Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

fred whitton

Finding Time for Adventure


If you are in the fortunate position of being able to even dream of undertaking a big adventure, getting hold of £1000 may not be the biggest hurdle. After all, it’s less money than many holidays, kitchen upgrades, wedding dresses or flatscreen TVs cost. But not many people have both plenty of money and plenty of time (at least not whilst they are still young enough to climb Rum Doodle without their knees hurting).

For many, the scarcest resource in their life is time. That is why I wrote Microadventures, a book about squeezing local adventures into the confines of real life. Microadventures challenge you to look at how you spend the 24 hours you have each day, and to try to re-prioritise things a little bit.

But grand adventures require more than 24 hours. If you’re yearning to cross a continent, chasing the days west until the sun sets into the ocean before you, then you’ll somehow need to find a bigger chunk of time. And there is never an easy time to find that chunk of time. Too many people dream of travelling when they retire, and . This sentiment always makes me sad. The actor Brandon Lee’s grave is inscribed with these words:

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless’¦”

Have a look at It’s one of my favourite websites. You add various parameters about your life (age, weight, gender, whether you smoke) and it will calculate the date you are likely to die. A big, unstoppable clock counts down the remaining seconds of your life.

I have the date of my predicted death scheduled into my diary. Morbid, perhaps, but it takes deadlines to spur most of us into action, and that non-extendable deadline scares the hell out of me. I have so much I want to get done before 8 September 8th, 2050’¦

Life, they say, is what happens while you’re busy making plans. Time is ticking, life is short. These days everyone is busy. We’re racing time, always chasing time all the time. Bragging about how busy we are is one of our era’s favourite things to do. But, as the pithy viral Tweet said, ‘We all have the same 24 hours that Beyonce has.’ It’s up to us to carve out time to make bootylicious stuff happen.

When I was younger I would simply think of a trip, then go and do it. Not any more. Now that I’mm older and busier it’s more often a case of making a chunk of time available and then coming up with a plan that fits into that time slot.

There is no simple solution to making more time. I can’t solve your the lack-of-time conundrum. But I might get you excited enough to resolve to solve it yourself. To begin the conversations with the people in your life – your family, your boss, yourself – about ways by which how it might be possible to pause the racing rhythm of daily life for long enough to do something different and really memorable.

After all, each hour that passes, each rush hour commute, each bleary Monday morning, each neglected New Year’s resolution – these are hours on the hamster wheel that you have spent and will never, ever be able to recoup or spend again. So spend them wisely.

One of my favourite feelings when I am away on expeditions is how much time I have. I don’t have more time, of course, I’mve just freed it up to do stuff that feels important to me. I wake up at dawn, the diary is empty and the day stretches long before me. I drink tea and watch the sun rise. All I need to do today is make some miles. And then I will sit, weary but satisfied, in some place I have never been before, and watch the sun set.

When I’mm away on trips I am not busy, but my days are full and fulfilling. I cherish spending that time. At home my days feel too short, too hurried, too busy. Yet at the end of most of them I’mve accomplished nothing really memorable. What a waste!

I hope I can persuade you to find a way to find time. I can’t do it for you. I can only urge you to fill your days with what feels important and worthwhile to you, not with the stuff that conventional society deems you ought to be doing, or with stuff that might be easy and uncomplicated but is not meaningful and rewarding in the long run.

You might also find these posts useful

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


Thank you to the many people who have kindly “bought me a coffee” for just £2.50 as encouragement to keep this blog going.

“Yes, I too would like to donate a couple of pounds to this site..!”


To join 33,000 wise, beautiful, heroic people who receive my occasional newsletter, simply add your email address here:

You can opt out of receiving the newsletter at any time and I will not pass your details on to any other party.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? What have I forgotten or got wrong? Please have your say in the comments below…

Read Comments

You might also like

No image found On Sunday night I am excited to go back to work on Monday morning – Living Adventurously 11 Jon Barton is the founder of Vertebrate Publishing. It sits at the very heart of British adventure writing and outdoor sports. Jon says that “we publish books to inspire adventure. It’s our rule that the only books we publish are […]...
No image found Inviting you on a Winter Microadventure It’s cold. It’s dark. I’m tired. I’m busy. I’ll do it later. It’s exciting. It’s memorable. I need a break. I’m always busy so it might as well be now. We can always look at things in two ways. As […]...
No image found Putting Restrictions in Place Enforces Creativity – Living Adventurously #5 Tommy Banks was the youngest chef in the world to be awarded a Michelin star. The Black Swan at Oldstead was rated the best restaurant in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017. As a connoisseur of banana sandwiches and dehydrated […]...


  1. Such a shame I couldn’t read first 3 paragraphs as they overlap the photo



Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Shouting from my shed

Get the latest news, updates and happenings via my shed-based newsletter.

© Copyright 2012 – 2016 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved.

Site design by JSummertonBuilt by Steve Perry Creative