I’m an adventurer. No, make that an “Adventurer”, with a Capital A.
It must be true – it says so on my business card. That’s pretty cool.
Sometimes, when I meet new people, I describe myself to them as an Adventurer. Generally I do this when I’m trying to…
- Impress a girl
- Blag something for free
- Get out of trouble
In fact, those are the only times I describe myself in this way. It’s a bit embarrassing at all other times. Why is it embarrassing?
- I’m quite shy and I don’t like the barrage of questions that inevitably follow me telling people I’m an Adventurer (Capital A).
- I get really bored of talking about my trips (unless someone pays me to talk – more on this later…)
- I feel a total fraud.
But, although this stuff is supposedly my job, I don’t actually spend much time hanging from cliffs with mud smeared on my face and a knife between my teeth.
Mostly my life is quite boring, repetitive and annoying. It is, in other words, exactly the sort of job I thought I was heroically fleeing from when I turned my back on conventional employment. (You might enjoy Tom Allen’s post on this topic, too.)
It’s foolish to imagine that any job is 100% pure bliss. Every job has boring bits in it. (Great post on the “Do What You Love” myth here.)
But I want to share with you what I’ve been doing this week. Hopefully it will remind you of a few things, including:
- Every time you see an envy-inducing “adventure” story or photo online, remember it’s just the tip of the iceberg. That person has probably put in vast amounts of boring computer and commuter hours in order to make that brief adventure moment happen, stick it up on the internet, and make you jealous.
- It takes a massive amount of desk work to turn adventure into a career (though this is sometimes replaced by luck, genius, wealth or beauty).
- The next time you go see an Adventurer doing a talk on a big stage with bright lights and epic photos and lots of nice applause, remember that by the time you are back home tucked up in bed they are still driving catatonically down a motorway towards their next talk, fuelled by nasty service station food, with a box of books in the boot that they’re really hoping to flog by the end of the week as they are sick of carrying them from car to stage to car to stage.
I am an Adventurer (Capital A). This week I have mostly been…
- Taking my kids to school. Putting my kids to bed.
- Building PowerPoint presentations, booking train tickets, fighting off spammy press releases and people trying to steal my time.
- Fretting about tax returns.
- Cursing over Excel spreadsheets (see 3) for hours and wanting to punch myself in the face for light relief.
- Going to the gym for an hour because I’m too “busy” to run up some hills or ride my bike for a few hours. Checking emails in between deadlift sets.
- Driving up and down the M1 / 4/ 3 / 6 / 25 incessantly. Running for trains. Waiting for trains.
- Eating crap service station food at vastly-inflated prices.
- Drinking coffee by the gallon to stay awake (see 3 and 6). Gobbling Haribos (the fizzy ones). I’m so weak-willed that I have to chuck the packet into the back of the car where I can’t reach it to stop myself chain-eating them till my teeth hurt.
- Giving presentations to earn money (see 3) about all the great adventures I have all the time.
- Hoping to flog books at the end, then loading up my car with all the unsold books to try my luck again tomorrow night.
- Getting home at 2am after 17 hours on the road in order to commence Point 1 again.
In other words my job is pretty much the same as loads of people’s jobs!
And I absolutely love it (most of the time). I’m definitely not moaning here. I’m my own boss. I make my choices. I set my standards. I often work in my pants (except during Point 9 above). There’s a lot to be said for the satisfaction of earning your successes, and for really, really appreciating the times I do get to be out in the wild having the adventures I love and which drive everything else.
This post was supposed to be much wittier than it has turned out to be. Turns out that a day of Excel has sucked all the funniness out of me. Sorry!