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£1000 Adventure

Beer Vouchers

Two things are responsible for quashing most dreams of adventure: time and money.

If you are short of time you must do one of the following:

If you are short of money you must do one of the following:

  • Earn more (without costing you more time)
  • Spend less
  • Get saving

But saving up enough money to -say- climb Mont Blanc or cycle to Timbuktu, is easier said than done. That’s where a genius little tip from a friend comes in. It is a brilliant motivating tool whether you dream of a solo journey or heading off with a friend.
Here, then, is a way to save up enough money to have a genuinely good adventure. It is simple, effective, quite painless and also gives you enough time

1. Start a new bank account. This is the only hassle of the whole plan. And it’s not much of a hassle at all. I set up a new account with Smile in under 15 minutes.

2. Set up a Standing Order from your main bank account to the new account. Each week transfer £20 to the new account. (If you can’t afford £20 a week even after cutting out your daily cup of coffee and a couple of beers here and there then choose a figure you can afford. Just don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing at all.) The important thing is to choose an amount that you can spare without much stress or worry.

3. Persuade a friend to do the same.

The hardest part is over. This is such a painless way to raise £1000 of money for your adventure in just one year. Now it is time for the second phase of the scheme:

4. Tell everyone that in one year’s time you are going to cycle to Sweden or run to Romania or hitch-hike to Hanoi.

5. You now have one year to sort out every aspect of the adventure (commitment, equipment, fitness, time off work).

I have set up this process myself now. I have no idea what I will be doing one year from now, but I like the fact that I have taken the first step towards making sure that boring old money will not prevent me doing a great trip next year.

Why don’t you do this yourself? Today. You might not know yet what adventure you would like to do with your £1000. But if you do know why don’t you make it public right now: commit to the plan in the comments section, and I’mll personally email you in a year to check up on your master plan.

My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now.
It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.
The book contains interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.

I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!

I would also be really thankful if you could share this link on social media with all your friends – It honestly would help me far more than you realise.

Thank you so much!

Grand Adventures Cover


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  1. Harry Gascoigne Posted

    Hi Alastair

    this post could not have been timed any better for me.

    im currently planning (mainly in my head and in a scrap book) to travel the full 220 mile route of the Severn from its Source to where it meets the sea in 7 days (Name idea: severn in seven) using different forms of man powered transport. i have been looking at dates in 2013. i aslo want to raise some money even though i have not chose a charity yet ahhhhh no wonder i have been putting off making this public! I keep saying its still in the early stages of planning but realise after reading this post im just making exscuses. So here it is my first public announcement of the Severn in Seven and heres hoping for a memorable adventure and that i can reply to your email with pictures of me completing it!

    also any advice, tips or ideas you could fire my way inbetween your busy schedule would be massivley appreciated

    cant wait to hear all about the quarter dessert and GOOD LUCK!

    Yours Anxiously


    a budding adventure

    • Its as soon as you start thinking thoughts, away from your original adventure ideas,this is when the excuses creep back in ,which can put you off doing any thing,and a further stage of procrastination sets in…just do it. I cycled across Cuba,I wasn’t a cyclist I didn’t even have a bike, but I found the hardest thing was telling the family this is what I was going to this is when the doubters start speaking up,which can put you off doing anything..I got “That’ll never happen” my brother even said too me ” Rather you than me”no other comments of support. So you just have to… JUST DO IT..even organise it all, than tell others what you are doing.You won’t regret doing it thats for sure,its a win ,win :0)

  2. Ive had a pack raft and foot traverse of Nicaragua. It’s secret and just an idea, but I may just make this my 1000 adventure. Oh wait. I guess it’s not a huge secret since now it’s on the Internet. Awesome post as usual al

  3. Wow… I’m scatter brained. I meant to say I’m thinking of a traverse of Nicaragua!

  4. It’s so true, we can always find £2.50 for a coffee, but never enough for a ticket somewhere amazing… Heading to Nepal this time next year… saving little and often…

  5. I’m in!
    I Don’t know what I’m doing, where I’m going or if I’ll be doing it with anyone. But at least I’ll have £1000 to do it with :o)
    Thanks Al.

  6. Another approach in times of “virtual money” could be following:
    1. set yourself a daily or weekly budget
    2. withdraw this money accordingly from your bank account on a weekly or even monthly basis
    This is just an idea to restore a certain feel for money while avoiding paying by card and at the same time keep an eye on your expenses. Budgeting is an essential part of travel and exploration. Doing so already while grinding days can add a hint of excitement to everday life as well and maybe increase the anticipation…
    Btw Al, I didn’t hear of “Escape the City” before and it sounds pretty interesting indeed!

  7. Challenge accepted!

  8. Andrew Dodds Posted

    Getting married followed by three weeks in New Zealand. That will be my big adventure for next year…

    £1000 will get you one hell of an adventure – plan small but think big. Will need to start thinking about 2015!

  9. Matt Stevens Posted

    I had a similar idea about 6 noths ago. Been saving up a small amount per week and in May im setting off on a 3-week motorcycle trip to Russia + Kazakhstan. Bit daunting as im only 21, but you only live once!

    • Alastair Posted

      Hi Matt, This is a great idea!
      You should contact my friend Joe Sheffer (he’s on Facebook) – he too did a big motorbike trip when he was 21.

  10. I’m in! Not sure where I’ll be heading, but I will begin my adventure in front of my door in southern Germany. Looking forward to your e-mail…

  11. The age-old excuses of time and money! I believe anything is possible with determination (which comes easily when it’s your passion). In 2012 I sold my kayaks, and with the 1000 pounds hitchhiked from the UK to the UAE. I’ve since decided to continue around the world; from Newfoundland to Mexico (£1400), then stopping to work for 5 months, reaching Ecuador in December (some jobs fell through so I left home with only £775… £5 per day all in! What a wild trip.
    I like what you’re doing here Alastair – simply put to get people out there.

  12. I’ve got two cycle tours planned for 2014, the first is from Venice to Nice via Switzerland over The Dolomites and The Alps, the second is from Barcelona to Bordeaux over The Pyrenees. The plan is to cycle over as many mountains as possible (managed 32 in 5 days in 2012). Both are self planned, self supported and both will cost less than £1,000.

  13. Emma-Jayne Cousins Posted

    I’m in!!!! Don’t know what this time next year but I am going to have a blast! Going to cycle from Portstewart to Cork and a few other micro adventures this year to build up. I had emailed Leon McCarron and he replied with inspiration and the advice of checking out your site. Rock on 2014!!!

  14. Wow, this is great – and I love how you met your partner through a friend of a friend. I have just worked two jobs to buy a laptop, camera and final cut and am now spending the next year saving any money I can for my next trip away. I always said that when I turn 30 I am leaving the UK and never coming back.. with four months to go this doesnt look viable so I am putting my time and money where my mouth is and making sure I leave before I am 31… Think I will begin travelling by train to Ho Chi Min City then god know where next…

    • Hi Hannah – I just noticed that your plan is essentially the same as mine but in reverse. Perhaps we could help each other out? We might end up costing paths in the middle of Asia…

      Alistair, week

  15. …Bloody tablet

    Alastair, is there any chance of a brief post on the nightmare circus of getting visas going from country to country overland? I find it to be one of the most off-putting things involved

    • Alastair Posted

      Hi Dafydd,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I use the Lonely Planet online forum (Thorn Tree) to get up to date visa info. There are no general rules as each country has different regulations. It is very tedious, I agree! I’ll add it to my “to do list” of blog posts.

  16. I absolutely love your website! Two days ago I decided I would cycle the world, I’m currently in Germany (originally Brazilian, lived in Oman, long story) learning German to (hopefully) start off mechanical engineering in September…but just the word “engineering” scares the life out of me, and the thought of having to go onto the 9-5 lifestyle from there is like a nightmare…so I figured I’d cycle the world, record it with a couple of cameras and publish the experience, giving companies exposure and getting sponsored for it, which would solve my issue of not having a job as I “should”.

    Then I realized how many people had already had my idea, and how getting sponsored appears to be much more stressful than it seems, and how sponsors don’t really seem to care much anyway. I was also lucky enough to find sites like yours and of other adventurers who all seem to agree that sponsorships are just an unnecessary stressful waste of time, so basically what has kept me at home these past few days is just my fear of “disappointing” my parents by not making the “right” decision of getting a college degree and a job and all that same old thing for every middle class 18 or 19 year old the world…

    My proficiency exam is in the end of April and I’m here until the end of June, which gives me at LEAST a full month to go do something around Europe, I was thinking of couch surfing eastern and Southern Europe at first (even before the bike trip idea) but that would still involve transport costs and now I figured “why not just bike it?” So my initial route will be Dresden-Prague, which seems to be quite easy and even somewhat popular, apparently you can even hire a tour guide to do it with you (at excruciating prices…but fair play to whoever that tour guide is for getting paid to bike such a beautiful route).

    Basically, I hope you don’t mind contacting me in less than the agreed on year, drop me a line in July or so and I hope to reply with pictures of the bohemian Switzerland and wherever else I went from there onwards, maybe Budapest, perhaps Vienna, I don’t know, I just want to be out there!

    Cheers, and all the best!

  17. Matthew Dowling Posted

    Hi Alastair
    My partner, Meg, and I are planning to leave my home Cape Town next year when she finishes her PHD (The Black Eagle Project) and to cycle, train, ferry and basically just push ourselves all the way through Africa back to her home in Cornwall, UK. We will be on a strict budget of probably the equivalent of 1000 pounds (maybe a few bob extra for a bike and visas). It is going to take a bit of creativity and a lot of discipline but I I know we can do it! Thinking of doing it for a cause (Raptor Research as per Meg’s PHD) but not sure if that is the correct approach…

    • Alastair Posted

      Sounds great!
      As for doing it “for a cause”…
      I’d do this if it GENUINELY is the reason for your trip.
      My trips are (selfishly) more for me than for the charity I support. So I always try to raise funds and awareness for my charity through my trips, but I don’t claim this is THE reason for the trip…



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