The craziest thing I ever did was study law in Canberra.Tim Cope, adventurer and author.
Growing up as the son of an outdoor education lecturer, Tim Cope spent a lot of his spare time bushwalking, skiing, hiking and surfing.
"I was always fascinated by the outdoors.
"I found that for me, that physical adventure is a way into a place," Mr Cope said.
The 41-year-old will be one of the keynote speakers at the Rotary District 9800 conference at the Ulumbarra Theatre on Saturday, 28 March.
Mr Cope will regale audiences with tales of his remarkable cross country journeys.
"I'll be describing my adventures and the journeys that have led me to a totally different perspective of the world to growing up in Gippsland," Mr Cope said.
One of those adventures took place when he was 21 years old and cycled across Russia to Beijing.
"My mate Chris and I at the age of 21 felt invincible, we felt strong and fit.
"We didn't do a whole of training for it," Mr Cope said.
With the trek in its infancy, the temperature dropped sharply and Mr Cope recounts stopping in a small village where he was greeted by an old lady.
"An old lady came out on the road and waved us in for hot mushroom soup.
"As I went in and defrosted, I discovered frostbite on the end of my big toes, which was quite terrifying," he said.
Mr Cope soon found himself taken to a local medical clinic, where he had the frostbite chopped off.
"I've still got all my toes.
"It meant that I got to live with this lady for three weeks," he said.
Baba Galya became a grandmother to Mr Cope for years to come.
"I ended up visiting her a few years later.
"She moved to Crimea and since passed away, but I had a friendship with her for many years," Mr Cope recounts.
Almost a year into his journey, he found himself in Mongolia, with the end in sight.
"I found myself taken aback by these nomadic people on horses who would come galloping up and say hello and gallop away.
"We were just tourists in a land where the temperature could be minus 50 degrees in winter or 40 degrees in summer and they live in tents.
"They seem to buck the trend," Mr Cope said.
It was then that his love affair with Mongolia started and upon returning to Australia, he was soon planning his next adventure.
"I got home and by the time my bicycle was collecting cobwebs in the garage, I came up with a new idea of riding a horse from Mongolia to Europe on the trail of nomads who went across these tracks of land," he said.
Mr Cope makes an annual pilgrimage to Mongolia and has been facilitating small group treks since 2008.
"I take people to the far west of Mongolia.
"I am generally drawn to the more remote areas where nomads still live a very traditional life and rely on their animals and less on mechanical transport," he said.
Mr Cope's taste for adventure was amplified when he studied to be a wilderness guide in Finland after a brief stint at university in Australia.
"The craziest thing I ever did was study law in Canberra.
"One semester sitting in the law library was enough to make me go mad and I was looking for a different path.
"The wilderness guide course introduced me to Russia and the Arctic and gave me a concept of wilderness," he said.
Apart from adventure, writing is another passion of Mr Cope's.
His latest release, Tim & Tigon, is a young adult novel that aims to inspire young people to explore their curiosity, take risk, have patience and make friends.
"I am currently visiting schools around Australia with the book and I'd love to hear from schools in the Bendigo area if they're interested in me coming to present to students," Mr Cope said.
Tim Cope will be the keynote speaker at the Rotary Distrct 9800 conference at the Ulumbarra Theatre during plenary session three on Saturday, 28 March.