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Microadventure Reading List

Rob and my pile of reading books as we cycled through Japan

For anyone who has enjoyed the concept of microadventures and seeking out the extra-ordinary in the ordinary, here are a few books that may appeal.

Please add any other recommendations in the comments below.

(As an aside, the picture above is all the books that Rob and I were carrying as we cycled through northern Japan. Totally crazy!)

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Comments

  1. Call of the wild by Guy Grieve. Love this book, bit more than a microadventure though!

    Reply
  2. Ed Staffords Walking the Amazon because no matter how much you feel like you are in danger or suffering Eds book is a reminder it could be awhole lot worse and you’re probably alot safer and more comfortable than you thought you were. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Liz Hurley Posted

    Looking at your photo would you ever be tempted by a digital reader with a solar battery re-charger?

    Reply
  4. happy isles of oceania – paul theroux

    Hi, not a micro adventure but it does describe the joys of kayaking well.

    also, George Monbiot’s article on kayaking and fishing off the coast of wales is great:
    http://www.monbiot.com/2009/08/26/fishing-for-life/

    the miroadventure stuff is great al, empowering

    Reply
  5. How about Wild Thoughts from Wild Places by David Quammen? Great bite sized inspiration.

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  6. Oh and how great to see your pile of books. I thought we were bad with our pannier full plus files in the trailers, but now I feel normal. Took a Kindle last tour which cut down the weight but it’s not quite the same.

    Reply
  7. This is a great list of classics. Following your example, I have started packing 1 book per weekend long hiking for at least reading during three long rest times.

    The newly out ‘Following Atticus’ by Tom Ryan looks good for hiking and dog lovers, combining the two loves 🙂

    Reply
  8. John Muir, “My First Summer in the Sierra”. Each time he sets out alone with a loaf of bread tied to his belt, he’s on another of his microadventures into wonder. But, yeah, I still am not sure how one ties a loaf of bread to one’s belt, or how one lives off that for several days.

    Reply
  9. Most of my early adventures (and most of my current adventures this year) were micro adventures based around weekend spent “North of Balloch” i.e. oot of Glasgow. I left school at sixteen and started an engineering apprenticeship just before Thatcher used further education to keep the stats pretty. Two books which formed inspiration to a teenage boy escaping Glasgow were:

    Mountain Day & Bothy Nights – Ian Mitchell & Dave Brown
    Always a Little Further – Alistair Borthwick

    Similar stories a generation apart …

    Reply
  10. If you have not read it yet… possibly one of the best science fiction movies about exploration of the unknown: 2001: A Space Odyssey

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Ha, shows that I just woke up – the movie is good too, but I meant the book – Arthur C. Clark is an incredible man and all of his works are worth reading.

      Cheers

      Reply
  11. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon — his marriage fell apart so he got in his van and traveled around the “blue highways” on U.S. maps — avoiding main roads, and telling the stories of the people within. I loved it, and have tried to visit some of the places in the book.

    Jonathan Livingston Seagull, one of my all-time favorites. Short, easy but enlightening read.

    Reply
  12. Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
    A reminder to not end up out of your depth on your own.

    Reply
  13. Janneke Posted

    The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy – Douglas Adams !

    Reply
  14. ‘To build a fire’ by Jack London. Classic of my childhood! Short & ideal for a night under the stars

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  15. How about some of Ellen Meloy’s books? Anthropology of Turquoise might fit the bill.

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  16. Many of the books produced by the Pesda Press team are amazing for brilliant for short paddling trips…they are graded and assuming you know your limitations will get you far and wide!

    Reply
  17. Michèle Bartlett Posted

    “Round Ireland with a Fridge” by Tony Hawks .. a very silly (micro) adventure .. it will remind you that things could be worse because you could be travelling with a domestic appliance – even harder to take with you than a pile of books!

    Reply
  18. Claire Posted

    I’m so glad you put Hugh Symonds book in the list! Just a quick story then: I met Hugh and his wife Pauline absolutely by chance when I was riding LEJOG 5 years ago, we were looking for a place to put up our tent, we happened to knock on their door and they let us stay, offered us a shower, some wine, coffee etc… they told us they were keen cyclists and Hugh was into running but we had no idea that he was such a runner until we came back home and did a google search… We met up again 3 years ago when I was cycling through Yorkshire, and last september I met up with them for a week end: they were passing trough east of Paris on their way to Mongolia. They are in Bakou right now. Events like this are both wonderful and also make you think about fate and stuff like that…

    Reply
    • Alastair Posted

      I met Hugh in a similarly humble fashion. He came to one of my talks, said “I quite like running”. And that was all. It took someone else to point out to me that he was, in fact, a legend!

      (The empty tin always rattles loudest)

      Reply
  19. Very pleased to see Waterlog by Roger Deakin on the list, as it’s essentially a sequence of wild swimming microadventures. I recommend Wild Wood and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm also.

    Reply
  20. Not about bivvying/camping etc, but there’s a similar mindset in Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. Wherever he happens to be, just sticks on his running gear, and off he goes.

    Reply
  21. Mark Wallington ‘500 Mile Walkies’ – not micro, but brilliant bivvying in all sorts of out of the way places around the best coast path in the UK…

    Reply
  22. The ultimate adventure we all need 😉
    “How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art” Kathleen Meyer

    Reply
  23. I love ‘Walking Home’ by Simon Armitage. It’s very poetic, unsurprisingly. About walking the Pennine Way.

    Also ‘The Soles of my Shoes’ by David Charles is worth a look – hitch hiking to Ben Nevis!

    Reply
  24. Not a narrative but still someone who gets you to look at life anew in a few poignant panels. I would have to recommend the cartoons of Michael Leunig for inspiring me to step away from the everyday and seek unequalled truth in nature.

    Reply
  25. ‘Just a little run around the world’ by Rosie Swale Pope. Not a micro adventure granted, but Rosie proves that anyone, any age, can go on an adventure – very inspiring!

    Reply
  26. Martin Posted

    obviously, Moods of Future Joys, Thunder & Sunshine and There Are Other Rivers 🙂 All Brilliant Books!

    My son recommends The Boy Who Biked the World – he loved it

    Also, You’ve gone too far this time sir by Danny Bent

    Reply
  27. James Smith Posted

    As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. His local pub in Slad is worth a visit too!

    Reply
  28. Lizzie Posted

    Tales from nowhere, was published by Lonely Planet and is a series of beautiful stories about people on great adventures, who had even more thought-provoking experiences when they got lost, stranded or strayed somehow off course…they could definitely be termed microadventures

    Reply
  29. ‘Travels with Boogie’ by Mark Wallington; ‘Four Corners, a Journey into the heart of Papua New Guinea’ and ‘The Cruellest Journey, 600 miles in a canoe to the legendary city of Timbuktu’ both by Kira Salak; ‘Chile, travels in a thin country’ by Sara Wheeler; and ‘Two feet, four paws – walking the coastline of Britain’ by Spud Talbot-ponsonby’. Spud’s book means all the more as she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after she finished the walk, and is sadly no longer with us.

    Reply
  30. The Book of the Bivvy – Ronald Turnbull

    Reply
  31. Simon Hodgson Posted

    Swallows and Amazon’s?

    Reply
  32. Just a Little Run Around the World (Rosie Swale Pope) is a truly inspiring book. She ran 20,000 miles around the world in memory of her husband, enduring the freezing Siberian winters. Definitely worth a read!

    Reply
  33. Kate Moody Posted

    Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities.
    Dominic Gill

    Reply
  34. Garry Cochrane Posted

    How about A Teacup in a Storm, by Mick Conefrey just because it contains this quote “A good laugh doesn’t require any additional weight but counts for so much on any expedition.” Ernest Shackleton

    Reply
  35. Considering that most people today are if not filming, then at least taking loads of photographs while being out there, I would add the cassilc “Galen Rowell’s Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography”.

    And maybe pretty much all of Gallen’s adventure books!

    Reply
  36. Not a book, but a blog post.

    My Skate of Mind http://www.rotub.me/blog/my-skate-of-mind.html

    Reply
  37. Chris Mac Posted

    Unbroken

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  38. Misadventure in the Middle East is a favourite of mine. Not a microadventure, but definitely inspirational.

    Reply
  39. joe holbrough Posted

    The Hills are Stuffed with Swedish Girls by Richard Happer

    Reply
  40. Todd Baker Posted

    The Geography of Bliss- by Eric Weiner. Both macro and micro…

    Reply
  41. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – brilliant story about a college graduate who decided to literally walk away from his life

    Reply
  42. Sam Clifford Posted

    Seven years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer – a slightly extended microadventure!!!

    Reply
  43. Based upon this blog I have now purchased The Gentle art of Tramping, and will be reading it whilst I walk the Moray Coast Trail next weekend.

    Reply
  44. “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau…or for an extended adventure “Walden” by the same writer. Love these books – read them over and over.

    Reply
  45. “The Call of the Mountains” by Max Landsberg – 140 microadventures in Scotland if you like mountains!
    .
    (Shameless plug, but …“This book quickly drew me in. These journeys are precisely depicted through the author’s perceptive eye for detail and his obvious passion for the outdoors.” – STEVE FALLON, mountain guide and record-holder for completing all the Munros 15 times)

    Reply
  46. How about “Extreme Sleeps” by Phoebe Smith? I thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually read her first and then found out about your adventures through Mike Sowden – no doubt she was influenced by your #microadventures

    Reply
  47. Read “The Wild Places” (and “The Old Ways”) and “Waterlog” last year whilst using my weekends to ride in different parts of the UK. Have made a note of the rest in your list.

    Another book that I really enjoyed was Kathleen Jamie’s “Sightlines” which had a beautiful mix of adventures, some incredibly close to home. “Findings” is also great. Currently dipping in and out of collections of Thoreau and Edward Thomas.

    Saw someone mentioned Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”, thoroughly enjoyed that book. I need to re-read it.

    Reply
  48. Helen Weatherell Posted

    “He was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all”
    ― Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach.
    Sit on a cliff top and watch them fly below you with a new understanding.

    Reply
  49. The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs – by Tristan Gooley. It’s a great read to better learn how to read and understand any type of landscape. Provides precious tips on tracking and navigation, geology and flora. I’m going to apply some of the tips to our family hikes and see how my girls like it. They’re suckers for themed hikes and I can see a treasure hunt based on the book.

    Reply
  50. South. The story of Shackleton.

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  51. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.Also No fixed abode by Charlie Carroll.

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  52. Edward Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’ is, if not precisely a record of micro-adventures, then it certainly has that spirit. Others have already referred to Paul Theroux, but he certainly does have that grasp of ‘whatever happens’ is the adventure itself.

    Reply
  53. My bigger pile (on the right) is nicely in line with my superior intellect (or perhaps indicates my utter foolishness)

    Reply
  54. Oh yes, and there’s the book ‘River’: One Man’s Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea—byColin Fletcher (a fellow Brit, Alastair—a Welshman I believe). And then there’s his two earlier books ‘The Thousand Mile Summer’, about his solo hike from Mexico to Oregon; and his more known book ‘The Man Who Walked Through Time’ about a single, continuous, walk from one end of Grand Canyon Park to the other. Neither are true ‘micro-adventures’, but, they are such great reads that I include them here anyway.

    Reply
    • Alastair Posted

      I enjoyed The Man Who Walked Through Time.

      Reply
      • I highly recommend Fletcher’s book ‘River.’ I just finished re-reading it today, for perhaps the third time, and it was such a pleasure. So well written and thoughtful. Going to re-read (once again) Edward Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire.’ When a book is good, it’s worth re-reading!

        Reply
  55. Rachel Posted

    ‘Tracks’ by Robyn Davidson…epic walk and a good read

    Reply
  56. The Winds Of Mara, is another book by Colin Fletcher that I found very interesting. It’s about a series of jaunts he took in Africa.

    Reply

 
 

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