What is an adventure and why have one?
I once applied to walk the last 80 miles to the South Pole to finish Ernest Shackleton’s quest to reach it, I did not get the go ahead and in hindsight quite possibly would not have been fit enough at the time anyway, so right decision.
I did, however get to meet some of Shackleton’s family and Henry Worsley who embarked on the Shackleton Centenary Expedition and was lucky enough to get invited to some of their talks after their South Pole Expedition to get to the pole.
At one of their talks they asked the question “This is our Antarctica, what’s yours?”
I remember sitting there and thinking I HAVE to get to Antarctica one way or another, I could not afford to get to the South Pole (which costs around £20,000+) or indeed the North Pole in the Arctic.
Instead I opted for a trip to Patagonia of trekking and camping with some ice trekking then I would head off to Ushuaia, the most Southern city in the World and cross the Beagle channel out on a small ship, the M/S expedition (its predecessor the M/S Explorer sank in 2007) and cross the Antarctic Circle.
This we did at 66′ 33′ S after enduring the dreaded Drakes passage and the wrath of Cape Horn before setting foot and exploring the Peninsula of the Antarctic, it remains one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the privilege to get to.
That was my Antarctica.
However, it must be said that anything can be an ‘Antarctica’ in the sense that the Shackleton’s and Worsley were talking about, an adventure does not have to be in a far-flung place, it can be anywhere on the planet, including your own doorstep, it is a personal experience and it is what you make it.
When I was a student in Cheltenham, the millennium was about to descend and having not met any of the neighbours I decided to have an impromptu street party, so posted flyers through doors, then set about borrowing tables and chairs, setting up banners and bunting with food and drink.
It was a risk, I had no idea whether anyone would come, surely most people had plans….still I continued putting up more decorations and then wired up my CD player and started to play saxophone with some backing tracks.
People did come, much to my relief and not only that they came with bottles of booze including Rum a firm favourite of mine, so I was all the more delighted to welcome them all.
One lady walked up to me, she was in her mid 50’s and had a walking stick as well as being assisted by another lady (her sister) and she asked if I was the organiser then said to me “This is a great adventure”
I was baffled by this, it was after all, only a street party, thrown together at the last-minute, however it emerged that she suffered from agoraphobia and had been a prisoner in her own flat across the road for over 30 years, never going out once and relying on her family for food.
She stayed for 20 minutes and then quietly retreated back to the security of her flat.
That moment has stayed with me for many years, it really affected me, to her that evening those 20 minutes of setting foot outside her flat was an adventure, what a brave thing for her to do and what an awful time she must have had feeling trapped in her own home.
I never saw her again.
The point that I am trying to make here is that everything we do is in some way an adventure, we can choose to do more or less, some will say true adventures only really happen when things go wrong, such as the experiences that happened to me out in Costa Rica, which is by far my most challenging experience! (Costa Rica is Not included on this site as I intend to get those Diaries published)
There are the tougher Expeditions of course which are generally based on exploration and some endurance to reach the goal, an example on this site being my Vietnam Cave Expedition In Search of a Lost World.
However, I would argue that adventures exist everywhere.
I believe that anything you do can become an adventure and it is always worth doing, always, experience makes us who we are.
Get out there wherever it may be, do what you can, see what you can and experience as much as you can, while you can.