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.

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10 Tips for Safe Hiking

1. Start small and choose the right trail for your fitness level.

Select a hike a little shorter than the distance you can normally walk on a level or paved surface. To estimate the time required to hike the trail, figure a pace of roughly 2-miles per hour. Next, review the elevation changes and add an hour to your estimated hiking time for every 1000 feet of gain. After you’ve been out once or twice, you’ll have a sense for what distance and elevation changes work well for you.

2. Familiarize yourself with the trail.

Once you have selected a trail, obtain a map of the area and review reports and data. There are some excellent online resources available. Find out if the trail is a loop, or if you’ll have to backtrack or spot a second car. Take note of any intersecting trails where you could potentially make a wrong turn. I also like to look for a good lunch spot such as a lake or peak with a view.

3. Check the weather.

Leading up to your hike, and again a few hours before, check the weather. This will give you valuable information on how to dress and what to pack. If the weather is forecast to be awful, it will give you the chance to change plans instead of getting surprised on the trail.

4. Tell someone where you will be.

It’s important that someone not on the hike knows the itinerary and what time to worry and call for help. Note I didn’t say, “when you expect to be done.” The “worry time” may be several hours later than your planned finish to allow for slow hiking, amazing views, or perhaps a sore ankle causing a delay.

Another option is to carry an emergency device such as the SPOT tracker, which allows you to summon emergency assistance by satellite. One caveat, devices like the SPOT are not an excuse to shirk responsibility for your own personal safety – they are a backup.

5. Pack the 10 essentials.

The 10 essentials have gradually shifted from a list of items to a list of systems. These are the systems you should pack to stay safe in the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight. Depending on the length and remoteness of your hike, expand or minimize each system. For example, on a short summer hike near services, a compact emergency blanket should be fine. However, a remote winter hike would require something more extensive. Here are the 10 essential systems:

Ten Essential Systems

  • Navigation (map & compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  • Repair kit and tools
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water)
  • Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag)

This list may look daunting, but once you tailor it to your hike, it won’t be so bad. Many of these things are what you’d pack for a picnic.

6. Wear the right shoes and socks.

Painful feet can ruin a hike. Invest in quality hiking shoes and socks. This doesn’t mean heavy leather boots, there are a lot of “light hikers” available that require little break-in compared to the old hiking boots I started with. Also, don’t skimp on socks and for goodness sake….no cotton! Wool or synthetic socks are the way to go. Also pack blister dressings just in case.

7. Dress for success.

Once your feet are taken care of, dressing right is key to comfort on your hike. Skip cotton anything, it gets damp and stays that way leaving you feeling clammy and causing chafing. Instead go for synthetics. To easily adjust for your temperature and the weather, wear layers that you can add or shed as needed. Lastly, pack an extra warm layer beyond what you think you’ll need, preferably something that will block wind too.

8. Keep it light.

Okay, now that I’ve told you to pack all of this stuff, I’m going to tell you to keep you pack light. This means opting for the lightest of each item. For example, a travel size tube of sunscreen instead of the NoAd 16-ounce tube you found on sale.

9. Pace yourself.

When you first get on the trail, you may feel like powering forward like a hero. However, you’ll be a zero by the end of the day if you don’t pace yourself. Instead, pick a pace you can maintain all day. It might feel a little awkward at first, but after a few miles, especially uphill, you’ll be glad you saved your energy.

10. Leave no trace.

The beautiful trails we love will only stay beautiful if we care for them. Take time to read the Leave No Trace Seven Principals and follow them. It’s up to every outdoor enthusiast to take care of our natural spaces.

Source: http://blog.liftopia.com/10-essential-hiking-tips-beginner-hike/shoe

Summer 2017 #dorksinAfrica

Our plans are now pinned down for the summer season and man we’re pumped for it! Everything between now and August will be leading up to our summit attempt of the immense Mt.Toubkal , the highest point of North Africa.
This will no doubt be our most challenging adventure to date and we cant wait to share the experience with you all.
toubkal

Between now and then however we have loads of awesome things lined up…not least the Orwell 25 Mile Challenge next month!

Stay tuned for more regular updates…

Lessons Learned Adventuring the UK

Whether you’re part of our glorious island nation or you’re considering a trip to our shores (before we go into full Brexit mode and ask Trump to build some walls for us!) we thought it might be useful for us to share some of the things we’ve learned from adventuring across our stomping ground.

Geography:

Okay so let’s just get some geographical basics out the way for those reading this from foreign lands; the UK – made up of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Four entirely different countries, all with different languages (although English is spoken throughout, accents and dialects can make things tricky for even native speakers…just bare this in mind if you’re struggling with the language!) we’ve had entire conversations up in Scotland without having a clue what’s going on…also trying to converse with a Welsh speaking stag-do was equally as baffling. eu-united_kingdom-svg

Transport

As crazy as it may seem; it was cheaper for us to get return flights to Italy than it was for us to travel up to Scotland…go figure. So that being said you can gather it’s not exactly cheap to get around the UK. Fuel prices seem to increase the further north you go, and the further into the wilderness you go – for reference current fuel prices are around £1.20 per Litre.

If you’re relying on public transport you’ll pretty much need a second mortgage to do any serious travelling – again for reference I’m a 1hr 40 min drive from London – return ticket is an eye watering £100+ if bought on the day. Advice here is book early…really early.

There’s also plenty of coach routes with National Express – which although take an absolute age to get you anywhere are a much more cost effective way to get about.

Failing all that…you could always walk!

Kit

It’s true that we have an obsession with the weather – and for good reason too! Although mostly mild conditions and temperatures can vary widely – which is what makes packing your kit such a pain in the backpack. For any trip in the UK you will need layers, waterproofs, probably sunscreen, and some more waterproofs. On Peaks such as Ben Nevis snow can be found at the summit all year round – and so due precautions need to be taken.

Accommodation

The UKs best kept secret…the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). Run by enthusiastic and helpful staff up and down the UK; cheap beds…pretty decent breakfasts, but everything you could want to get in from the elements. They can get booked up; especially in peak season, so plan ahead – or like we do…take tents and play it by ear!

One of the major bonuses of the UK is its size; you’re never too far from the creature comforts – so as long as you’re adequately prepped for your hike, climb, or trek…you’re pretty much gonna be just fine…and if you get completely stuck – don’t forget it’s just a 2 hr flight to reach the sun drenched coasts of the med!

Doah.