Leo Talks: Levison Wood

There we sat in our comfortable chairs. Sipping chilled beverages. Safe within the confines of an air-conditioned and temperature-controlled office in West Kensington, as we listened to the perilous adventures of a man who walked the entire length of the longest river in the world, the Nile. This man is Levison Wood. And he kind of made us feel like a pack of wimps.

Levison walked 4,258 miles. 25 miles a day. For 9 months. Through rain storms, sand storms and 62C heat. Navigating blisteringly arid deserts, dense bush-land and mangrove swamps the size of Britain. Danger lurked at every step: crocodiles, poisonous snakes and aggressive hippos were but a few of them. He lived on a diet of boiled bush rat, fried grasshoppers and roasted sparrow shot by a home-made catapult. He found himself in the middle of a civil war, threatened by militants with AK-47s while banks were looted, marketplaces burnt to the ground, and the smell of death filled the air from mass graves in the searing heat.

Although it may seem that any link between what Levison accomplished and what we as an advertising agency create is tenuous at best, in a sense, they’re not conceptually dissimilar. At the beginning of the process comes a whole lot of planning, research and learning. Then comes the moment of throwing yourself into the unknown. The journey is long and perilous, fraught with obstacles at every step of the way. Sometimes it seems as though the road will never end, and sometimes you might question why you started the journey in the first place. Then you realise something: whilst reaching the end of the road is important, the real satisfaction is derived from the journey itself, along with the people you meet along the way. Basking in the reverie of your achievements is just an added bonus. Oh, and the meals served at Café Warwick are slightly better than boiled bush rat.

Stephen Adams

27th March 2015