At last weekend’s Adventure Travel Film Festival, I spent a brilliant few days hanging out with fellow adventurous spirits from far and wide. Some were high-profile adventurers like Tim Cope, Jon Muir, Lois Pryce and Austin Vince. But many were unknown explorers, trekkers, mountaineers, motorcyclists, rock-climbers, off-roaders, overlanders, kayakers… ordinary people with an insatiable hunger to see the world or experience the great outdoors in its broadest sense.
It struck me what a diverse group we all were. No “type”, no particular age, height or build. Adventurers, it seems, come in all shapes and sizes.
Some are super-fit athletes for whom physical endeavour and achievement is a huge part of what drives them. For others, it’s the compulsive desire to break away from the “nine to five” and propel themselves into unknown places and cultures – to learn in some way about the world and the people that inhabit it. For others still, it’s the need to get back to basics, to live “off the grid” and escape the stresses and trappings of modern “civilised” life – to experience “life in the raw.”
In fact, the more time I spent talking to people at the festival, the more reasons I heard as to why certain individuals give up the safety of the sofa, whether for a weekend or a lifetime.
But there was, I think, a uniting theme. In their own unique ways, most of these people had gone out there and DONE IT. Not just talked about an adventure, but actually given it a go. I met one couple in their 50s just back from a week motorcycling in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains – they’d always wanted to do it but weren’t sure they’d be up to the long days of gruelling off-road riding in desert heat. Now they have the photos to prove they did it, and boy do they look good! At the other end of the scale, adventurer Jon Muir talked about his solo trek across Australia – it took him FOUR attempts, but he said failure was all part of the adventure and it was something he just had to do. (This from the guy whose first thought when he arrived at the top of Everest was that he desperately needed a piss and a cigarette!).
It was an inspiring weekend and I certainly came back with renewed vigour to keep pursuing my own adventures whenever and wherever I can (I’m cooking up another one for Easter, yeeha!).
And I’d say to anyone that thinks they’re too unfit, too old, too cash-strapped, too tied-down, or too scared for adventure – think again! People like you are out there dreaming up and then pursuing their own challenges great and small. You don’t have to break a world record or be the first to do something (although if you do, big respect to you!). Your adventure is unique to you, so own it – then get out there and do it!
You won’t regret it, I certainly haven’t.
And you can check out a video report on the Festival right here (keep an eye out for yours truly!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqv5qAe4XPE&feature=youtu.be