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Grand Adventures

My new book, Grand Adventures, is out now. Here is the introduction chapter to the book. I hope you like it.

It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore.

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

Everyone loves adventure. Book shops have bulging travel sections. Adventure film festivals are springing up all over the world. The web groans with exciting expedition blogs. I love adventure so much that I turned it into my job: I am a professional adventurer. It says as much on my business card, so it must be true. (Never mind that I designed them myself in one of my many procrastinating-from-book-writing mornings.)

I write books, give talks and make films about the adventures I’ve done. Enough people enjoy hearing these stories for me to be able to earn a living from them.

More people read about my adventures than go on big trips themselves. This book aims to help those readers (you!) realise that grand adventures are within your grasp, and that you can begin taking the steps necessary to make them happen for you, too.

Why settle for reading about adventures when you could be out in the wild yourself doing them?

Many of my best friends are also adventurers. They’ve climbed great mountains, trekked to the Poles, exciting stuff like that. These are special experiences, and I love sitting in the pub with my adventurous friends, sharing increasingly far-fetched tales as last orders approaches.

But here’s an important thing: I know these guys and girls well enough to see that they are not particularly special people. They are ordinary people. But they do things that many people deem to be more than ordinary, even extra-ordinary. Being an adventurer is not a genetic gift. I know, for example, that I certainly am not brave, strong or athletic, yet I claim to be an adventurer. Usain Bolt was born fast. Albert Einstein was born brainy. Living adventurously, however, is not much more than a choice.

When I left university I made the choice to make the best I could of my abilities and resources and see how far I could ride my bike. I didn’t have a fancy bike. I didn’t ride fast. I didn’t spend much money. I got lost a lot. I napped under trees. I carried a bicycle repair book with me everywhere I went as because I had little idea about bottom brackets or rear derailleurs. I spent spent £7000 on the whole trip. I did not choose to do it on such a shoestring. I just preferred to get going and make it happen rather than risk delaying and never beginning. Four years of banana sandwiches was a small price to pay for eking out my money into four years of memories.

And yet I eventually succeeded in cycling the whole way round the world.

When people dream of adventure they are generally not discouraged by the difficulties of the journey itself. Extremes of heat and cold; basic and uncomfortable conditions; the physical and mental struggle: these are actually often part of the appeal! The struggle, many of us feel, is preferable to boring routine.

So what is it that actually gets in the way, if not the hazards of the wild? Why do lots of people dream of adventure and enjoy reading about it but not many actually get out there and do it?

I didn’t think that it could be explained by a lack of practical skills, fitness or equipment. It’s not as concrete as that. What inhibits most people are the mental barriers in their head: it’s too hard, too scary, too uncertain…

Through this blog I began asking for examples of what stood between people and the adventures they yearned of. From around 2000 answers that I received, here are the top five most common issues:

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Family / partners / other commitments
  4. Fear of doing it
  5. Society pressure

I found it fascinating that nobody at all mentioned the worry of falling down a crevasse or getting eaten by a tiger. The greatest obstacles to adventure all seem to lie before the journey even begins.

In other words, getting to the start line is the hardest part of all!

Dodging snakes, paddling rapids, tying a bowline, pitching a tent in a gale: all this stuff is so much easier than getting off the sofa, committing to action, and beginning. What’s more, the practical preparations for launching a journey are also far easier than mustering the cojones to commit in the first place, to make the adventure happen, to do something difficult and daunting and daring with your life.

There is a lovely Norwegian phrase which translates into “the Doorstep Mile”. The Doorstep Mile refers to how hard it is to begin something, how hard it is to get out your front door and commit to action. This book helps you tackle the Doorstep Mile.

Do you dream of having a massive adventure but find it hard to see how you will ever get the chance to do it? Do you long to explore the world but don’t know how to begin? Do you look enviously at other people’s trips but think it’s not what “people like you” get to do? If so, this book is for you!

The goal of this book is to help you commit to begin planning your dream adventure, to get you in motion. That’s all. After that, the rest is easy – and up to you.

This book helps shines a spotlight on what it is that is getting in the way of you having the most amazing, life-changing, career-enhancing, personality-forging, memory-making adventure of your life.

If you really, truly want to experience a big adventure, then you can do it. You can do it. You can.

Grand Adventures looks at the obstacles that are stopping you and shows you that there are ways round them, if you choose to do it. Will you?

I spent an enjoyable intriguing year interviewing many adventurers for this book, seeking hard-won wisdom from people who have been there and done the kind of trips we all dream of. They’ve done it all: Everest, the North and South Poles, the Amazon and Sahara, all seven continents, the oceans, and even going up to space!

All of them took that huge step once of committing to their first adventure. They know how it feels. I hope that you will take inspiration from them because they were once just like you: itching to hit the road but nervous about how to make it happen. Everyone has their first adventure.

There are stories from men and women who have travelled by boat and boot, car and kayak, bicycle and motorbike, homemade raft and hi-tech spaceship. People who had one great trip then returned to normal life. Those who got bitten so bad by the bug that they devoted their life to the pursuit of adventure. There’s youngsters, old folks, men, women, mates, couples, families, fit, fat or disabled. Extraordinary, inspiring people. People like you.

The only thing that stands between you dreaming of adventure and you being an adventurer, is committing to it.

Together, we’ll show you that, whether it’s cycling to the Sahara, walking across Australia, or rafting the Amazon, the longest journeys really do all begin with a single step.

They are, in fact, nothing more than lots of tiny, easy steps.

Tiny, yes; easy, yes. But you’ve still gotta take ‘em.

Let’s begin.

My new book, Grand Adventures, answers many questions such as this. It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore. There are also 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. Tracy Kepple Posted

    I just heard Alastair speak at a hospital conference in Squaw Valley. He was exceptional! His honesty, humor and true stories of taking the risk to go out and adventure…was inspiring! I didn’t even know he had just written this new book “Grand Adventures”…actually, I had never heard of him before! I do remember hearing about the crazy guy who cycled around the world… But I will go and find this book. Best motivational speaker I’ve heard in years!
    Yes, the hardest part IS getting across your doorstep!
    Bravo Alastair!
    Besides, he even took the risk to play the violin for us all…!



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