On Being More (Micro) Adventurous

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The pic above shows my cousin Conor on the way to the bottom of Mount Brandon. Don't be fooled by his beard, he suffered as much as the rest of us.

15 minutes into a 4 hour mountain ascent/descent I found myself exhausted, breathless, and regretting my decision to bring 4 litres of water in my backpack. I was in the lead group and sat on a flat rock to catch my breath. As my breathing slowed I looked down the steep incline and was sure some of the heavier, slower guys in our group wouldn’t finish even this stage of the climb. At several later stages during the ascent I was sure I wouldn’t finish.  I imagine every one of the 25 or so of us had moments like these during the day but the joy of adventuring is that you do things you never knew you were capable of.  We all finished in the end and I’ll write about it in more detail some other day. Mount Brandon didn’t defeat me, if anything, it made me feel momentarily invincible.

Upset Your Routine

Years ago, on the Sean Moncrieff radio show, I heard an expert on happiness (they exist) saying that one of the keys to adult happiness is breaking routines. They spoke about the advantages of taking different routes to and from work, cooking new meals for dinner, reading a book instead of watching tv etc. It made sense to me even though the only thing that’s stuck is the route variation when driving to and from work.

This upsetting of routine was part of my rationale for starting the 30 Days Challenges. One of my dilemmas is that I rarely experience new things. It’s not that I’m stuck in a rut or frequently unhappy but I find myself sleepwalking through life for months on end. Not recently. In the last 4 months I’ve broken into underground railway tunnels, climbed mountains, jazz danced (kind of), created street art, swam under a fool moon, ran every day for a month, and a few other things. Mid-life crisis? No, mid-life awakening.

“…one of those places seen from the train that belong to a life in which we shall never take part.” A Ransome


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Alastair Humphreys coined the media friendly term #microadventure and I’m doing my first Humphreys inspired jaunt next week. It’s part of his 5-9 series of adventures that you start after work on one day and finish in time for work the next day. I’m meeting friends after work nest Tuesday at Tara St DART station, getting on a train, getting off at the last stop, hiking a few miles, camping for the night, getting up, hiking, train, cycle, drive the kids to school. Doesn’t that sound brilliant? I can’t wait for it even though I know I’ll hardly get a bit of sleep.

Humphrey’s book, microadventures, arrived in the post this week and I read it in a sitting. It’s a call to arms to investigate the world around you. His adventures range from the extremely simple (walk your commute) to the more challenging (coast to coast cycling) but he describes them all with such warmth, optimism, and enthusiasm that you want him to be your friend. Or come on your podcast. His PR refused but I won’t give up that easily.

Humphrey’s TED talk explains brilliantly what he does. Enjoy. Dave

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