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$2,550 / £1,650

Date: 25th Sep – 2nd Oct
Depart: Memphis Arrive: Clarksdale Length: 8 days (7 nights) Focus: A moving retreat designed for those who are ready for a personal or work-based transition


After the huge success of the first Exploring Mindset trip down the Mississppi, we decided to run this trip again – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a moving retreat designed for those who are ready for a personal or work-based transition!

Join us on the mighty Mississippi River, where we will travel south from Memphis by canoe, camp on sandbars, hold discussions by the campfire beneath the stars, and prepare perfectly for life’s next step.

Check out the Exploring Mindset (Mississippi) website here.


Designed to encourage a rethink of everything we do. From the social and environmental challenges we face, to happiness, efficiency, values, mass-consumption, how we spend our time, career creation, attitude, adventure and, the big one, how do we rebuild society and where should we fit in it as individuals.

Emily Penn – Mission Leader

Emily Penn is an oceans advocate, skipper and artist who has extensive exploration experience in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She is a graduate of Cambridge University with a degree in Sustainable Architecture; and Director of global organisation Pangaea Explorations; and the first and youngest woman to be awarded the international Yachtmaster of the Year. Emily rounded the planet on the biofuelled Earthrace boat; spent 6 months living on a tiny Tongan island organising the largest ever community led rubbish clean-up; and discovered previously unknown oceanic gyres – huge areas of plastic pollution accumulation. An experienced public speaker, Emily has spoken around the world at conferences, universities and global companies about her adventures and issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society. You can find more information on Emily’s projects at www.emilypenn.co.uk.

Dave Cornthwaite – Mission Leader

Dave Cornthwaite is an adventurer, bestselling author, motivational speaker and founder of SayYesMore. Having travelled more than 16,000 miles under his own steam, his record-breaking expeditions including skateboarding across Australia, stand up paddle boarding the Mississippi River and swimming the Missouri have led to Dave being described as one of the most ambitious and tenacious adventurers around. His entertaining and motivational keynote presentations have been enjoyed on six continents and his passionate advocacy of the word YES has contributed to the sprouting of countless adventures worldwide, big and small. His mission is simple: to motivate people to break down their fears, not be afraid to challenge themselves, consume less, do what they love and enjoy Mondays.

Astrid Shepherd

Background and area of expertise
Disillusioned accountant, fed up with trying to fit the ‘normal’ mould. My life is changing from humdrum to exciting and I’m driving that.

Goals and aims for the expedition
Change is exhilarating but can be confusing and hard work. I refuse to give in to those and that’s easier when I surround myself with the right people, like The Yes Tribe. I am just little me. Guidance and support are going to be really important to me along the way. I’m looking for more of the awesomeness of Yestival,

Jane Attard

Background and area of expertise
Love the of the outdoors. Grew up in the Mediterranean & had an awesome childhood with get-up-and-go outdoorsy, nature-loving and adventure-loving parents. Done quite a bit of canoeing / kayaking as a kid and would love to get back on the water. Medical/health trained. Love photography. Get a kick out of planning / organising / making things come together. Awesome friend and team-player & love sharing experiences … always believed that the best things happen in groups, but also now truly realising the start of my journey in the understanding of the amazing power of ME too !

Goals and aims for the expedition
Hey. I adore the outdoors. I adore water. I adore being on/in water in any shape or form. I believe that connection is what makes the world go round, both connecting deeply with yourself, and others. I want to join this expedition as I know that this will touch me deep to the core, exploring my deeper self, in the most natural and beautiful setting, with absolutely awesome people.
Through two bike accidents in the last couple of years, I have hugely lost my fitness and want to get that back, and more… I want to push myself to do something different, to do more, and this is more ! Can’t wait 😉

Julia Geens

Background and area of expertise
I have 12 yrs of marketing experience and recently 4 yrs in recruitment.

Goals and aims for the expedition
Mostly, I’m excited about a week of going back to basics and living in nature… No phones, no computers, no electricity… That alone to me sounds like a holiday, so combined with sleeping under the stars and being outdoors 24/7 with likeminded people around me – I can’t wait!

I’d love to take away some insight about myself, how to utilise my strengths to add value to the world and people around me, and how to acknowledge and address my weaknesses/ fears and insecurities. I’m thinking about a change in job/ career so any insight here will be really valuable.

And above all, just have an exciting adventure and meet some great new people, and head home with an enormous sense of satisfaction and happiness. “

Linda Johnson

My father fueled my love of nature and travel as a child.  We would listen to bird calls on stereo records and then try to match them to the sounds we heard in our backyard that evening. He was an unconditional support when I chose to spend a semester abroad in Bogota, Colombia in college at Vanderbilt. Grateful for that experience , I speak fluent Spanish, which helps me daily in my practice  at Parkland Hospital here in Dallas as a Certified Nurse Midwife & Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. I have had the privilege of delivering over 4000 babies in my career.
   I lived in New Mexico for 18 yrs and kayaked the Chama river there, as well as the San Juan river in southern Utah for a week. I got to raft the Colorado in the Grand Canyon independently with experienced rafter friends for 2 weeks and completed an advanced kayaking course in Seattle where we finished our training in the San Juan islands. A friend and I kayaked the Okeefenokee swamp in southern Georgia last spring with the gators!!!
   I’ve spent most of my vacations on rivers. Here in Texas I’ve canoed the Brazos and the Colorado out of Austin and the Buffalo in Arkansas.  I’ve studied a little Wilderness  Medicine in Santa Fe which helps me balance the risks and benefits of wilderness adventure with safety and preparedness. Lastly I am a singer/ songwriter and guitar player and can’t wait to finish this amazing trip in Clarksdale, to indulge in a little Blues when we come off the river.
Thank you. I am so looking forward to new friends, perspectives and learning on the beautiful Mississippi! P.S. It’ll be my 55th birthday on the trip & I can think of nowhere I would rather be!

Malcolm Griffiths

Background and area of expertise
Bought up on a large mixed UK farm. Surveyor by qualification. Now a semi retired property developer/investor. I’ve travelled to over 50 countries, lived in Australia, packed across Africa, SE Asia and cycled across France and many of it’s mountain cols. Driven a ‘banger’ to The Gambia and another through 9 countries in 7 days for charity. Worked in a ski resort and re roofed a French barn. I have a 14 year old daughter who wants to go to Harvard!

Goals and aims for the expedition
I’ve worked hard and now aged 53 have near complete freedom to do anything.
Where do I go from here?

Rachel Holmes

Background and area of expertise
I grew up on dairy farm, spent 20 years working for local government in sports/leisure facility management and worked a two Olympic Games. I’ve been a leader with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award supporting young people to achieve their Award for 12 years, including teaching the skills for their expedition section – camp-craft, navigation, first aid, and team work. As a teenager I learnt to white water kayak, and became an assistant kayak supervisor.

Goals and aims for the expedition
I want to have an adventure, which will challenge me in different ways. Two years ago, I hit a wall with my career, my mother had a serious accident and died, I then became ill, I lost all energy and motivation. I’ve spent the last year recovering. Gradually I’ve become physically and mentally stronger, and my confidence has returned. I’m not sure where the next chapter of my life will take me. I want to make the most of my new found energy and improved health by pushing myself to a new level.

Rod Newing

Background and area of expertise
Chartered accountant, MBA. I have been a line manager, management consultant and freelance journalist, mainly for the Financial Times.

I looked after my disabled wife for 12 years, taking no holiday for 15 years. I have been on sabbatical since she died three years ago.

Goals and aims for the expedition
Work out what to do with the few active years I have left?!

Ron Corkle

Background and area of expertise
Love being outdoors and experiencing nature. Have a long time appreciation of rivers, especially the Mississippi after reading Mark Twain’s books “Tom Sawyer” as a kid and “Life on the Mississippi” as an adult. Have done a short guided canoe trip on the Missouri River in 2005.

Was in the Boy Scouts of America, from Cub Scouts all the way to the age limit as a boy scout. Was an adult leader in the program for a couple of years.

Last year I quit my product engineer job of 36 years, in response to extraordinary stress. Best decision I made last year. I am now doing contract work inspecting the same type product that I had the 36 yrs. experience in. My new job is such a blessing (less stress) and I like it very much.

Goals and aims for the expedition
I’ve long dreamed of doing a overnight float trip, and experiencing “life” on the river. Am looking forward to an adventure, meeting new people, and doing something for me.


Background and area of expertise
The fact that I find this question so difficult probably says a lot about me. I did law at uni, then worked at an equine veterinary hospital, then wrote for a national magazine, then worked for a security company while studying for my MBA. I currently work freelance as a writer, social media and marketing consultant, and climbing instructor. My MBA has a strong focus on sustainability in business, which is something I’m very passionate about.

Goals and aims for the expedition
I will have just finished my MBA when we start the expedition, so will be completing an important chapter in my life. I want to start my own business with a sustainability focus, so I’m hoping this trip will give me inspiration and insight into myself and my path moving forward. Besides all that, I just really want to meet likeminded people and canoe down the Mississippi.

Day 1 Arrive in Memphis at 4pm, meet the team and stay in a local hotel.
Day 2 Head down to the river after breakfast, set off for the first day on the river.
Day 3-6 Life on the river – paddling & workshops by day, camping by night.
Day 7 Final day on the river, arrive into Helena, pack up kit and head to Clarksdale.
Day 8 Depart Clarksdale after breakfast for a 1h30 shuttle back to Memphis.

*Itinerary subject to change based on weather and willingness to ‘say yes more’ to spontaneous possibilities 😉

Travel documents: Crew will require a passport from their home country that will allow them to travel to the USA, with at least 6 months before expiry. Non US citizens must apply for an ESTA visa.

Contribution Includes:

  • Canoes and SUPs
  • Camping Equipment for 5 nights on the river
  • Hotel accommodation for 2 nights
  • All food provisions while on the river
  • Shuttle from Clarksdale back to Memphis

Payment does not include:

  • Return flight to Memphis
  • Evening meal in Memphis on day 1 and Clarksdale on day 7

Kit List

Please see our Travel Kit List.

Have a look at the Exploring Mindset Mississippi website here.