154: Mike Guest/Dawn Days

Mike Guest, April 2021. Photo: Owen Tozer

I’m a big believer in the right idea at the right time. And Dawn Days, the ritual begun by friends Mike Guest and Nick Pumphrey at the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020, is a great example of this principle in action.

Like all good ideas, this simple concept soon took off; in this case becoming an online movement as more and more people from around the world began to document their own early morning experiences. ⁣⁣

Photo: Tozer

⁣⁣Soon – perhaps because of the timing of the whole thing – Dawn Days transcended these humble origins and became a means through which to explore a range of other issues, including mental health, our connection to nature, and even the nature of community during the Covid and post-Covid era. ⁣⁣

⁣⁣It’s been great watching this idea unfold and see how Mike and Nick have nurtured it, so I decided to ask Mike, who I know through the village-like UK action sports community, to come on the show to discuss the whole thing. ⁣⁣

Photo: Tozer

⁣⁣I loved this conversation. Mike is a warm, generous and insightful conversationalist and, like Dawn Days itself, our conversation evolved in some unexpected directions, particularly as we examined Mike’s relationship to his dyslexia, and the way this diagnosis has shaped his life. Hope you take as much from it as Mike and I did. ⁣⁣

⁣Watch the full exchange below:

Connect with Mike

Show Notes

  • The false spring
  • Getting back to work
  • “..I’m a photographer and film maker… and a jack of all trades..’
  • Staying captivated and working with dyslexia
  • Living with dyslexia
  • ‘…think of your dyslexia as a superpower…you can see things in 3D.’
  • Dyslexia affecting work and relationships, and how getting an assistant has helped
  • Negotiating people with dyslexia
  • Breaking out of the societal mould you’ve been cast in
  • Meeting Ed Leigh
  • Going over to New Zealand and falling in love with photography again
  • Skiing and racing as a kid
  • Getting introduced to surfing
  • Spending winters in Switzerland and taking risks
  • First season in Canada and taking an avalanche course
  • The seasons in Engelberg
  • Looking back on a self-destructive streak
  • ‘…I am enough…’
  • Being proud and confidently taking control of dyslexia
  • Changing trajectory from losing Jamie
  • Photography mentoring program with Christina and ‘…coaching for your mind..’
  • Early bird tendencies
  • Dawn Days
  • How Dawn Days has developed
  • The power behind the idea
  • The Sunrise Social Club
  • Negative connotations towards mental wellness
  • Therapy and ACT Therapy
  • Ocean analogies
  • ‘Shepherding’ Dawn Days in a positive direction
  • The pivot point
  • What’s next
  • The Bin Men
  • Telling honest stories through photography
  • The Dawn Days community and the Ripple Effect film

People Mentioned

Places Mentioned


  • Edinburgh
  • New Zealand
  • Wanaka
  • Hellend
  • Engelberg
  • Switzerland
  • Chamonix
  • Canada
  • Nelson, British Columbia
  • Iraq
  • Zurich
  • Chamonix Sud
  • Alaska
  • Cornwall
  • Hossegor
  • Portobello, Edinburgh
  • Scotland
  • Shetland
  • Wales
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • Melbourne
  • Norway

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned

  • Amazon Prime
  • Patagonia
  • Whatsapp
  • Red Bull
  • Racers Edge
  • Instagram
  • Hillend Dry slope
  • World Surf League
  • Quick Silver Pro
  • Coldwater Classic
  • Teton Gravity Research
  • Hotel Europe
  • Yucatan
  • Finisterre
  • Dawn Days
  • Grammarly