What is Adventure?
4 March 2021
Alastair Humphries is a man who loves adventure; he has had many extreme adventures in far-flung places across the globe over many years. Long before the pandemic, he committed to a year of microadventures. It was a challenge – could he find adventure in the UK and close to home. He was aiming to demonstrate that adventure is possible even in very short spaces of time and from your own door no matter where you live. Big expeditions to the other side of the world take time and money – something which many of us simply cannot afford. Alastair firmly believes that adventure is ‘a state of mind, a spirit of trying something new and leaving your comfort zone.’ It is about ‘enthusiasm, open-mindedness and curiosity. This means that adventure is not only crossing deserts and climbing mountains; adventure can be found everywhere, every day, and it is up to us to seek it out.’
We cannot go on huge adventures all the time – we have jobs and school and life get in the way. Pandemics prevent us from travelling. But, we can have microadventures. Beauty and wilderness are here in the UK, we do not need to fly halfway around the world. Adventure is about challenge, escapism, and fun. Adventure is about pushing yourself to your limits so anyone can have an adventure no matter their fitness level or experience in the outdoors.
A selection of Alastair Humphries’ microadventures:
- Get dropped off 20 miles from home and cycle home using only a compass (no map)
- Draw a circle on a map 2-3km around where you live and try to walk as closely as you can around that line.
- Swim/float/tube down a river (check no major rapids)
- Camp on a tiny island
- Cycle from the house where your dad grew up to the house where your mum grew up.
- Follow a river from source to sea (pick a short one)
- Build a wild shelter and sleep in it
- Cook a stew in a big pot over a fire in the woods
- Travel from summit to sea (Scafell to Seascale)
- Build a raft, float down the river Derwent and sleep in Millican Dalton’s cave in Borrowdale
- New Year’s Day swim in local tarn
After my children complained about another ‘long, boring walk’ I realised that we all need adventure more than ever during these times of national lockdown. I started to approach our daily exercise differently and tried to add in more adventure and fun to walks and bike rides. Here are some of my adventures that I did with my Primary aged children. Just small things to make life a little more fun and purposeful.
- made a rope swing in the local woods
- searched for sculptures in Grizedale
- used our hammock with sleeping bags and read a book outside on a very cold day
- biked to a shop for a bag of sweets
- made some biscuits for some friends and walked to deliver them
- learned to identify trees in winter by looking at the bark and leaf buds.
Although we will all be back in school soon, we still have quite a few weeks and months of various restrictions. Being outside helps my state of mind enormously. If my children and I have fun and connect with nature then it really boosts my mood. Creating small adventures can really help our mental health and how positive we feel about life. I also realised that adventures naturally link to the NHS mental health recommendations of connecting with others, be physically active, learn new skills, give to others, and pay attention to the present moment. Adventure is definitely good for you!
Year 5 and 6 were challenged to create their own nano-adventures – even smaller than a microadventure. The thing that I really noticed about their films, presentations, and photos was their massive smiles. I think that says volumes about the importance of adventure, challenge, and fun.
– Mrs Roberts