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Interview with Geordie Stewart: "You are much for capable than you believe"


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At the age of 22, Geordie Stewart became the youngest Briton to ever complete the astounding feat of the Seven Summit mountaineering challenge. Now at the age of 29, he is launching his first book 'In Search of Sisu' which documents his transition from teenager to adulthood and his struggles, both on and off the mountain.

Geordie at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro // Picture courtesy of Geordie Stewart

In anticipation of the release of his first book, I interviewed Geordie about his exploits, namely the expedition itself, writing 90,000 words in two weeks, the book and his future aspirations.

You can read the full interview here; this is what I will take away from our conversation, as an 18-year-old student.

Like many teenager's Geordie found himself on the cusp of adulthood with no real future goals or aspirations." I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had plans for a gap year but no real direction. About halfway through the book, I thought Everest could be the goal, something to drive towards", he says.

And drive towards that goal, he did.

On 26th May 2011, not only had he completed Everest on his second attempt but he had also completed the Seven Summit challenge. 

At the top of the Aconcagua summit // Picture courtesy of Geordie Stewart

Many people would have dismissed Geordie's aspiration as too ambitious, particularly for an 18-year-old.  However, Geordie believes otherwise:

"You are much for capable than you believe, particularly more than me at the age of 29. At 18, you are naive. I looked at Everest, saw it and thought 'I can do that and I want to do that'. Whereas suddenly life gets in the way and makes a lot harder when you get older."

"It is good to dream. It is healthy to have an ambitious goal."

"There are always people that always try to tell you it's not possible and they will laugh and they will mock and shout at you and that's fine because you have to let them do that."

 "You need to be belligerent in your own mind and maintain that conviction, that you can follow it through."

The mind is an important topic for Geordie and 'In Search of Sisu', by his own admission, is not a "conventional climbing book". It focuses more on the mindset and psychology surrounding the climbs. 

"It is very easy to look at mountaineers and explorers and just see the end result. When actually, the bit that shows the most vulnerability and the greatest strength, is the bit off the mountain; or certainly what is going on between your two ears and goes on within your head."

The publication of his first book, similarly to the expedition, was not without its challenges. Geordie decided to go down the self-publishing route to keep "creative control" and because he believed it was the best way to tell a "very personal story".

I found Geordie to have a refreshing attitude in comparison to many people around me when discussing the nature of self-publication: "If that means I sell fewer copies then so be it - because I think worth it is a story worth telling. It is a story which needs to be vulnerable and personal."

Remarkably, his first draft was completed within two weeks - numbering 90,000 words. He described this period as an "intense" but necessary as he needed to just convey his raw emotions surrounding his exploits.

Everest Northeast Ridge // Picture courtesy of Geordie Stewart

The release of his book is by no means the end of exploration and adventure for Geordie. Following five years he describes as "a wonderful period" in the British Army, he now has his sights on other goals. "I want to go on a big cycling adventure around the world. I want to explore the world, to see beautiful places and meet new people", he announces.

In terms of writing it is also not the end: "Because I was in the army, I didn't have an avenue where I could express my creativity writing-wise". He adds: "Now, after writing 'In Search of Sisu', I feel liberated in my creative ideas - which is a joy. I will certainly write a book on the cycling trip because of its nature, I will meet great people and see great places. It will give an insight to people of a world they haven’t seen. Crucially it may give people inspiration to do something similar."

Geordie is very focused on inspiring people through documenting his achievements and struggle within the book. Hoping that he can inspire people to follow their dreams no "matter what the dream is". 

I am really excited to read his book and to follow his next adventures.

And who knows, maybe we'll do this again when his second book comes out? 

Geordie and a copy of his book // Picture courtesy of Geordie Stewart

To find out more about Geordie and his book visit his website

The book is currently available as an e-Book and paperback on Amazon.

You can see where his next adventures take by following him on Instagram and Twitter: @geordie_stewart

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