I don’t really think of myself as adventurous. Sure, I like being outdoors, I’ve always liked going for a decent walk, I like swimming outside now, but I never think of it as “adventurous”. I have what I think of as “adventurous” mates. They go off and do proper crazy stuff like kayaking down the Nile or running the length of the Pennine Way in one go in January or living in Antarctica for two years (you know who you are!). They’re adventurous types, not me. I just get on with a very normal life and have the odd bit of fun outside.
Chatting to a friend at the weekend though, I realised my view of me being adventurous might have been skewed by those I deem as “adventurous”.
When I think on it I kind of have done some adventurous things in my time . I went to Mount Etna when I was at University, when the lava was still hot from a recent eruption, I did a Raleigh International expedition to Patagonia and then travelled alone for a few months in my early 20s. I’ve walked up a few mountains and kayaked a few rivers. I always felt like they were slightly watered down adventures though. Often someone else’s idea or looked after by another person or organisation. Never the top spot, never the most adventurous.
I used a quote written by Ian Fleming for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when I wrote up our solstice trip in 2018 (Summer solstice summit to sea – We did it!). “Never say “no” to adventure. Always say “yes” otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life”. Grandpa Potts, the wizened old man who encourages them all to go out on a slightly dodgy looking flying car, uttered those words. Words I try to live by now. But I’ve just said I don’t think of myself as adventurous, so why do I follow those words?
When I wrote that quote as part of my blog in 2018 I was referring to outside, physical adventures but I’ve gained a new perspective on the concept of “adventurous” recently.
I was introduced to the work of Alastair Humphreys by a friend earlier on in the year. I’d heard of him before but never really paid him much attention. Another serious explorer doing crazy stuff that I could never, nor have any desire, to do. He cycled round the world, it took him 4 years. That kind of guy! But with perspective and a settling down to more normal life (kids and a mortgage) he’s started to reflect on his adventuring and those of others.
An adventure doesn’t have to be about those crazy big trips or long haul flights. Everyone’s concept of adventure is different. Everyone can fit it in somewhere in their lives. Living more adventurously is great and everyone can do it, indeed many already do without even realising it.
So what do I mean by “adventurous”?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Adventurous as: willing to take risks or try out new methods, ideas or experiences.
It defines Adventure as: an unusual and exciting or daring experience.
Neither of those definitions include “outside”, “bit crazy”, “wild”, “travel”, “mountains”, “weather”, “kit”. All things I often associate with an adventure or being adventurous.
So what is adventurous? I’ve realised it does and should vary from person to person and moment in time. My concept of adventure may be tame to one person but phenomenally beyond comprehension for another. What adventure does entail though is pushing your boundaries, doing something that you might deem to be a risk, something that makes you nervous or something that downright scares you.
For someone who’s just passed their driving test an adventure might be that first solo drive. For another it might be climbing Everest.
In the last few years I’ve realised my adventures have varied widely. I remember the first time I drove to the supermarket after I’d had my eldest child. Driving on my own, with a ten day old, brand new shiny human in the back was a huge adventure that day. I was apprehensive, scared, a bit excited. This year I wild camped alone and cleared off to Scotland in a camper van to support The Short One on one of the biggest adventures of her life, the Celtman triathlon. Both big adventures at the time and both ones which brought with them a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction.
So with that wider concept of adventure in mind I realised I’ve always been adventurous really. I’ve taken opportunities when they arose, taken risks, done things that scared me. Not every time but more often than not. Some were unexpected, some were planned. They varied in fear, apprehension and nervousness level. I’ve started a family, started a new career, moved houses, started a wonderful new hobby, been involved in things I never thought I would. Some of them were conventional outdoor adventures but the vast majority of them weren’t. They all involved decisions that included those definitions above though: risky; new; exciting; daring.
And were those adventures worth having? YES! A thousand times over.
All of those adventures from the small to the big have enriched my life in so many ways. As well as the fear, the doubt and the hesitation (of which there is always a lot), they’ve brought me joy, happiness, a sense of achievement, pride, new friends. They’ve filled my life with new experiences and knowledge. And each adventure makes me more able to deal with whatever life throws at me, be that a raging bout of PMS or a new job.
What would have happened if I hadn’t taken those adventures and risks? There’s a high chance I’d be doing an incredibly dull office job, bored out of my mind counting down the days to the weekend. Followed by a weekend of crap TV and the pub only to repeat it all again the following week. There’s nothing wrong with that but I suspect I’d have spent my life bitter and jealous that others were having more fun than me 😉
My own concept of adventure is very much my own and I take my opportunities where I can. I have a pretty normal life, I work part time but my main role is as a stay at home mum. I’m restricted by school runs and school holidays but where I can I sneak in my little adventures. Be that making a phone call to start the ball rolling on something or sneaking out for a quick dip. Those adventures make me feel I can do my role as a Mum better. They fill me with happiness, perk me up on an otherwise drab day and make me feel alive.
So what do I want you to take from this? Be adventurous. Do it your own way. Whatever they may be, take those risks. You’ll feel better for it in the long run and you never know where it might lead!
And yes, I’m proud to say I’m adventurous. Maybe I inspire, maybe I bore but I don’t do it for anyone else. I do it for me 🙂
If you fancy a spot more reading or some time with a podcast look up Al Humphreys here: