Adventurer Alastair Humphreys explains how you don’t have to go anywhere remote or need special equipment to turn a mini break into a great adventure.
1. Come up with an idea that excites you
It need not be epic or a world first. Then pick a date when you will do it. And, finally, the hardest part of all: COMMIT to actually doing it!
Whether it is cycling to the sea, walking the South Downs way, or eating in a restaurant from a country you know nothing about, the hardest part is to break your ordinary routine and make yourself do it. It’s often easier if you rope in a few friends to join you.
2. Overcome the excuses and obstacles
One of the key things about these little adventures is not to let a lack of expensive equipment, for example, stop you getting outdoors this summer and trying something new. A tent from Tesco’s, a sleeping bag from a charity shop, and a couple of packets of Custard Creams are all that you really need to get you out under the stars, into the wild, and doing something new and exciting this summer.
3. It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun
The great British summer has a twisted sense of humour. You may have blazing sunsets and bright shooting stars. You may get drizzle and a little damp. It’s a good reason to start small: a night of rain on the tent is not so bad, especially with the knowledge that you’ll be home tomorrow. Home to a hot bath, a fluffy duvet, and the inevitable onset of rose-tinted memories.
4. Think small
You might not feel confident yet to take on the whole world. That doesn’t matter! In fact I would encourage you to start by thinking very small: one night away, one jump in a lake. Start small and build up: it’s better than thinking big, getting scared, and never starting!
5. Think about your 5-to-9
Many of our adventurous yearnings and dreams are scuppered by the realities of real life: commitments, cash, and the constraints of a 9 to 5 job. But what about your ‘5 to 9’? On these long summer evenings you have time, even on a midweek work night, to squeeze a genuine adventure into your life. You could sleep on a hill, cycle your commute, or make a journey around your own home. Try to seek out the opportunities for adventure in your life rather than feeling glum about the constraints.
6. Buy a bivvy bag
Tents are expensive. They are heavy. They are a hassle to put up, a hassle to dry out, a hassle to store. To keep your microadventures cheap, simple and hassle free, you should get a bivvy bag. Simply put, a bivvy bag is like a waterproof jacket for your sleeping bag. The cheapest ones start at just a few quid. Sleep on a hill in a bivvy bag and you can watch the stars as you fall asleep and wake to the most impressive sunrise view you’ve ever had on a work day.
7. Share your story
I have come to really enjoy sharing my trips with an online community. Take photos, write a blog, make a short video. It’s fun to do and, who knows, you might inspire someone else to take that hesitant, difficult first step towards their own summer of adventure.