A National Geographic adventurer of the year, Alastair Humphreys has been traveling the planet for over 20 years. After biking a lap around the globe, traversing the Atlantic in a kayak, and running six marathons in the Sahara, he's downsizing his idea of adventure. In doing so he's rediscovering adventure and reshaping his perspective on living an interesting life.
To be closer to family and lessen his impact on the climate, Alastair committed to exploring his backyard. To start, he ordered a hyper detailed map of his neighborhood, complete with roads, footpaths, vegetation, and terrain. With his map also came a hope to "see things he wouldn't normally come across" and personal commitment to "treat everything as interesting."
On his first backyard microadventure, a crow flying overhead was still a crow, a common reed still a common reed, and the marsh he trekked through still the same marsh it had been for the duration he'd live near it. However, they all seemed more alive this time, each seeming to pull questions out of him that they hadn't before. "Where were the crows going? Who built the canal through the marsh? Had anyone ever stepped foot near this particular reed before?"
He ended his first microadventure an hour after it started. Compared to his month long excursions through the wildest places on our planets, this trek seemed trivial, almost childish. Yet, in his commitment to making meaning out of the mundane, Alastair had found a way to fight the paradise paradox - the false belief that a picture-perfect place will solve all your problems.
Some of us believe that the answer to our problems lie on a beach on a secluded Greek island or in a food truck in Tokyo. Humans will always be called to adventure, but maybe instead of oceans away, the adventure is right outside our door.
You can read an more in depth article about Alastair's microadventure here.
Go on a walk somewhere you've passed by a thousand times, but never explored.
What impact could an adventure have on you today?
“It matters not where or how far you travel — the farther commonly the worse — but how much alive you are.” - Henry David Thoreau