How to use this podcast
Would you like to have more unusual, exciting or daring experiences? To be willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences? I know that I would.Are you looking to make some changes in your life: to get outside more, be a bit bolder with your business, take up a new challenge or get more ‘life’ in your work-life balance? This is not a podcast about jacking it all in to launch a yoga retreat in Bali or magicking up the funding for a swanky start-up with free beer and hipster beards. Glittery though those dreams are, I’m guessing you’re more likely to be in the shove-aside-the-dirty-cereal-bowls-to-use-your-laptop demographic. Someone snatching ten minutes of yoga in front of the telly while your baby is sleeping, your good intentions hampered by busy days and limited budgets. Perhaps you have the restless, gnawing feeling that although your life’s pretty good in the grand scheme of things, a little more pazaz certainly wouldn’t hurt. In other words, you’re probably like me, casting around for some pragmatic idealism and a few ways to sprinkle a bit more adventure into the margins of your days. (If, however, you do make it to Bali or the FTSE 100, please don’t forget little old me…)I am not demanding an unrealistic revolution in your life, urging you to climb K2 in your pants. Instead, I am encouraging you to begin something small because it makes you happier or sets you moving in a better direction. Doing something small today – and then again tomorrow – is the best way to move towards your aspirations. It also builds a mindset that considers big things to be plausible. Besides, let’s not beat ourselves up if ‘all’ that we achieve is to become more curious, kind and enthusiastic.I describe myself as an ‘Adventurer’. It is a ridiculous job description for a middle-aged adult, I know. I have travelled on six continents, mostly by bike, boat or boot, and written various books along the way. Adventure is my career, my hobby and my biggest passion. My commute is a walk across the grass to a book-filled shed with good coffee and my choice of music all day. I earn my living by telling stories from beautiful wild places. I love all of this, and I know that I am a lucky man. There is nothing more toe-curling than a humble-bragging self-help book. So let me add a little more detail to the social media version of my life I’ve just painted. I often feel frustrated by the limitations of time, geography and patience. The excess of admin and chores. The mad hamster wheel of childcare. By thwarted dreams and pathetic procrastination. And therefore, jumbled up amongst my shed days, the trips to the mountains, the daily routine and jumping into rivers with my kids, is a yearning to do a bit more with my life. To, at the very least, strive for more interest and purpose. To figure out which of my many dreams to pick first and then be brave enough to follow that rather than convention.I want to take responsibility for all of this rather than hide behind excuses and end-of-day weariness. There are easier ways to live than this. But I do not want an easy life. I am starkly aware that my time is finite. I want to avoid regrets and the drift of decades, even if all I manage some days is stepping away from the email onslaught for 20 minutes to climb a tree. I am not just living for the weekend as I hear so many people sigh at the school gates. I have fewer than 2000 Mondays left to live. I want to make the most of them, not just tick them off!I initially sat down to write this book in an attempt to assess my own life. I wanted to measure my progress and unravel how I can live more adventurously amongst the obligations of life and the ever-changing shift of priorities and purpose. I hope that it might spark a fire for you as well and that our paths intersect somewhere along the way.There is no science or deep wisdom in these pages. Like most self-help narratives the whole book could happily be distilled to a page, a paragraph, or a phrase. In this case: dream big, start small. That is how I turn wishful daydreaming into actual action. In fact, you should probably just read the chapters about the Doorstep Mile and the Death Clock, then give this book to a friend and get started!There are countless specialist books, written by experts, about 10,000 hours this or 4-hour that, atomic goals and smart habits. My writing has nothing new to say. I would go as far as to say that you already know everything I have written, if only deep down. We all know this stuff; we just don’t always do it.All that I have to offer is a gentle, polite kick up the backside to help you step out the front door and begin. To go to your shed and do the work. If you merely lay this book aside after finishing it and think, ‘that was nice’ then I have failed, we are both wasting our time and I owe you a refund. But if you answer the questions at the end of each chapter honestly, I hope my money will be safe. My dream is that you read this book thinking, ‘yes, I knew that. Yes, that makes sense. Yes, I could and should do that. Yes, I want to do that. Yes, I am going to do that today!’Cajoling ourselves to live more adventurously is not easy. We might like the idea but face many barriers and excuses. For some of us, money’s the problem. For others, it is time we lack. The one universal hindrance is that we are all afraid of making change happen.We know we should eat some quinoa but reach for the cookie instead. We know we want our work to have meaning and our personal lives to have purpose. We know all this stuff. We can easily advise someone in the pub what they should do with their life. We know it, but we struggle to make it happen. It is not easy to embrace the discomfort and decide that today is the day to start. To ask yourself whether it is ‘one day’ or ‘Day One’.Over years of intelligent, philosophical reflection, I have concluded that living adventurously is a similar challenge to going skinny dipping. The idea sounds exciting, but it can be daunting to do.Are you ready to strip off and jump in?
Over to youBeginning an adventure can be overwhelming, but pausing to gather your thoughts might help get you moving. Of course it would be beneficial if you reflected deeply, but I’m a realist. I know you’ll be checking Instagram within minutes! So I’ll settle for asking you to give each chapter 30 seconds of thought. Grab a notebook and scribble a few ideas. After all, reading a book is not the same as using one…- Why do you want to live more adventurously? Think about your motivations rather than considering specific activities.- What is the most significant change you would like to make in your life?- What barriers stand in your way?