returning from Narnia”. Also the kayak adventures at night are pretty special- especially in the dark with everything lit by our head torches.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in setting up your business?
The biggest challenge is turning these brilliant experiences into a viable business. This year it’s going to be all about scaling things so that there is enough capacity to fulfil the huge demand that Londoners have for special and outdoor experiences. (Our adventures often sell out).
You work with charities to help children escape the city. What kind of adventures do you go on and what do the kids get out of it?
As a separate thing, we love taking kids out of the city to camp on farms, in the woods and to go canoeing and toasting marshmallows around a fire. It’s so satisfying to show city kids another world and to encourage them to do things they have never done before.
The best trips are the ones where the kids leave for the trip all hyped up and stressed and then return relaxed and content having done all the things that kids should be doing like exploring, climbing trees, building dens and swimming in the river.
We love having you as a member at Work.Life in London Fields. What drew you to joining a co-working space and what benefits have you seen for your business?
Working from home nearly drove me insane. I need to have people around me to feel inspired and engaged with the world. It’s also incredibly useful in terms of building contacts for things like web developers, photographers, film makers, and PR people. The Work.Life London fields workspace is in such a great location and it’s nice to be at a new workspace from the beginning. It just opened a month or so ago. We are planning some workspace football and a campfire on London Fields soon. It’s a great way of working but having some fun too!
What’s next for Secret Adventures?
We need to scale the business and pay closer attention to the financial side of things. People are bowled over at the possibility of being able to find adventure right here without having to get on a plane or take a week holiday. It would be shame not to make the most of all this positive attention. Watch this space!