Timeline Photos

Hefty book-signing session. Always makes me wish for a short name like Bob Kay!
Really pleased though that Primary Schools are starting to read The Boy Who Biked the World in greater numbers.

It can be hard to change. If we are stuck in a rut with work, or depressed, or chasing the mortgage, or changing nappies then change (or even a temporary escape) can feel like an impossibility. I do not deny that, but nor do I believe it is impossible.
And as if all this was not hard enough -- making changes, risking uncertainty -- we also fear what other people will think. What will society or friends or family think if we go and do something weird like camp on a mountain or sling on a backpack or jump into a cold, clear river with our crazy kids? What will people think?!
We fear, above all, the unknown. Not the literal unknown of the wilderness that we all yearn for, but the unknown of how it might all pan out if we do start to live more adventurously.
Adventure is not scary. LIFE is scary. And that's why we stick with what we have. We procrastinate. And we make excuses.
But what scares me, more than any of these very real fears, is that soon it will be too late. One day this will all be over. And I am scared how much I will regret it if I don't do whatever I can to push off from the shore and dare myself to live a little more adventurously while I have the chance. (Link to full film in bio)

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - Alastair Humphreys

“How to Improve your Email Newsletter” https://buff.ly/2IAoleW

A map of Odysseus’ travels in The Odyssey

“A map of Odysseus’ travels in The Odyssey” - this would be a far more interesting journey than a standard A to B ocean row. I'd love (in theory) to follow this route by boat and boot...

The Scouts

I love all the hard work that goes into preparing young people in Scouts with #SkillsForLife

Some of us fear travelling alone or have no adventurous friends to join us. What are we scared of here? The dark? Ghosts? Loneliness? Or do we doubt ourselves? So many of us do, mistakenly worried that our small adventures won't count, or aren't up to much. We fear the inadequacy of comparison. We hide behind excuses like the paradox of choice ("I can't go on an adventure because there are too many options to choose from!"). Or we hide behind defences that class, or upbringing, or education mean that 'people like us' don't do adventure, CAN'T do adventure, that the door to adventure is closed -- as if that was ever possible for walking up a hill, or cycling across a country, or joining a club and making a start?
It's not equipment or training, or wild camping worries, or access to the 'right people' that stops us making a start, it's us lacking the confidence to go for it. We stop ourselves because we're scared. We're scared of the unknown; we are scared to change. And that is why we settle for what we know and where we presently are rather than casting off and taking a chance on changing something.
(Full film on my blog: link in bio)

Fear?

“What if the thing that stops us living as adventurously as we might dream of is not time or money or family or expertise or gender or training, but our own fears?”

Timeline Photos

Tickets are now on sale for the next Night of Adventure. 11 July, Bristol. All proceeds to Hope and Homes for Children, so please come along if you can (or share this, if you can't) https://buff.ly/2IY7iD1 We're going for an all-female line-up of speakers this time. 👍🧗‍♀️👊

Fear?

What if the thing that stops us living as adventurously as we might dream of is not time or money or family or expertise or gender or training, but our own fears?
*
There is a common perception that adventure has to involve leaving the real world behind, heading far out to sea into epic landscapes, with expensive equipment and specialist skills. And that to be an 'Adventurer' you have to be a middle-class white man who is strong and athletic or -- more importantly -- rich and well-connected!
But I honestly believe that adventure is more accessible than that.
So what IS holding us back from living more adventurously?
There is disability and illness, of course, a reminder for those of us who ARE healthy not to take that for granted.
And there are the big, glaring obstacles:
A lack of time is one of the biggest problems of our age. Being too busy for adventure -- for wilderness, tranquility, sunsets -- surely means that we NEED to make time for it, even if it is just a short microadventure escape from the office.
A shortage of money stops many people, through a mistaken assumption that adventure has to be expensive. Some of the best journeys of my life cost less than the smartphone you are reading this on.
Relationships and family commitments and children stand between many of us and the eternal, blissful, selfish dirtbag vagabondage we dream of. Maybe you truly are indispensable, or perhaps your other half simply does not share or even understand your restless spirit. In which case... in which case... Good Luck! You'll need a wiser man than me to solve that conundrum!
But otherwise, I think that what's standing in the way of you and your adventure is not time or money or kids or whatever: what's stopping us living adventurously is fear. Fear.
Often we might not recognise it as that or even deny it or react angrily at the very suggestion. But fear has so many forms.
There are simple fears like vertigo that keep us from climbing, or fear of snakes, or wide open oceans.
There is fear for safety, from the wilderness or from assault -- particularly amongst women. But anxiety about wild places is merely a healthy emotion of respect and should not preclude us from starting small. And fear of assault: is that an issue for quiet evenings alone in the countryside, or one for our daily life surrounded by humans in the 'real world'?
Some of us fear travelling alone or have no adventurous friends to join us. What are we scared of here? The dark? Ghosts? Loneliness? Or do we doubt ourselves? So many of us do, mistakenly worried that our small adventures won't count, or aren't up to much. We fear the inadequacy of comparison. We hide behind excuses like the paradox of choice ("I can't go on an adventure because there are too many options to choose from!"). Or we hide behind defences that class, or upbringing, or education mean that 'people like us' don't do adventure, CAN'T do adventure, that the door to adventure is closed -- as if that was ever possible for walking up a hill, or cycling across a country, or joining a club and making a start?
It's not equipment or training, or wild camping worries, or access to the 'right people' that stops us making a start, it's us lacking the confidence to go for it. We stop ourselves because we're scared. We're scared of the unknown; we are scared to change. And that is why we settle for what we know and where we presently are rather than casting off and taking a chance on changing something.
It can be hard to change. If we are stuck in a rut with work, or depressed, or chasing the mortgage, or changing nappies then change (or even a temporary escape) can feel like an impossibility. I do not deny that, but nor do I believe it is impossible.
And as if all this was not hard enough -- making changes, risking uncertainty -- we also fear what other people will think. What will society or friends or family think if we go and do something weird like camp on a mountain or sling on a backpack or jump into a cold, clear river with our crazy kids? What will people think?!
We fear, above all, the unknown. Not the literal unknown of the wilderness that we all yearn for, but the unknown of how it might all pan out if we do start to live more adventurously.
Adventure is not scary. LIFE is scary. And that's why we stick with what we have. We procrastinate. And we make excuses.
But what scares me, more than any of these very real fears, is that soon it will be too late. One day this will all be over. And I am scared how much I will regret it if I don't do whatever I can to push off from the shore and dare myself to live a little more adventurously while I have the chance.

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - Alastair Humphreys

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - some insights from surveying my readers:

Timeline Photos

Sometimes it’s good to be barrelling along, revelling in your fitness, sprinting to the top of a hill. Sometimes it’s good when a bloke in his 50s breezes past you — on a MOUNTAIN BIKE— and reminds you that you could be working a lot harder... 🤨

Timeline Photos

Worry is... the first time you take off and your land your new, expensive Drone-baby from a kayak...! 😰😅 #dji #mavic #drone #kayak

Timeline Photos

The joyful sport of x-country kayak hauling. Strong winds and waves made me uneasy to put to sea, so I crossed to the leeward side of the island. Good exercise, good decision, not good fun though! 😂

Timeline Photos

A very specific question: what FEAR is stopping you from living more adventurously?⠀
(Thank you, in advance, for honesty!)⠀
(Me: being judged as selfish, and upsetting those I love.)

Kayaking and bivvying on the islands of Sweden’s archipelago. I felt like all the world was mine. Magic! (I came out to 🇸🇪 to speak to @haglofs, and ‘escaped’ from the fancy hotel for 24 hours of this bliss.)

Photos from Alastair Humphreys's post

I was worried, eight years ago, when I first began sleeping on local hills and swimming in rivers to get my prescribed dose of adventure. I had just, barely, hardly, got to a point where I felt confident that enough school talks or magazine articles would come my way to pay the bills. This all depended, so it seemed to me, on a cycle of big adventures. Go do a big trip, come home with some ripping yarns, then milk those stories until I could afford to go away on another adventure.
But I noticed the vast discrepancy between the number of people who enjoyed the idea of adventures (buying books, coming to talks) and the number of people who were actually out there crossing oceans and continents. In some ways this is an obvious observation: of course thousands of people are not walking across deserts - they have real lives, idiot! The real world has husbands and wives to appease, jobs and commitments to attend to, kids and cats to feed. But I began to wonder about ways to combine this real world with the escapist thrills and joys of wilderness adventure. What could I do to demonstrate that a lack of time, living in a city, or a lack of money, kit and expertise need not rule out also living an adventurous life?
The solution, of course, has been clear for generations: get out of the city and go hiking, biking, running, swimming, camping. So I didn't invent anything. But I did call these simple pleasures 'microadventures' and argue that they ticked many of the boxes so many people search for in 'Adventure' (capital A), as well as being hobbies for the traditionally outdoorsy types.
To my great fortune, 'Adventure' somehow became trendy and mainstream in recent years. And that's how I found myself, a little after 5pm one evening, speaking to a coach-load of enthusiastic young Germans who had volunteered to join us in escaping the city of Munich for an overnight microadventure. It was organised by my sponsor Haglöfs as part of their decent, genuine work to inspire people to get out "there" and get closer to nature. I confess I had my misgivings: a coach trip to the wild felt odd, and wild-camping with fifty people isn't really an option, so there would have to be toilets and infrastructure. Plus I felt embarrassed chatting to a load of strangers via the school-trip microphone at the front of the bus.
But the unheralded beauty of Bavaria soon won me over as we left the concrete and crowds behind. And I looked eagerly ahead towards the mountains that loomed now under a bright May sky. All fifty of us piled off the coach and began hiking up a gravel track into a green woodland, heady with wild garlic. As we stretched out into a long ant-line up the steep side of the mountain, I noticed everyone settling into pockets of quiet conversation or enjoying a time of silence and space by themselves. It felt strange sharing an evening like this with so many others, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching their excitement, and their surprise that such beauty was so close to the city we had recently left.
The plan, after the hike, was to kayak out to sleep on an island in a lake. Always a fine plan, though made a little logistically complex with so many of us. It was the highlight of my day. The simple feeling of being close to water, on water, is such a calming thing. I have grown to love it very much. The sun had set by now (50 people faff quite lot!), and the sky glowed as the rosy warmth of an unseasonably hot day seeped away.
After beaching the canoes I was delighted to discover four fellow idiots who agreed that a quick plunge in an alpine lake was exactly the right thing to do. Then, refreshed, we all settled down to enjoy an evening of stars and conversation round the fire. You cannot beat the tang of wood smoke, the scent that clings to your clothes and hair even as you return to the bright lights and noise of civilisation. I wear it like a badge of honour, especially when people wrinkle their noses and move away from me on the underground.
Finally I slung my hammock between trees, and slept to the unusual sounds of cuckoos and Bavarian cowbells. There is no denying that a 5 to 9 microadventure is not conducive to a long, deep night's sleep. Too soon my alarm dragged me from rest. And I set to the difficult but important task of trying to recruit volunteers for an early morning swim.
"Ten minutes till swim time!" I shouted to the silent ranks of sleeping tents. No response.
"Jump in the lake, it'll make you shake!"
Nothing. I sensed a 6am lack of enthusiasm...
"Get in the river, it'll make you shiver!" I shouted.
"Jump in the pool, it'll make you cool. Leap in the stream, it'll make you scream..."
Three hardy souls joined me for a swim. We all agreed that it was warmer than we had anticipated, and absolutely worth the initial shock.
Then coffee for all, and back into the canoes to carve across the mirror-flat lake, a beautiful morning still holding its breath. And finally back onto the incongruous bus, back into Munich for a spectacularly-punctual German arrival time of 09:00.
I won't pretend that I would like all my microadventures to involve a coach-load of companions. But as proof of concept -- that it is possible to do interesting and memorable things between 5 and 9 -- then it was a definite success. My hope is that each of those willing volunteers goes to their friends and says to them, "hey - what are you doing next Tuesday evening? I've got an idea..."

Swifts - ted Hughes

“Fifteenth of May. Cherry blossom. The swifts
Materialize at the tip of a long scream
Of needle. ‘Look! They’re back! Look!’ ” - Ted Hughes.

Timeline Photos

A couple of days ago I posted a pic with a caption asking “what is stopping you living as adventurously as wish to do? (Apart from Time and Money)”
I have been amazed by people’s candid, thoughtful comments and how the same issues rear their heads over and over.
I’d like your help with two things if you find this topic interesting and important.
1. Have a look at the comments in the original post (it’s the same pic as this one, just down a tiny bit in my feed). I had hoped to answer everyone but 160+ comments is a bit much. So if you have anything useful or helpful to reply to anyone’s issues, that would be valuable. It’s very useful to get a range of perspectives, and getting them from a stranger can give a clean insight.
2. Help me figure out what I should do with all this information! The two main issues that stop people having adventures are Time and Money (hence why I specifically excluded them here, yet you’ll notice they still crop up so often). I tried to tackle the time issue with my Microadventures book and the money issue with my Grand Adventures book. But many of the recurring themes in this thread feel more complex.
Thank you, as always, for taking the time to make social media such a positive, useful community for adventurous souls!

How to Improve your Email Newsletter - Alastair Humphreys

“How to Improve your Email Newsletter”

The Beautiful Struggle

You can never beat the mountains. And they would not care even if you could.
That's why I love them...

Good luck to everyone riding the Fred Whitton Challenge this weekend! Surely one of the most beautiful cycle challenges out there?
Here's my lame, slow effort at it to get you in the mood! (Full vid: https://vimeo.com/134119254 - I don't like to brag, but I've just watched it again, and it's really good!)

I am interested to find out what might be stopping you from living as adventurously as you wish to do (apart from time or money)?
Please would you share whatever it is so that I can try to look for any common themes and see if I can hatch a plan?

Timeline Photos

835 kind people answered my questions about how I could improve my email newsletter. I thought I'd share the results as it might be helpful if you run a newsletter yourself. Please do feel free to pass it on to anyone who might find it useful. http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/how-to-improve-an-email-newsletter/

The Beautiful Struggle

Please, would you be so kind as to subscribe to my YouTube adventure videos? Just one click, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62EvNYaIkGg/?sub_confirmation=1 Thank you!

Curry and Caves: a microadventure

Curry and Caves: a year ago today I had one of my favourite-ever nights sleeping somewhere daft. I also really love what Tomo talks about in this short film we made. Very important stuff:

Timeline Photos

Book editing is a brutal, full contact fight. Here’s the last page of my book. After 10 edits I thought it was finished. It is not. #PunchingMyselfInTheFace #NeedRedPenSponsor #BeerHelps

The Swiss Alps Trail and Peak Running Resource

If this does not make you want to go running (or walking, cycling, photographing, loafing) in the Alps then we are no longer friends:

Look Up

Look Up: I want to go to tree-climbing school! Nice film about screen addiction, and climbing blooming massive trees. https://buff.ly/2Fs2rEp 👍 (h/t @semi_rad)

Wild Baking Microadventure

Wild Baking Microadventure - this wonderful night in the woods, one year ago today:

Timeline Photos

So many good things: sleeping out on soft grass and clover; waking in the night under clear, bright stars (the mist just beginning to roll in and settle); an early morning swim in mirror-calm chilly water; bacon sandwiches and tea cooked on a beach fire etc. etc. These are the reasons we get out into nature. But I’ve chosen this photo to share because, boy oh boy, us humans are doing a fine job of screwing it all up. 10 minutes of picking up drifted plastic on the beach and all our bags were full, the beach still littered with fishing rubbish, drinks bottles, straws, coffee cups, lighters etc. #plastic

Timeline Photos

The calmest of all possible mornings, swimming out on the Marshes. The mist burned off at sunrise, leaving the skylark’s rising song, and the day’s heat already coming down. (If you don’t know what a skylark song is like, I urge you to have a listen here. The next time you are out in open countryside on a sunny day, it will fill you with joy to notice it, perhaps for the first time. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/skylark I love the way they hover so high whilst belting out their tune. They are amazing tiny athletes!)

What is Adventure? - Alastair Humphreys

What is Adventure? - my attempt at a definition.

An Interview with a Primary School

“The Year 3 pupils at Ely St John's Primary School asked me a bunch of good questions after reading my books about The Boy Who Biked the World (https://buff.ly/2JtBnXG).
I thought they might be interesting for other children of a similar age, too.”

Four seasons in the life of a Finnish island

“Four seasons in the life of a Finnish island”

Women Writing About the Wild: 25 Essential Authors

“Women Writing About the Wild: 25 Essential Authors”

Timeline Photos

May is THE best month in England.
Bluebells, leaves on trees, rivers warm enough for swimming, light mornings and evenings, FA Cup, and Test Match cricket.
Dare to disagree?

A River Raft Adventure

Wowzers - 740,000 views now for our River Raft Adventure film!

Национальные Тропы России

Oh wow, oh wow. If you are looking for an idea for an epic journey (using the word 'epic' appropriately for once), look no further than this website of "National Trails of the Russia" https://buff.ly/2K8ZZ9m. Russia is epic, hardcore, wild, beautiful, delightful & scary: perfect!

Timeline Photos

#ProAdventurerTip - it is ESSENTIAL to make sure your outfit will match the terrain you run through today. You’re welcome. 👊🏃‍♀️

The Turn-of-the-Century Pigeons That Photographed Earth from Above

Delightful: early aerial photography, by pigeons! (I checked that this was not a 1 April article). Just think how much we take aerial views for granted...

How to Choose Your Adventure. 36 Questions to Hatch a Plan... - Alastair Humphreys

“How to Choose Your Adventure. 36 Questions to Hatch a Plan…”

Timeline Photos

#tbt My business plan for life. The only one I’ve ever done.
The idea was to try to find out ways to turn what I loved, and what felt meaningful and purposeful, into a viable life. For me, that was keeping ‘Adventure’ loosely at the heart of all that I do.
I think this is *only* worth doing though if you enjoy, and can learn to become competent at, all the parts of the circle.
Merely “following your passion” is wishy-washy Instagram nonsense unless you’re rich enough to waft around like that.
I’ve managed, over 17 years (plus an initial 5 years of practice, saving, planning, learning) to make my circle viable by:
1. Doing a massive adventure (4 years). This gave me credibility, and stories to tell. {To my occasional horror, these are STILL my best stories, all these years later. 🤦‍♂️}
2. Living incredibly frugally for the years when my income was negligible. {4 years on savings of £7000, then a few years on the cheap as my schools’ speaking slowly picked up - my ‘National Express night bus years’}
3. Working obsessively on all the other aspects of the circle. {Often to the frustrating detriment of the original ‘Adventures’ which were supposed to be at the heart of all this.}
4. Self-promotion. {Cringy, distasteful, boring, competitive. But important. Scott and Shackleton were masters at it. I try to separate ‘Adventure Al’ from the real me so that I never start to believe my own bullshit. It is possible (and I *hope* I do this OK) to do this stuff without being a dick, without trampling others. It’s not a zero-sum game.)
Why don’t you have a go at drawing a similar circle for your own life? It might help you see where you need to simplify, amplify, or cut out some dead ends.
(The squiggly line from Online to Money is because I’m sure there *must* be some way to make cash from this internet malarkey, but I sure ain’t found it yet.)
I’d like @semi_rad to make a nicer-looking version of this!

Advice for Young People Dreaming of Adventure - Alastair Humphreys

Advice for Young People Dreaming of Adventure - words and video

Seth's Blog: The pleasure/happiness gap

“Scratching an itch is a route to pleasure. Learning to productively live with an itch is part of happiness.”

Timeline Photos

After 18 months writing my Spain book, I’m ripping up the structure and starting again. One page per chapter, covering the whole floor!
Cue caffeine and brain-explosion.... 🧠☕️💣

Timeline Photos

When it’s sunny, I ride. 🚲
When it’s rainy, I write. ✍️

Travel Is No Cure for the Mind - More To That

“Travel Is No Cure for the Mind”

Night of Adventure London 2018 - The Overlanding Family (The Snaith Family)

400 seconds of adventure. A short, sharp talk from the recent #NightOfAdventure event: “A family with two young children and a dream to explore the globe, by truck.”

Totally Tranquil