I wrote this blog post with the intention of it being very short. It's now rather long. Sorry. If you don't want to read it all, here's a summary:
For the month of October I am endeavouring to do one 'adventurous' thing every day. I won't be on expedition. In fact, I'll mostly be sat at my desk in London, so the adventures will be small - bite-size chunks of new experiences, snatched in the moments in and around my normal working life. The goal is to challenge myself (even in just a very small way) mentally or physically on a daily basis, in an attempt to lead a more adventurous and fulfilling life. An attempt to feel more alive.
If you want to read more, here goes...
I've recently spent a lot of time pondering the term 'adventure.' It's quite a funny word, really. I use it far too much. I use it as a catch-all term to summarise both my hobby and my job. I read, write, or say the word 'adventure' so many times each day that it begins to lose meaning. When it loses meaning, I wonder if it also loses impact.
Adventure (there it is again) is extremely subjective, and means a lot of things to a lot of people. I could fill pages and pages of this blog about what others have said and thought about it (I won't.) Instead I will only tell you very briefly about the conclusion I've reached.
I know that the big expeditions I've been on are adventurous. Expeditions are great. But I can't be away all the time, and I struggle to find the same buzz in 'normal' life. On the surface I suppose the reason is quite obvious - my normal life at home in London is a lot more dull, predictable and easy than an expedition. I am challenged less, and thus find myself unsettled more. So what to do about this? Well, it makes sense to seek a way to find the spirit of adventure even when I'm stuck at my desk. Alastair Humphreys offers a great solution through his microadventure project - simple, small adventures, close to home. This is a fantastic concept for getting adventure into our daily lives, despite the pressures and stresses of everything else that might be going on around us.
And that is what it comes down to, I reckon - putting a bit of 'adventure' into every single day.
Until recently, I was a little narrow in my vision. I was making the mistake of associating adventure with the big trips, the new experiences in wild places, the physical journeys into the the depths of the unknown. It is all of this, of course, but it is also much, much more. The revelation I reached is that 'Adventure' is better viewed in a much more holistic fashion; as a way of living, even - it should be as simple as a seeking of new experiences. It is a decision; choosing to eschew the easy option and instead follow the challenging, uncertain but ultimately more rewarding course. Making that decision time and time again is the basis of a very exciting and adventurous life, in theory, whether in a busy city environment or alone in some remote jungle. The particular brand of contentment, reward and fulfilment that accompanies overcoming big challenges cannot be found on the comfortable path (the easy option.) Therefore I'd argue adventure is important (essential, perhaps) and the more we have of it, the better.
There is no reason why I can't live adventurously every day. I live in London, a concrete jungle. I spend most days sat at my desk pecking away at a computer. I have bills to pay, meetings to attend and emails to send. But there is no reason why I can't live adventurously every day.
That is the purpose of this project. For the month of October, I will endeavour to do (at least) one adventurous thing eveny day. It will not be skydiving, and it is unlikely to be setting off into some wild desert. Most of my daily adventures will be very small, very simple - things I haven't done before. Tiny new experiences designed to expand my horizons. Some I hope will workout my brain (taking a language class, learning a new skill, reading a book in a day) and others
I hope will push me physically (running here, cycling there, jumping, crawling, kayaking, walking etc.)
I don't know what each day's adventure will be - that would ruin much of the fun.
Think of it along the lines of Eleanor Roosevelt's immortal call to arms: "Do one thing every day that scares you." I can't promise to be scared but I hope at least to have a good time and force myself out of lethargy and apathy. I'm putting this in the public domain for partially selfish reasons - it's all to easy to sleep through the alarm and skip the early morning run, or blow off an evening Chinese lesson blaming tiredness. I hope you'll forgive the indulgence of sharing this all in an effort to force myself into success!
I will post one photo each day of what I have done on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. At the end of each week I'll collate everything in a blog post.
The adventure starts here...