If you spend any time reading websites from adventure types, you get the impression they’re all pushing the envelope. They’re assaulting the Dawn Wall, or rowing across the Indian Ocean, or helicoptering to the top of a mountain to ski sick powder before anyone else, or doing some other extreme thing. Then, when they are done, they write a book about it, tour and talk about it, then go back out and do some other absurd adventure.
Alastair Humphreys is the only sensible one of that lot. He realizes that the other 99.9% of the world can’t do that sort of thing. When the mortgage has to be paid, even getting time off to ride the Trans-America on a bicycle is a challenge.
But a lot of them are kind of infuriating. There’s this underlying “go big or go home” machismo that makes any thing you would undertake so insignificant, you might as well not try. You want to take a month and cycle tour? Pfft. Doesn’t count unless you go around the planet. Driving a four wheel trail? Ha! Unless it’s the Road of Bones, you’re a wimp. Going for a hike around a local wildlife refuge? If it’s not the Empty Quarter, you’re a waste. Any setting less than eleven is a waste of time and effort.
But here’s the thing, any time you stretch your boundaries, and extend outside of your routine, you better yourself as a person on every possible level. Getting out and doing gives you self-confidence, that you are able to accomplish something challenging. It leads to better fitness, which always leads to a better outlook on life and greater happiness. It reduces the anxiety you feel day to day, a new coping mechanism.
So really, screw those guys. I’ve had to tell myself to stop listening to them, stop reading their blogs, or listening to their interviews. Good for them that they have done those things, but really, they’re not worth the time. Do what you want, do what you can, and do it for yourself. Hike your own hike. Adventure your own adventure. You’ll be happier.
But do pay attention to Alastair. He gets it. Just read about his micro adventures, and you’ll see.