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A Journey Around Your Home

Last week I made a journey round my home. This microadventure was extremely easy to do. What surprised me about it was how rewarding, refreshing and enjoyable it was.

I stuffed a sleeping bag, bivvy bag, Thermarest and raincoat into a small bag. I grabbed my camera and walked out of my front door at 5pm. I didn’t even take a map: I could make-do with the map on my phone for this short trip. My aim was to make a loop of my home – completing a lap at a sufficient distance from my home so that I would compete the circle in the morning in time to get back to my desk for 9am. I walked out in a straight line until I reached the ‘edge’ of my cirle. And then I followed the circumference of that circle as closely as I could along roads and footpaths and byways.

Where you live, how you travel, how hard you want to push yourself: these factors all determine the radius of the circle you need to make.
I wanted to do this trip for a few reasons. It is cheap, logistically simple and if it suddenly begins to pour with rain you can just scamper home. I also felt that it was an excellent way to explore the wild places close to my home, to discover new places, and to travel through familiar places much more slowly than I might normally do.
Another great aspect of this idea is that you can repeat it without it becoming repetitive – just increasing or decreasing the size of your circle a little bit will give you a completely new journey.

Here are a few photos from my journey. It was a journey whose reward came from paying attention to the small details you might ordinarily miss or ignore. I wish that I had decided in advance to take a photo every -say- 30 minutes along the way. It shows how easy it is to get away from ugly, built-up environments out into more beautiful places. It was an opportunity to seek out tiny pockets of wildness and beauty in a pretty mundane environment. And I enjoyed it a lot. I hope you might try this yourself.

Wait

Dogs Are Banned

Dead Fox

Dead Roadent

Underpass

Aaron kissed Harry's Dad

Shed

They May Bite

Wheat

Gladiator

Sky

Coil

A night in a field

A night in a field

My first view upon waking this morning

A night in a field

In the morning I walk to complete my route. The sky darkens and a summer rainstorm busts suddenly down on me. I’m only about an hour away from home now so I make sure not to let the rain get me down. If you are able to persuade yourself to enjoy the rain then it can be a lovely feeling. The world feels raw and primordial as the rain plasters my hair and shirt. It is a warm morning. I feel calm and content. In an hour or so I’ll be showered, changed and back at my desk. What a peaceful, relaxing beginning to the day.

Perhaps you would like to give this a go yourself. School maths lessons may have been some time ago, so I’ll help you out with the formula:

2πr + 2r
where ‘r’ is the distance you must travel from home before beginning your circle.

Length of your journey (any unit) Distance from home (any unit)
8.28 1
16.56 2
24.84 3
33.13 4
41.41 5
49.69 6

Not only do you not have to travel far from home in order to tackle a long journey, I think you will be surprised by how much that is new you will discover during your journey…

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Comments

  1. Great idea Al. You should have GPS-ed it so we could see how close to a circle you managed!

    Reply
  2. I have used your website as inspiration to get a friend to go on a micro adventure in a couple of weeks. She has not sat on a bike for 20 years and I don’t think she has slept in a tent for longer than that but she now understands you don’t have to be superhuman, or able to climb K2 to have an adventure !

    Reply
  3. Rob Andrews Posted

    Hmm. Definitely going to do this one.

    First decision to make: Should I pick the radius THEN look at the map, or ‘cheat’ and make the radius fit where I want to go?

    Reply
  4. Alastair Posted

    I looked at it a 3rd way – “how long do I want the trip to take?”
    That then determined my radius and journey length.
    What’s interesting is that even doing it 3 miles from home it becomes a marathon-length trip.

    Reply
  5. I like it:-) is that really where you bivvy’ed? On the path in the middle of a cornfield? I’d be concerned about other walkers and combine harvesters! Or am I just over thinking it!?

    Reply
    • Alastair Posted

      Ha! Yes – it is where I slept.
      It wasn’t the path – just one of the tracks left by tractor tyres. The only possible risk was getting combine harvestered, but I thought that unlikely!

      Reply
  6. Lovely idea Al. Your thought about taking a picture every 30 minutes or so reminded me of Richard Long. He’s an artist who makes works by walking in landscapes. On the 24 hours and circle themes you might like A Sixty Minute Circle Walk on Dartmoor 1984 http://richardlong.org/Textworks/2011textworks/41.html and A continuous walk of 24 hours on Dartmoor http://richardlong.org/Textworks/2011textworks/40.html. His is a beautiful and dangerous website with much to distract and inspire!

    Reply
  7. That’s something to try. There are some hills and fields in the outskirts of my town, but I’ve always been a little afraid to try because they’re private. So I’d have to jump over a few fences to get there. But the idea is still in my mind. =D

    Reply
  8. Such a superb idea.. off to look at a map now. With a bank hols weekend coming up this couldn’t have come at a better time. Cheers!

    Reply
  9. Ju Lewis Posted

    I love this idea, our journey formula will need adjustment due to the sea taking up about 45 degrees of our circle…maybe a kayak?!

    Reply
  10. Another great idea Alastair! Its amazing what you can discover close to home. For example, on the way to work this morning I dropped by the local council recycling centre and got chatting to one of the guys who work there. He said he was going to start cycling to work and did I know whether he could take “that lane over there”. I wasn’t sure where the lane went, but with my curiosity piqued I cycled along it and discovered a new route to work.

    Reply
  11. Aaron kissed Harrys dad- absolute gold.

    Reply
  12. hi alastair,
    I discovered your circling journey via a friend on facebook. I like it and I am doing a project on similar ideas. have a look
    http://www.ewaeckerle.com/projectbox/JUNGLE-FEVER/

    Reply
  13. Love the idea of just crashing in the lines of a field. Very inconspicuous and well hidden! Another great article Alastair

    Reply
  14. Denise Posted

    Love the fact you took photos of signs/dead animals and random graffiti! My adventure circle would take me further into our city or into the sea! ha!

    Reply
  15. David Thomas Posted

    Hi, loved the book, and this IS the year I start bivvying in earnest.

    But for now I just did this in a morning. I found it excellent to be striding off following the compass rather than a map, or a road, or a track; it felt more adventurous than I had expected (Although I did find myself singing “Goldfinger” walking alongside a busy road…) – found some amazing places and saw known places through new eyes (normally I’m riding my bike, driving the car, or on the train – the slower pace changed everything)

    Because I am (too) obsessed with maps, and know lots of the routes, paths and tracks around where I live I tried not to use the map – but I couldn’t help but “track” it here https://www.strava.com/activities/864921750 – its not the perfect circle I was aiming for!

    So thanks for inspiration, loved this book.

    Reply

 
 

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