What drives people to push their minds and bodies to breaking point? Why choose to be alone, cut off, out of touch for months, potentially years? Why risk everything in the pursuit of challenge? Life On The Edge is the new interview series from Shackleton that tackles these questions, featuring today’s most inspiring adventurers, explorers and pioneers. In this episode, explorer and activist Mario Rigby goes under the spotlight with award-winning travel journalist Sophy Roberts.
Mario Rigby was born in Turks & Caicos Islands and spent his childhood in Germany, moving to Toronto in Canada at the age of 16. His early determination to compete first came to fruition in track and field. He competed for his national team and ran against the all-time great Usain Bolt. His time in the sport had its highs and desperate lows, the darkest days leading to depression and even thoughts of suicide. He stepped away from the track in search of a renewed purpose.
This transition led him to exploration. More specifically, to an ambition to walk the length of Africa, 8000 miles from Cape Town to Cairo. He took his first step on African soil on his 30th birthday. The journey would take two and a half years; he’d be caught in the middle of a gunfight between rebel fighters and government troops, come close to death through dehydration; and experience deep loneliness. But he also encountered immense human kindness in the most unlikely of places and shared stories for those without a voice. The expedition would give purpose to the rest his life: "to inspire people locally and globally to get out, be brave and see the world".