What does living adventurously mean?
I have been hooked on adventure since the age of 18. I began by reading Ranulph Fiennes, Dervla Murphy and Benedict Allen when I should have been revising for my A-Levels. Most of my heroes were adventurers and writers. I wanted that world for myself.I spent the best part of the next 20 years crossing continents, oceans and deserts in pursuit of ‘adventure’. I cycled tens of thousands of miles, camped for a thousand nights or more and travelled through almost a hundred countries. I wanted excitement, challenge, hardship and risk. To test myself, prove myself and live on the edge – of my maps, my potential and my comfort zone. And I got it all. Those were days of miracle and wonder.But my perception of adventure has changed a great deal since I first traded the green hills of Yorkshire for a year on the red soil of southern Africa. Real life arrived eventually. It catches up with most of us in the end! My uncomplicated pursuit of the life of my choice collided with the very different adventures of marriage and children. So today, I am an ‘Adventurer’ or an ‘Author’ for just 30 hours a week. The rest of the time, I am simply ‘Dad’. I have a mortgage to pay and two kids to pick up from school at 3.15 every afternoon. (Time check: 28 minutes left until today’s brief work slot is over. Or 33 minutes if I run to the school, thus risking the wrath of my 8-year-old daughter who deems such behaviour’ embarrassing ‘… much to my delight.) Is it possible to live adventurously in real life?
This book began as my own attempt to answer that question. I no longer see adventure as the exclusive domain of rugged tough guys (and me) doing rugged stuff in rugged places. It is much broader than that. What’ living adventurously’ involves will differ for everyone. Rest assured that it need not involve crossing deserts or even sleeping in a tent. Despite the years I spent chasing big adventures from the frozen Arctic Ocean to the gales of Patagonia, this book has nothing directly to do with travel or expeditions. It is something we can all do, whether we are young and carefree, busy with bills and babies and yearning for a brief burst of escape, an empty nester, or someone looking to shake up a weary rut by learning something new.This is a critical distinction for the pages ahead: living adventurously is the attitude you charge at life with. Anyone can choose their attitude. Living adventurously is about being eager to look differently at things, be bold and risk looking a fool. This invites us to stretch ourselves – mentally, physically or culturally. To attempt challenges that are difficult and daunting. To accept the risk of failure in exchange for the enticing sense of surprised satisfaction upon completion.You can live adventurously anywhere; in your office or home as well as in the hills. You don’t have to be rich or fit or young or talented to live adventurously. It’s nothing to do with Mount Everest or the South Pole. Living adventurously is not about being lucky enough to have an adventure of a lifetime one day. Instead, it is a choice to live a more adventurous life every day. You can begin right now, without needing to spend a penny. A combination of age, momentum and understanding that living adventurously makes me happier means that I am now quite willing to be regarded as a weirdo. I have learned to prioritise that rather than what other people think I should be doing. I often feel like an outsider because of the way I want to live. But the ticking of those 2000 Mondays convinces me that the urgency is essential and being the village weirdo is a small price to pay.I am editing these words in a garden chair swinging pleasantly in the branches of a lime tree eight metres above the ground. I sleep out on hilltops while my friends are perusing the wine list in gastropubs. I love arriving at meetings reeking of wood smoke. I often give serious corporate presentations in a suit, but with wet hair and going commando after jumping in a nearby river and towelling myself off with my boxer shorts.Fear not: no lycra, muscle, beard, ego or even wanderlust is required for the reading of this book. Would you like to live more adventurously? I know that I certainly would.
OVER TO YOU:
– What does living adventurously mean to you? – Keep that definition in your mind every time I use the phrase.
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