Inspired to the Extreme with Paul Teasdale
Paul Teasdale is extreme sport personified! Zimbabwean and from Bulawayo, he specializes in white water kayaking, stand up paddling and paragliding. A teacher of survival courses, Paul has long been involved in tourism and filming work.
Adventure sport involves risk – activities that engage physical exertion, encompass conquering challenging heights, experiencing break-neck speeds, requiring a strong mental aptitude and of course, highly specialized gear. Cosmetic manufacturing on the other hand, is the production of substances that enhance the hair, face, body, and skin. Paul Teasdale switched from heading the family business - Glen T Cosmetics - to leading rafting teams on Zambezi River’s rapids. A drastic shift to some, but a realignment of the same concept to Paul, for him, he was simply focused on building the inner man; whereas in his view, cosmetology covered the outward appearance of man.
Teasdale and the RAW Movement
His desire for an internal overhaul gave birth to the RAW movement, which Paul describes as a lifestyle-based philosophy of health and fitness based on the 3 elements of rock, air, and water. What does this mean, one might ask? The vision is as clear and it is imaginative, creating meaning that ties the elements Paul thrives in, with the end result he hopes his program participants will walk away with. “Rock” symbolises strength, stability, foundation and power, “air” constitutes mindfulness, breathing, flexibility and knowledge, while “water” closes the circle by denoting efficiency, flow, environmental harmony, and skills acquisition. The RAW movement fosters a childlike curiosity when it comes to moving through the environment, encouraging one to turn fitness into play time. After all children, don’t train; they play. His weight loss journey of losing 22kg in twelve weeks and maintaining the healthy weight to date – bears testimony to the impact of the RAW philosophy.
An individual who is celebrated for being an inspiration to many through his personal life, Paul lives by the ethos of “ensuring all interactions leave the next person with more and not less.’’
“A big win is to touch lives’’ he says, thus Paul’s website and social media handles are platforms where he shares his personal experiences, musings, thoughts, and his love for words. “Success for me is taking what I have learnt and passing it on to someone and seeing their lives change – through my vulnerability! ‘’ he adds.
“To explore, create and inspire is my purpose, as I have defined it this way to keep me accountable to myself. These are basically the core values I build my purpose around in order to give me direction and focus. Whatever I do or embark upon, I try to keep these words in mind to direct my vision,” asserts Paul on the subject of purpose.
He describes this as the process of self-discovery, finding one’s true self and expressing it without apology. “By exploring the world from as many perspectives as possible, I hope to gain the necessary insights to shape my own belief systems while never becoming dogmatic. I strive to keep my strong opinions loosely held, so I remain open to education, while keeping the courage of my convictions,” asserts Paul.
“To use each second to create memories, relationships and goodness in the world, and to build others up to do the same. Through the acquisition of skills and then the transfer of those skills to the greater good, I hope to actively create the world and environment I want to live in. The responsibility is mine,” cites Paul.
When asked to chime in on why inspiring others is a core value, Paul states, “Stand in your truth and be uncompromising about it and in doing so give others the space to do the same. Change the world one person at a time, starting with yourself. By taking extreme ownership of my life and being responsible for the circumstances I encounter, I choose to never be a victim but instead the creator of my destiny.”
Doing what needs to be done
Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March 2019, leaving countless dead and others still missing. The storms, floods and landslides left a severe trail of destruction to homes, local subsistence and commercial agriculture projects and community infrastructure. Acknowledging that he possessed the skills, ability and equipment to help save lives, he embarked on a solo mission to the disaster zone where he was adopted by Econet (Zimbabwe's largest telecommunications , media and technology company) and led the remote rescue operations in the wake of the cyclone that struck Chimanimani district.
He later joined forces with his friend Wayne Williamson and together they went on to Mozambique to give their skills in remote aid logistics to remote villages that were affected there. He still describes the 5 days in Chimanimani and 5 days in Mozambique as both life changing and at the same time fulfilling. From high angle rescue, swift water rescue, hanging from helicopters and ropes, forging rivers, and mountains, they did whatever it took to save lives. Hard and emotional work –yet he would not hesitate to do it again - as he is passionate about making a difference!
‘’All animals are important in the ecosystem; not just the cute and fluffy ones’’ says Paul, who in his younger years was described as the ‘’9-year old expert snake- catcher’’. His love for wildlife and the environment dates back to when he was a child and would rescue and relocate snakes under the supervision of his mom. Marketing his services through fliers on car windscreens, he was regularly called to attend to snake invasions in people’s homes.
He laughs as he shares how, on one occasion he responded to a call and upon arrival, the homeowner, expecting an older snake –catcher, assured Paul not to worry as the expert was on his way to remove the cobra from the pool. Fortunately, his mom was present to vouch for his expertise, much to the homeowner’s embarrassment! Paul has continued working with the National Parks and other conservation groups in educating people on the need to avoid killing reptiles as this leads to extinction. He also focuses on creating awareness of the options available for catching reptiles that encroach on human territory. Highlights in his later years include rescuing a crocodile at the Victoria Falls Bridge, as well as removing a large black mamba from beneath a 92-year old lady’s bed.
“So-shing with Suntwe”
An offspring of the lockdown and inspired by his writing the “Chronicles of Suntwe”, is “So-shing with Suntwe”- Suntwe being his nickname on the Zambezi and meaning Hyena in Tonga, while “so-shing” is a Zimbabwean slang term for “socialising”. This show which streams on Facebook, is made up of conversations between two people on a live broadcast. Every Wednesday at 7 pm CAT, there are chats about anything, including an exploration of perspectives and opinion-sharing. Paul believes diversity is a brilliant teacher.
‘’I do not base my identity on being right all the time, but on looking for the right solutions. To find the right solutions, one must be willing to be wrong and willing to explore perspectives you have not considered before.” Paul concludes.
To be a guest on “So-shing with Suntwe”, interested parties can direct message him on Facebook. Passionate about impactful dialogue that’s smothered in inspirational messaging, Paul hopes to connect with wider audiences that share his same values, bringing hope and a positive outlook on life, one person at a time.
“I see the mountain that needs to be climbed, I take responsibility for that climb, I plot my course and I begin the ascent!”