What is an Adventure anyway?

Adventure


[Ad-ven-cher] 
noun
1. an exciting or very unusual experience.
2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
4. a commercial or financial speculation of any kind; venture.

5. Obsolete.

  1. peril; danger; risk.
  2. chance; fortune; luck.
verb (used with object)adventured, adventuring.
6. to risk or hazard.
7. to take the chance of; dare.
8. to venture to say or utter: to adventure an opinion.

verb
 (used without object)
adventured, adventuring.
9. to take the risk involved.

I came across the questions “what is an adventure” recently thanks to the guys at Outdoor Bloggers  and it really got me thinking; because the word gets thrown about a lot these days – I think probably because having ‘an adventure holiday’ sounds way cooler than ‘a walking holiday’, which in most cases is probably the case…not all the time of course, for me I’d plump for definition 3 from the dictionary, it seems to be the most fitting:

“a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.”

My reason for this, is that it’s so subjective, and of course an adventure has  to be subjective right? Like you can’t say to someone “Go do that thing because its an adventure.” Can you? maybe you can, but I mean in the way I see adventure, it’s a completely personal experience…this is why my 4 year old daughter can have an adventure in my local woods, while I’m just plodding along experiencing the exact same objective world, yet my heads probably wandering in 15 different directions, whens my car tax due, did I pay that bill yet, I wonder if I will finish that blog post today…etc  – or probably ideally, just making sure my daughter doesn’t come to any great harm during her adventure in the woods!

So; point A: it’s a personal experience.
my immediate question…so what makes it so?

Well to answer that, I’m going to lay out what I think are the elements that add up to what we would categorise as an adventure, and not merely ‘a walk in the woods’; and then I’ll illustrate what my own personal ‘greatest adventure’ has been to date – I guess then we can see where we’re at.

A good start point, so I’ve been told, is the start, so we’ll go for that – so let’s determine the type of adventure…and in these circles we’re usually talking about a planned activity that we think will be a challenge, have some risks involved, that ideally won’t kill us, and that we can tell an interesting story about – that seems to sum up ‘adventure trips’ i.e to make a summit of a mountain, to swim the Channel Crossing, to run a marathon in the Sahara desert etc etc.

That description seemed to come very naturally, so let’s pick it apart to get to the bottom of what it truly means: so –  why a challenge? why risk? why stories?

Challenge.
The challenge element I think is a key part, and with planned adventures, the handy thing is you can kinda guess at what the challenge is going to be – so you can prepare your best for it, because of course a surprise adventure would be a pretty terrifying ordeal.
So the yearning for a challenge is in there, why? So perhaps the element isn’t ‘challenge’ so much as it’s ‘to learn something about yourself.’
I can obviously only speak on my own experience, but to overcome a challenge, involves learning something new about yourself, or indeed, letting go of a part of yourself.

Risk. 
What does it mean to take a risk? Well it means that whatever you are doing has consequences. Do thing well = you’re all good. Do thing bad = you’re not so good. Again just like all of these experiences it’s a subjective feeling; coming down the icy ridge of Toubkal felt like a pretty damn big risk to me…fall that side…probably die right…so death was a loose footing away – and I’m not being over dramatic here, that’s just the obvious truth.
Luckily there’s a number of things to minimise that risk – having a guide, having decent kit (I did just make a typo there and type ket…let me confirm that having decent ket on the side of Toubkal would not minimise risks at all).
Again, if I go back to my 4 year old in the woods adventure…well woah I mean, there’s SO much risk in the woods for a 4 year old it’s untrue…from evil witches living in gingerbread houses, to foxes dressed up as an elderly relative…jeez that’s one risky place…that’s not the place I’M in when I’m in the woods, but for sure that’s where she is…

The Unknown.
Meeting the unknown; is not too dissimilar to over coming the challenge – on a personal level – to be pushed to a place you’ve never been emotionally / physically can be an enlightening experience – for me, this parts easy, because I’m a complete wimp, I freeze if I’m exposed to sheer drops (or tackling scrambles etc), I’m not athletic at all, and I generally struggle about inside my awkward flabby body. For these reasons, I’m constantly pushing myself beyond my perceived limits, it’s happened on almost all the summits I’ve achieved.

Snowdon: froze due to vertigo on a scramble nearing the top.
Scafell Pike: we (hands up stupidly) descended down an un-routed gully, in thick fog, I was sure we would need the rescue team
Ben Nevis: by far the most emotionally depleting summit, so cold, so wet, and at that point we thought so high!
Mt. Toubkal: I’m still unsure how I made it, I’ve never been so physically pushed; to the point my sole concern was breathing to not pass out (contrast that to my jolly in the woods and you can see what I’m getting at).

So it can be the unknown, in terms of meeting unknown aspects of our character or capabilities, or it can be a literal unknown…situations, places etc. I guess the unknown element from Scafell Pike was the literal unknown of being down a scree gully in about 2M visibility.

Stories.
It took me a while to process my story from Toubkal, to the point where if people asked me within the first week or so of returning home, my response was – “yeah, so hard, but it was awesome”…that was it! I just hadn’t figured how to articulate the whole experience – maybe that’s a common thing for adventurers? Let me know!
But why do people care, and why do we like, LOVE, the stories? Well it’s occured to me during writing this, that all of those elements that create what we call ‘Adventure’ occur not just on the mountain side, but in almost every day of every year.

It’s the story of our lives.

So…what’s my ‘Greatest Adventure? Well it’s the adventure that I’m still in, every day, and although at the top of the article I did say that ideally our adventures wouldn’t kill us, well, this one will inevitably end that way. So, yeah, my greatest adventure is the one where I’ve learned not just something new about myself, but the one where I even learned that I had a self, that I had a self, and that I would bring other little humans into the world, so they too can have adventures in the woods, and I’ll know to keep the witches and foxes at bay, because they’re the same adventures I had, that we all had, and forever will have.

Our trips to conquer mountains, swim rivers, and run marathons, well, that’s when we’re living out the very essence of life itself, and that my friends, is one hell of awesome adventure.

Keeping on top of your goals in 2018

 

We often hear that life is made up mostly of not what we do, but how we react to the things that happen to us; yes, that’s exactly it. Unlike say a commercial jet, we can’t punch in the destination into the auto-pilot, sit back and sip coffee for 12 months, and that’s pretty much what we expect when we write down our goals. Well, you don’t have an auto-pilot…well I guess you kinda do, but it’s kinda crumby and will always switch to default settings and steer you towards sitting on the sofa, eating tortilla chips, and watching Netflix… USELESS! you might think, but actually no, our Auto-Pilot is set to ‘maintain and survive’-ville, and whilst you might not be setting the world ablaze and reaching your potential, you’ll be safe, you’ll be secure, you’ll be snug. So not entirely useless, but also in no way the effective goal setting strategy enabler you need for success in 2018!

So, to continue with the analogy, without an auto-pilot function we actually need to be flying this thing, hands on the controls, pushing buttons, keeping an eye on the radar, maintaining elevation…yeah…all those things; and this is exactly what we need to do in order to navigate our goals, and the turbulent times in between them. For some people, even the first wobble of turbulence is enough for them to freak out, grab the parachute, and smash the eject button, and often times this happens say in week 3 of the new year. We want to get to Top Gun status where we can land that thing and explain when asked why we didn’t get exactly where we wanted to….“it was inverted!” (No idea how a Tom Cruise quote got in here but we’ll roll with it!)

We need to earn our wings, stay at the controls, and figure these things out. Here are 7 Steps to getting 2018 off the ground and staying in control of the goals you’ve set, and so, if you would kindly put all luggage (metaphoric and physical) in the compartments available, strap yourself in…we shall begin.

  1. So lets have look at your past performance Rookie…

A brilliant way to do this, is instead of measuring your successes against goals you may have set yourself at the back end of 2016; is to take a short while to think of 5 key moments that shaped 2017 for you. A promotion / new job / brake-down of a relationship / death of a loved one, it really could be anything, and only you will know what these 5 things are.

2. How did this affect your performance?

Now consider what that event has meant to you, the impact it has had, and consider both the positive and negatives of the event, because for sure, every ‘positive’ key moment, will bring its negatives – just as every ‘negative’ key moment, will bring along some positives.

3. You’ve landed here because of these things.

I want you to now take some time, to really appreciate these positive things; that for some reason, the world has afforded you – and also to acknowledge the resilience and strength you have handled the negatives with; and if you haven’t overcome all these; then maybe that’s a good starting point for 2018…better to resolve one set of issues, than set a whole new framework of potential issues up.

4. (L)Earn your wings.

With all that in mind, we can now begin to see how resilient we are, and pro-active we might be, and the vision that we have for change. It’s only by this ongoing reflection that we can improve our skills of piloting our own jets; and I would suggest that now these have been identified, making a conscious effort to overcome your limitations / shortcoming, would make a hugely positive difference to the year you’re about to have.

5. Recruit a Co-Pilot

Just as the case would be, I’m sure, if you were about to take to the skies, you would want like the absolute Don of a Co-Pilot. You know, the one who still wears one of those leather jackets with a fur collar, the one who landed that jet in ’82 when both engines cut out, the one who wrote the procedure book on ‘What to do when you’re caught having a nap, the controls lose power, and the visibility is zero’. Someone experienced in what you’re trying to do – and you’re trying to do life. So discussing your plans with an older person (but not always necessarily older, experience depending); can act as a great way to keep you in check, and on course to get to your destination.

6. Fly within your Limits!

Really what I’m saying here, is don’t push yourself too far, or set goals which from the start, you know are highly unlikely to be achieved. You could potentially set some really risky goals, and without the proper examination of these, the fall-out could be catastrophic – from losing assets, to losing friends / relationships, you need to make damn sure that you can handle what you’re setting out to do – your co-pilot should be a good sounding-board for when you’re feeling stretched..and this may well be one of those time you need to execute a planned ditching of your plane. But you know what…a calm sea never made a good captain, (okay okay I’m muddling my metaphors but you get my point).

7. Appropriate Usage of Auto-Pilot

As I mentioned before, your auto-pilot can be an effective tools to engage with – but a terrible tool to rely on! From time-to-time you need to rejuvenate and freshen up – initiate auto-pilot to do this; but do so with care…things get real comfortable, real quick, in auto-pilot, and before you bloody well know it, you’ll be back to the sofa, back to the snacks, and back to…well…meh.

I must apologise for the amount of flight metaphors used, I have no idea where they came from; but hopefully it all makes some sense at least; I really just want to share my feelings that without taking proper control of, and responsibility for, our goals; it can be no wonder they more often than not, end in failure.

Hopefully the parts around reflecting on past years will really line you up to make a success, no matter how big or small, of the goals you will be setting yourself up with for 2018.

 

Now…wheres that mountain?

 

 

 

The Adventurers Christmas Wishlist

We know how hard it can be for family and friends to pick the right gifts for the adventurer or outdoor lover in your life…(and by outdoor lover I do mean lover -of -the-outdoors, just to clarify!)…believe us, we’ve had the useless socks, the novelty this, the ‘haha oh gee thanks’ that – so here’s our Adventurers Christmas Wishlist – from stocking fillers to the big kahuna presents, there’s something for everyone…and Santa if you’re reading – please see below!

To make things mega easy, we’ve included links for you to go ahead and buy all the products listed – simply click on the images and voila!

Merry Adventuring One and All

Awesome Tech:

Having the right gadgets when out on a hike or adventure, can not only make the experience even more awesome, but in some cases can even save a life…the GPS Unit is a tech-item you should find in every rucksack!

 

GoPro Hero 6

£499.99

 

 

 

Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Wristband

£120

 

 


Rock Jaw Clarito Lightweight In-Ear Earphones Finished In Aluminium – British Engineered

£19.99

 



Garmin eTrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit

£75.00

 

 

More Awesome Tech

Kindle e-Reader

£59

 

 

More Portable Tech for the Journey

Threads for the treads:

For the outdoors, it is vitally important to have confidence in your clothing (believe us we’ve had our fair share of clothing malfunctions!)  Below are some picks of the bunch that we think would be a welcome gift this Christmas!

Rab Sanctuary Jacket

£144

 

 

 

 


Under Armour Men’s  Tech 1/4 Zip Long-Sleeve Shirt

£18

 

 

Merino Wool Hiking & Trekking Socks by DANISH ENDURANCE, Performance Socks for Outdoor Enthusiasts

£11

Knitted Wolly Beanie Hat Style Skippy Batty with Ponpon Men’s Women’s Winter Warm SKI Snowboard Hats

£10

 

 

More Outdoor Clothing

Gear

From athlete to the rugged adventurer; the kit we use defines us – here’s a selection of kit which should tick all boxes…but there are links for more options!

 

Fjällräven Kånken Backpack

£50 – £100

 

 

Mountaintop 80L Hiking Backpack/Travel Daypack/Climbing Rucksack,83 x 36 x 25 cm

£80

 

 

More Awesome Back Packs

Water Bag Hydration Water Pack Hydration Bladder Up to Take 2 Litre Water

£7.50

 

 

Pair of Trekrite Antishock Hiking Sticks / Walking Poles – Black

£19

 

 

Solar Charger, BERNET Portable Solar Power Bank with 2 Input Ports (Lighting & Micro)

£28

 

 

Just for a Laugh /  Stocking Fillers:

Okay so I know I said forget the novelty gifts…but what would a stocking be without the naff prezzies!

Emergency Poncho!

£3

 

 

Wiper Glasses…to keep your vision clear during those sudden down-pours!

£5.99

 

 

Carabiner Stainless Steel Camping Mug

£3.50

 

 

Spork! This genius item of cutlery has a welcome spot in any rucksack…

£1.66

 

Hopefully we’ve taken some of the stress out of finding the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life this year!

Teamwork: How to not be that guy.

img_20161101_223220Spending prolonged amounts of time with a small group of people can have its challenges – especially when the pretext is that you’re all good friends. Unlike in the workplace, where you’re free to dislike one, two, or all of your colleagues. There’s a lot at stake here – not only years of friendship potentially undone within a weekend of camping; but it’s in your interest to maintain that friendship – it could be the difference between launching a rescue attempt to save your sorry ass – or them enjoying some extra tent space and the additional food supplies!

remySo here’s some tips to not only keep your friends – but ensure you’re not abandoned hill-side by your team.

1. Don’t be annoying for the sake of being funny – okay so obviously there’s just some moments during a 12 hour drive, or 3 hour flight where someones going to be fast asleep with mouth wide open; these moments should be enjoyed by all [click here for evidence] but just know when a jokes a joke, and when you’re being an absolute…twit?

2. Just be cool – I mean being cool is in direct opposition to being a Dork, so I guess we would struggle with this one; but essentially just keeping an eye out for everyone; well, in our case Remy – as you can see (left), when he’s not asleep he can look sad. Maybe he is sad. We didn’t think to ask. Poor Remy.

Image result for hangry

3. Know yourself – If you know you’re prone to getting hangry (in our case this is Mike), keep yourself fed! Otherwise you’re not only going be spending alot of time feeling grouchy, but also your team will think you’re being an idiot. So really this is just being aware of what annoys you, and basically making sure you’re not putting yourself into situations where you’re going to turn irrational and irritable – applicable to smokers, coffee addicts, and the sleep-needy.

4. Know your mates – so we’ve learned through experience, that Dave really hates The Adam and Joe Show podcasts. We learned this by exposing him to them for around 7 straight hours on the way home from a weekend hiking in Scotland. We don’t listen to Adam and Joe Show podcasts now…because we’re nice like that, sorry Adam and Joe.

5. Space. We all need some Space – this is true, we all need some space, but y’know what – you’re not gonna get any, especially in a small hatchback stuffed with 4 guys, hiking gear and camping equipment! So what needs to happen here is for you to let-go of your personal space needs – reduce your personal boundaries and just deal with it. The important thing to remember is that it’s not the other persons fault that they’re in your space. So don’t get moody with them!

There’s loads more I’m sure; take our poll so we can finally decide, name, and shame!