Have you ever felt like your potential as a human being is stifled by sitting, cooped up, in an office all day? Do you look out the window longingly, feeling like if you could just take a quick recess, you’d be more productive? Well, as it turns out, you’re not alone.

The “natural living” movement has grown in popularity over recent years and champions the return of organic human habits, like spending most of your time outdoors and going to sleep early. One man has taken it even further: he doesn’t believe in wearing shoes, and his rationale is more logical than you’d think.

Tony Riddle is a natural living coach from Hampstead, London. Along with his wife Katarina and their four kids, he researches ways to bring healthy, easily implemented human habits back into the hustle and bustle of contemporary 9-to-5 life.

Outdoor Journal

His philosophy is that humans, like other animals, are most successful when they live how nature intended. According to Riddle, raising a family has driven him to identify the ancestral tools his children will need to succeed.

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“We exist in a modern technological age,” says Riddle. “We can’t turn back the clock or expect to be able to live as we did as hunter-gatherers. But we can relearn these deep connections to nature, ourselves, and each other.”

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By relearning the basics of human survival instincts, Riddle has been able to thrive. “In doing so,” he says, we can “find profound states of wellbeing.” And what wellbeing he’s found, indeed…

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When Riddle was born, his feet were twisted towards his upper body from being curled up incorrectly in the womb. He had to wear plaster boots with a metal brace to twist his feet back down, which was incredibly painful.

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As he got older, Riddle began to question the need for the boots. He thought that if he could just run naturally without shoes on, and keep at it for long enough, his body would gradually realign on its own.

Rich Roll

So, he set out to try it. At first, his feet were tender, but they calloused quickly, and he learned to adapt to different surfaces, like grass and tarmac. The harder the surface, the more gently Riddle would run.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee / YouTube

Gradually, Riddle began feeling better than he’d ever felt. He looked for ways to continue making improvements in his quality of life, and ways to steer his life focus away from consumerism and back toward the environment he lived in.

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Through trial and error, Riddle developed a series of habits that worked to make him healthier. He ate a vegetable-based diet, took cold water baths, and exercised in ways that maximized his range of movement. He learned how to meditate and control his breathing.

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Riddle’s main focus never strayed far from running, though. At home, he got rid of all his chairs and sofas, opting to sit on the floor to fix his posture; good sitting posture, he said, translated into good running posture.

Tony Riddle

All the while, people had been seeking Riddle out as a natural living coach. By 2019, he had thousands of curious Instagram followers, and his consultation business was booming. However, he wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to do more.

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So Riddle began planning his biggest personal challenge yet: He would run the entire length of the United Kingdom, almost 900 miles, and he would do it barefoot. He wanted to use the trek to raise awareness for environmental causes.

Christopher Baker

He broke the journey down into a 30-day schedule, hoping to cover 30 miles each day. After every 10-mile segment, he would stop and talk with various environmentalists to learn about best practices for conservation.

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Riddle figured he’d be covered by news outlets during his run, and the talks he had with activists and conservationists would receive more press due to the existing run coverage. It was a good strategy, and everything seemed ready.

Sky News

Early on September 1st, Riddle set out from Land’s End, the southernmost point in the UK. True to his word, he was barefoot. His family rode along in the car, planning to meet him in towns every four days.

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After the first four-day stretch, his feet already looked pretty rough, but he seemed to be having a blast, posting Instagram stories of himself singing while trotting down the open road. His joy was not to last, however.

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Only a week into the trek, Tony cut his right foot badly, and his foot and ankle swelled up close to the size of a flour sack. He had to take two days off to rest, bandage the injury, and wait for the swelling to go down.

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As a result, Riddle got back on the road with two days’ worth of running to catch up on. Still determined to accomplish his goal of running 874 miles in 30 days, he added a few extra miles every day, as much as his injury could withstand.

Tony Riddle / Instagram

Finally, on September 30th, 2019, Riddle ran 57 miles and finished his journey at John o’ Groats, the most northern village in Scotland. As he pushed through the last agonizing half-mile, his family was there to congratulate him — and whisk him away to get some rest.

Tony Riddle

What’s next for Tony Riddle? Over the COVID-19 quarantine, he set up a “lockdown relay,” where teams of 6 runners virtually passed the baton along to complete 100 miles in 24 hours. Not even a pandemic could keep this guy down! Some people are just cut from different cloths.

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Every day, Colin O’Brady kissed his wife Jenna goodbye and went off to work. However, he didn’t slave away at some conventional office job. Like Tony Riddle, Colin’s occupation was pushing the human body to — and sometimes past — its limits.

Henry Cromett

To say Colin was an adrenaline junkie would be a major understatement. He dedicated his life to becoming one of history’s greatest endurance athletes. His first triumphs came in the triathlon circuit, though what Colin really wanted to do was conquer the deadliest place on the planet.

He dreamed of crossing Antarctica. With temperatures plummeting below negative 120 degrees Fahrenheit and barely any drinkable water available, the continent posed an unimaginable challenge to even this experienced climber and adventurer. But Colin added in a twist to his scheme.

Flickr / Eli Duke

Colin planned on doing it alone. That feat had never successfully been pulled off, but this daredevil was eager to make the history books. Even so, plenty of Colin’s loved ones were queasy about the idea. It could have lethal consequences.

Instagram / Colin O’Brady

British explorer Henry Worsely attempted the solo trek in 2016, but Antarctica proved too much for him. He died 30 miles from the finish line. What made that loss even more troubling was the fact that Henry was one of Colin’s most influential mentors.

The New Yorker

Could the 33-year-old succeed where his teacher had fallen short? Colin believed the answer to that depended all on his preparation. To cross nearly 1,000 treacherous miles, he would need to be in the best shape of his life.

YouTube / Colin O’Brady

Aside from packing on more muscle, Colin needed to figure out the perfect balance of gear. On a team expedition, certain members could share the load of common equipment. But Colin, carrying everything on his own, had to make some serious sacrifices.

The New York Times / Tamara Merino

He collected the bare essentials and strapped all his supplies to a sled, which weighed in at 375 pounds. Colin was ready for the challenge of a lifetime. For better or worse, however, so was another man.

The New York Times

Colin wouldn’t be the only adventurer attempting the Antarctic trek in 2018. Louis Rudd, a British army veteran who’d previously traversed the icy continent with a group, was also gunning for the record. The two competitors shared a ride down south.

The New York Times

Even so, Colin was filled with optimism at the start. He was glad to have a competitor pushing him — though the unforgiving landscape would separate them almost immediately. But the harsh realities of hiking through Antarctica soon set in.

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The athlete had weeks, if not months, of slow trudging ahead. His focus had to stay razor-sharp every second. If Colin lost grip of his poles, he could suffer a fall that would send him rolling down a hillside or plunging into a frigid pool.

Colin O’Brady

When he settled down to rest, there were no real creature comforts either. Colin quenched his thirst with bland water melted down from snow. Every morning he had to quickly relieve himself in a hole, before frostbite took over his more delicate regions.

Sleep didn’t come easy, either. After a 12-hour day of walking, Colin wrestled with the wind to set up his tent, which nearly blew away on more than one occasion. His single luxury was a satellite phone, his single lifeline to Jenna.

Colin O’Brady

She listened to Colin recount his struggles each night, often through tears. Jenna was taken aback by how miserable her confident, risk-taking husband sounded. Part of him wanted to quit and go home, before Rudd or the elements got the best of him.

Instagram / Colin O’Brady

What was also troubling was that Colin was shedding pounds at an alarming weight. Despite a diet of custom protein bars and nutrient-packed dinners, he was getting skinnier and weaker. All that fiber also brought him to rock bottom.

The New York Times

In the Arctic wilderness, Colin felt the need to pass gas one day. He was mortified to discover that something very solid came out. The real kicker was that Colin’s ultra-light pack didn’t contain a single spare pair of underwear.

Demoralized, Colin hiked onward in his soiled skivvies. The unrelenting landscape was starting to wear him down, as he felt like a “cork floating in the middle of the ocean, or a speck of sand on the beach.” He contemplated calling for help.

His iron will wouldn’t let him quit, however. Colin went out there to show what one determined individual could accomplish, and his mantra of “You’re strong, you’re capable” kept him going — until he could go no further.

Twitter / Colin O’Brady

And that was only because he reached the opposite Antarctic coast! The solo trek was finally complete after 54 days, though Colin could barely believe it. He frantically dialed Jenna to tell her that he made it — plus another piece of good news.

Twitter / Colin O’Brady

He beat Louis Rudd by two days! Following their extraction, the rivals celebrated their journey with beers and burgers, plus stories of their respective struggles. They both knew they were fortunate, given the history of disasters that struck polar expeditions.

Instagram / Colin O’Brady

The Terror was a British naval ship constructed in 1813 that specialized in destruction. Armed with two heavy mortars and ten cannons, the bombing vessel was jam-packed with kind of firepower that truly gave meaning to its name.

The Terror played a key role in the War of 1812, taking part in the bombardment of Stonington, Connecticut, in 1814. A year later, the ship provided support during the Battle of Fort Peter as well as the attack on St. Marys, Georgia.

Dan Kosmayer

After the war, the Terror was decommissioned until 1828 when it was called to serve in the Mediterranean. The vessel suffered damage near Lisbon, Portugal, shortly after beginning its patrol and was removed from service thereafter.

Boat Ed

But the Terror found new life in the mid-1830s when it was recommissioned as a polar exploration vessel. With its sturdy frame and powerful engine, the Terror seemed capable of traversing even the most treacherous of arctic terrains.

This confidence was put to the test in 1836 when Captain George Back helmed the Terror on an expedition to Hudson Bay. Despite being well-equipped for the journey, the vessel wound up trapped in sea ice for ten months before returning to port.

The Terror‘s second expedition in 1840 under James Clark Ross proved more fruitful, as the ship and its companion vessel, the HMS Erebus, completed a three-year journey to Antarctica. Mount Terror, a dormant volcano on Ross Island, was even named in the ship’s honor.

In May 1845, Sir John Franklin led the Terror and the Erebus on an expedition across the Northwest Passage, a feat that’d never been accomplished before. The journey looked promising at the start, though after being spotted in Baffin Bay in August, the ships vanished without a trace.

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A series of search efforts were launched to locate the missing ships, though neither the vessels nor Franklin and his crew were ever found. Then, in 1859, a note was discovered in a stack of rocks on King William Island that revealed the startling fate of the expedition.

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Dated April 1848, the note explained that both the Terror and the Erebus had become trapped in ice in the Victoria Strait, forcing the crews to abandon ship. The survivors attempted to trek to a fur-trading post some 600 miles away though quickly perished from starvation and exposure.

More than 100 years after the note’s discovery, the remains of a number of crewmen were located on King William Island. Autopsies of the bodies showed that, in addition to hypothermia and lack of food, the men also suffered from lead poisoning and botulism, likely a result of tainted rations.

In the late 20th century, Inuit researchers discovered that cannibalism may have played a role in the demise of the Terror and Erebus crews. Cut marks on the skeletal remains of several crew members suggested that the men may have resorted to eating one another to survive.

Yet one question remained — where were the ships? And for that matter, could they even be salvaged? After spending more than a century beneath the frigid waters of the Arctic, there was no telling what condition they’d be in if found.

The answer to that question came two decades later, when wreck of the Erebus was discovered off the coast of King William Island in 2014. Then, in 2016, the Terror was located 45 miles away in a body of water aptly called Terror Bay.

Archaeologists were eager to explore the lost wrecks, though it wasn’t until 2019 that they acquired the technology to do so. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the researchers began a systematic exploration of the ships.

Searching the various cabins and compartments of the vessels, the archaeologists were blown away by how well-preserved everything was. Cabinets were closed and filled with liquor, furniture sat in place, and even paper maps remained taut and readable.

Visions of the North

“The impression we witnessed when exploring the HMS Terror is of a ship only recently deserted by its crew, seemingly forgotten by the passage of time,” said ROV pilot Ryan Harris.

The captain’s cabin proved to be the biggest treasure trove, containing maps, a tripod, and several thermometers. Cabinets filled with plates and cutlery were also discovered, their contents still polished and colorful despite spending decades beneath the sea.

But how was this possible? According to the researchers, the Arctic conditions created the perfect environment for preservation. Between the zero-degree water temperature, lack of natural light, and sedimentation, the artifacts had very little chance to decompose.

CNN

This exploration marks the first many in an effort to recover all artifacts from the wreckages. By analyzing these objects, researchers hope to learn more about how and why Franklin’s expedition met its tragic end.

The Sun

“The excellent condition of the ship will, I hope, mean that there will soon be answers to so many questions about the fate of the Franklin Expedition, shrouded in mystery since 1845,” said British High Commissioner to Canada Susan Le Jeune d’Allegeershecque.

Since the fateful sinking of the Terror and the Erebus, more than a handful of other ships have also met a watery grave. The SS America, for instance, was originally sold to become a hotel off Phuket, Thailand, though it never made it there.

While its base was still in excellent condition, the ship could no longer run properly and was set to be towed across the ocean for 100 days. But, the towlines broke, and, despite the crew’s best efforts, the ship was left adrift.

On January 18, 1992, it ran aground off the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands where it slowly disintegrated over time. Only a relatively small section of the bow, as well as the keel of the vessel, were still visible at low tide.

2. Desert Ships in Mo’ynoq, Uzbekistan: The last place you’d expect to find a shipwreck is the desert, but there are plenty to be found outside of Mo’ynoq, Uzbekistan. It was once a busy Soviet fishing port on the Aral Sea — once one of the four largest lakes in the world — but today, nothing but desert remains.

What once was a 26,300 square mile body of water has dried up when the rivers feeding it were diverted for irrigation purposes. It has since shrunk to less than 10% of its original size and is considered one of the most catastrophic environmental disasters of all time.

The ships are located 100 miles from the current shore, creating a surreal sight for anyone who finds them. While the ships themselves don’t seem to be haunted, Mo’ynoq has become a ghost town of abandoned fish industries. Pretty eerie…

3. SS Antilla in Aruba, The Caribbean: This German cargo ship was launched in 1939 but didn’t live a long life… it was built for trade between Germany and the Caribbean and thus named after the Dutch islands, which are referred to as “The Antillen.”

On May 10th, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, so the Dutch government immediately ordered the seizure of all German ships. However, before the Dutch marines could execute their attack, the Germans began to scuttle, or purposely sink, the Antilla.

One crewman locked himself in the engine room, opened her seacocks, and climbed out through the funnel, while others set fire to several parts of the ship. Sixty years later, she became a popular scuba diving spot.

4. HMS E5 in the North Sea, The Netherlands: The Antilla was not the only ship that led a short life due to warfare. The English E-class submarine was on its way to rescue survivors of a wrecked trawler in the North Sea when it met its fate.

It was 1916, in the middle of World War I, and Germany had planted underwater mines all around their coast as well as those of the Dutch Wadden Islands. Even submarines had a tough time navigating around this threat.

In 2016 divers found the wreck of E5 off the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog. Her hatches were open, which suggests the crew tried to escape. The disappearance of its 29 sailors was finally solved.

5. M.P. Émelie in Baie-Saint-Paul, Canada: Captain Eloi Perron built what at first felt like the love of his life in 1956 and piloted it along the St. Lawrence River until 1975. It was eventually sold and resold several times until it was stranded 90km north of Quebec City.

There she lay for decades, rotting away until finally, in 2015, a fire accidentally set off by a thief trying to cut through the copper in the boat’s hull destroyed what was left of it, leaving only the frame. It pained Perron to see it whenever he visited Baie-Saint-Paul.

On February 15, 2018, Perron passed away from old age. A week later, his son was informed that the wreckage had completely disappeared! The ship left the world with its true owner.

6. Ghost fleet in Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia: Formerly Truk Lagoon, this area is littered with planes, ships, cars, tanks and bodies — victims of WWII. For two days in 1944, Allied bombers rained destruction on the beaches of the Caroline Islands in the South Pacific.

Often referred to as “Japan’s Pearl Harbor,” Operation Hailstone was so successful that the lagoon became a kind of cemetery. Approximately 250 Japanese aircrafts and over 50 ships were destroyed and sunken.

An estimated 400 Japanese soldiers were killed in one ship alone, trapped in the cargo hold. The fleet was largely forgotten until the late 1960s, when wreck divers brought attention to the site. Japan then made recovery efforts and removed many bodies for burial.

7. The SS Mohegan, Cornwall, England: The sinking of SS Mohegan is one of the biggest tragedies and mysteries of the Atlantic Transport Line ever to occur. The ship hit another, the Manacles, on her second voyage, on 14th October 1898.

Some people on board noticed the ship sailed too close to the coast and the Eddystone Lighthouse was too far away. When the ship struck Vase Rocks, the engine room immediately flooded and the steam gauges broke. Everyone ran onto the deck.

The crew managed to prepare two lifeboats, one of which capsized. It took only 12 minutes for the sea to swallow the Mohegan. Lifeboat Charlotte launched right away but only managed to save 44 passengers — no officers or crew. The recovered bodies were buried in a mass grave in St. Keverne.

8. Empire Strength (Romania): An old, decrepit ship rests just off the coast in the Black Sea. One kayaker, with a GoPro strapped to his head, bravely explored it.

Mike / Wikimedia

On the side of the hull, there’s a small crack. You can’t fit a boat inside of it, but this experienced adventurer was no stranger to navigating tight confines.

RM Videos / Youtube

The ship wore a coat of thick rust, but this fearless explorer continued his journey into the opening. With sharp edges and hidden pieces lurking below, this was no task for the casual kayaker.

Furthermore, in an unstable structure like an old ship, you never know what might be ready to crumble. Anything he touched could nudge something out of place and bring down some wreckage…

RM Videos / Youtube

Using his hands instead of his paddle, the kayaker guided himself fully into the ship. The interior was dark, but luckily, light poured through cracks. The inside wasn’t in any better condition than the outside.

There was definitely an eerie vibe to the ship that time had worn down into looking like an evil villain’s vaulted lair. Girders ribbed the walls and ceiling, while enormous gears and pistons blocked certain pathways.

Comments on the kayaker’s original video relayed mixed feelings about his journey. One person posting, “I noticed the Harland & Wolff logo on the main engine. Possibly the whole ship was built by this British shipyard, the builders of the SS Titanic.”

Others compared the structure’s interior to other familiar settings in shipwreck films and video game franchises. However, most comments seemed upset that the guy sometimes had his feet hanging outside the kayak!

Perhaps more interesting than the interior of this dilapidated ship, however, was the history of the ship itself. It spent years navigating waters all around the world before it was finally abandoned…

The vessel actually served within the UK’s Ministry of War Transport as an Empire Ship; it was used for giving the country’s wartime fleet a little extra umph. These ships were usually either built or captured from enemies.

RM Videos / Youtube

Before and during World War II, the United Kingdom boasted the largest fleet of merchant ships, but the war claimed 4,000 of them. German U-boats and the Luftwaffe patrolled the water, looking to sink enemy vessels…

Built in 1942 in a shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the ship weighed 7,355 tons! And though you probably couldn’t tell from its current state, this ship actually survived the fighting of WWII.

Despite the glory of Empire Strength‘s appearance and apparent might, its role wasn’t the most glamorous: it transported frozen meat from Argentina in 1944 and 1945, making stops at ports in North Africa, Algiers, Cuba, and Australia.

Just 26 years after it was built, EmpireStrength—whose name at one point had been changed to MV E Evangelia—ran aground just 16 miles south of the largest port in the Black Sea. Unable to move, it was abandoned and left floating in its current spot.

At first, locals raided the ship for anything of value, but now the MV E Evangelia has been reduced to nothing more than a few good photos and exploratory opportunities…

Still, the ship in its current state serves as a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. Some people even brave the waters and swim out to the wreck—though that seems like a good way to cut yourself on a ship fragment!

Apparently, there’s even a way to get onto the deck, but it involves navigating rusty pipes and climbing up a ladder to a dark, windowless shaft. That seems, uh… safe? Yikes!

Thanks to one courageous kayaker, who documented his exploration, we were all able to experience a journey through a piece of history. We’re thankful he didn’t just take a trip to a nearby sandbar!

Check out the video this adventurous man recorded first-hand while paddling into the unknown. You’ll be quite surprised to find all the history that’s still intact!