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Adventurer will speak at Anderson Center

Dave Cornthwaite, a British adventurer who passed through Red Wing on an excursion down the Mississippi River in 2011, will speak at the Anderson Center Barn at 7 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 20.

If you've ever dreamt of getting back to nature and taking on incredibly adventurous challenges such as swimming the length of a river or bicycling across the country, you can understand how Dave Cornthwaite used to feel.

Not only did he dream about them, but he did them.

Cornthwaite's bold and daring spirit has pushed him to complete ambitious expeditions he planned for himself over the past several years. One in particular had the Britain native paddle boarding from one end of the Mississippi River to the other, which is exactly what brought him to Red Wing in the summer of 2011.

During a break in his excursion, Cornthwaite took some time to speak at the Environmental Learning Center.

"I took my 10-year-old son at the time and both of us just kind of sat there and went, 'Wow,'" ELC Director Jason Jech remembered. "What he's doing is just amazing."

So impressed with Cornthwaite's stories, personality and inspirational qualities, Jech recently decided to invite him back to Red Wing.

Cornthwaite will return to the area next week, but not for another extreme adventure. Instead, his stop will be one of many on a tour of the United States that introduces his lecture series, "Say Yes More." The tour comes on the heels of Cornthwaite's most recent adventure -- swimming more than 1,000 miles in the Missouri River from August to October.

"I've now recuperated to a degree where I'm able to speak to people," the adventurer joked. "I've got some great stories now."

Using those personal experiences, Cornthwaite designed his lectures to promote thought and action toward a happier, more adventurous life. It was exactly that kind of life that he realized he wanted back in 2005 when Cornthwaite decided to leave his career as a graphic designer and chase after his passions.

Now he's taking an opportunity to show others that it's possible to reach for their dreams and accomplish goals they didn't think were conceivable.

"The lessons I've learned over the past few years are attributable to anybody if they want to go out there and do something they're struggling with," he said.

"It's a very simple approach," Jech said of Cornthwaite's outlook. "Say yes to things instead of, 'Oh no, I can't.' Do the things you want to do, not the things you have to do all the time."

Cornthwaite will convey that message locally next week when he speaks at the Anderson Center Barn at 7 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 20. There's no charge for admission, but Cornthwaite will accept free will donations to go toward his fundraising efforts for nonprofit organizations.

Jech said he's encouraging ELC staff to attend the lecture and hopes a lot of area community members will turn out to hear what Cornthwaite has to say.

"He has a unique perspective I think we all can learn from," Jech said. "There are some amazing people out there doing amazing things and Dave is one of them."