Walking back to happiness, woopah, oh yeah, yeah

You’ve always wanted a bit more adventure in your life, but something’s always held you back. But guess what? I know what that something is, or more accurately, I know who it is. Yes, it’s you!

We all hold ourselves back, but usually we’re not comfortable with admitting that, so we come up with a great excuses. We say work, family, or a million other reasons stop us from having that adventure that we badly need. This is not dismissing the very real responsibilities in your life, but rather accepting that often, it remains possible to work around them.

Your very soul is crying out for you to break free and escape what can otherwise so easily become the drudgery of everyday life. Trouble is, most people think of adventure as climbing Everest, or circumnavigating the world by rowing boat, or some other epic adventure.

Now here’s the thing: while those (and a million other things) most certainly are great adventures, you don’t need to take a year out of life to walk the width of Asia. Instead, allow me to introduce you to Alastair Humphrey’s concept of micro-adventures.

As he puts it far better than I ever could: “A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.

Here’s where I share one of life’s great secrets with you: many (most?) people live their lives searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They tell themselves “If I can get to that place in life over there, I’ll be happy”, yet when they get there, they repeat the same thing, pointing a little further down the road each time. Do you recognise that in yourself?

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If you’ve ever played the computer game Sonic The Hedgehog, you will be familiar with having to collect as many golden rings as possible in the game, while overcoming obstacles.

In my view, life works much like this: instead of searching for an enormous pot of happiness that you think exists at some unspecified point in future, at the end of the rainbow, life actually presents you with lots and lots of “happy moments” in between you dodging or overcoming obstacles.

To me, the secret to happiness is to grab as many of these “happy moments” as you possibly can, because for almost everyone, there is no big pot of gold to be found, ever. Instead, we need to nourish our souls with these moments of happiness, which – once you target them – can rapidly add up.

Micro-adventures are a wonderful way to harvest loads of these happy moments, and while certainly not required, combining cycling and micro-adventuring just boosts your chances of finding happy moments.

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My advice is simple: try to go on a mini cycling tour at least one every two months. It needn’t be far, and it needn’t be exotic. Far is a relative concept – for some, a five mile ride is far, while for others a 100 mile ride is far. Just go with what feels “far enough” for you.

Remember, you don’t have to cycle all the way to your destination. Why not take a train journey to help you escape the city, then get off and go cycling?

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It is at this point where people start saying they don’t have time (they generally do), they can’t afford it (it needn’t cost you any money at all), that they don’t have the kit (use what you have) and various other excuses.

And that brings me neatly back to my starting point: most of time, the only thing limiting you is yourself.

Be brave! Do something different! Do something you are afraid of doing. Go have an adventure, even if only a micro-adventure!

Go on! Stop chasing the end of the rainbow, and have an adventure! Challenge yourself, and push your own limits!

PS: If you’re unfortunate enough to not immediately know where the words for the title of this post is from, go have a listen to this:

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