My top 10 adventures

Life is much more fun when it is filled with adventure and saying yes to new experiences.

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All this month we are celebrating the thrill, value and wonder of adventure, from adrenaline-fuelled pursuits, to being daring in your career and adding exploration to your daily life. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking back over some of my own favourite adventures.

It was a challenge picking my top 10 (I’m sure if I did this again tomorrow I could pick another 10!), but here it goes:

1. 1977 – Flew to Necker Island to impress and woo my now wife, Joan.

2. 1983 – Got bumped off a flight to the BVI, so I decided to charter a jet and sell tickets under the name Virgin Airways . It set in motion the idea for Virgin Atlantic.

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3. 1985 – Attempted the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing. Our boat, the Virgin Atlantic Challenger, sank close to the finish line in British waters and we had to be rescued by the RAF. A year later, we made another attempt and smashed the record.

4. 1987 – In preparation for a ballooning adventure, I went skydiving and pulled the wrong ripcord. Luckily my instructor was close enough by to pull the emergency chute before I fell to my death.

5. 1987 – Attempted to complete the first transatlantic crossing in a hot-air balloon, but ended up having to be plucked from the Irish Sea by the Navy. 

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6. 1991 – Attempted to cross the Pacific Ocean in a hot-air balloon. Everything went wrong. We thought we were going to die, but found our way into the jet stream and eventually landed in the Canadian Arctic, missing our LA destination by 4,000 miles.   

7. 1998 – Encountered the Chinese Air Force, while accidentally crossing the Himalayas on another attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. They threatened to shoot us down.

8. 2004 – Broke a world record driving from Dover to Calais, across the English Channel, in an amphibious car, while dressed in a tuxedo.

Richard ballooning archive

9. 2007 – Jumped off the side of Palms Casino to celebrate Virgin America’s first flight to Las Vegas. I hit the building twice while travellingat 100mph and ended up ripping my trousers, bruising my bottom and hanging there like a rag doll.

10. 2012 – Kiteboarded the English Channel and was awarded a Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to make the journey.

Richard kiteboarding channel

Image from Virgin

What adventures have you had in the name of saying yes?

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