The spirit of adventure

Adventure is found where you look for it.

Don’t believe me? If you live in a city, go exploring locally, taking photos of graffiti that catches your eye.Try to decipher the message the graffiti is attempting to share. Try and identify the signature (called a tag) used by one graffiti artist, then see if you can find it in more places.
Especially do this if you normally don’t approve of graffiti.

Adventure is not a destination, but a mindset. Depending on your mindset, you could travel* to the most exotic destination, and not have an adventure, or stay in your local area and have an adventure. It all depends on you.

*To most people, travelling is the unpleasant bit they do between where they are, and where they want to go. If only they could change their perspective, and realise the wonder that is to be found in the journey itself, their lives would be enriched.

If you ventured out on the local graffiti adventure suggested above, my bet is you will have visited places you may not have realised existed in your local area, and you’ll end up with a bunch of photos of things you may never have noticed before.

After all, how well do you really know your local area? While applying common sense, go have a look around. Use Strava, or similar, and log where you’ve been, then add those logs to your own, personal digital scratch map, to easily show where you have, and haven’t been. And once you’ve done that, go explorer the places you haven’t yet been to.

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As we start to win the battle against COVID, and the restrictions start being relaxed more, we will all have the opportunity to explore more, and further, that we could under lockdown. Use your newly-acquired skills, and widen the area that you’re exploring.

If you get to travel elsewhere in the UK, make a point of being an explorer wherever you go, and of course you should do the same when travelling abroad. Try street-food whenever you can, especially when abroad. Eat where the locals eat.

A few years ago, I was out cycling along the edge of Dartmoor. I bumped into another cyclist in Tavistock – she was in the UK on holiday, and is from Italy – and we cycled out to Lydford together, before cycling back. As she’s a tourist, I expected her to want to take loads of photos, and she certainly did.

What surprised me was the obvious enthusiasm with which she took photos of sheep in the fields. Down in south west England, sheep in fields is an utterly common thing, so I asked her about it. Her reply was an absolute eye-opener to me – she simply said that sheep in fields were a quintessentially English scene to her, and not at all common in Italy.

What was so eye-opening about her reply? I’d become blind to the wonder I see before me. I’d become jaded to life’s rich surprises, to the point where I’d simply not notice sheep in fields anymore. Valeria, in the off chance that you might be reading this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lesson you taught me.

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Since that day, I try to make a habit of taking photos of the things that can so easily be seen as boring and mundane. I deliberately try to be a tourist in my local area, and wherever I go, and I try to see the wonder. When you’re hunting for the little surprises, you’ll find them.

As my Italian friend Valeria taught me that day, adventure is a mindset. If you don’t actively seek it out, you’ll never experience adventure. Equally, if you do seek it out, you’ll find it. While walking the spine of the Andes would be an amazing adventure, why not start with smaller adventures in your local area?

 

 

 

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