I am delighted to share our second interview, this time with adventurer and author, Alastair Humphreys. Among his various adventures, Alastair has biked around the world, walked across India and rowed the Atlantic. These days, he is working hard to help us rethink our rather narrow assumptions about adventures as epic time-consuming and costly expeditions in faraway places by pioneering the concept of microadventures for which he has been named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Cheap, simple, yet effective, microadventures are “short, perspective-shifting bursts of travel closer to home.” Alastair also runs a fabulous blog filled with inspiring and informative content which is sure to tickle and trigger your wanderlust. He has a delightful new film on vimeo about an imaginary journey round Scotland, linking together wild bothies and landscapes. Connect with Alastair on Twitter @Al_Humphreys.
WHAT WAS THE LAST EXPERIMENT YOU RAN?
The microadventures I have been doing in the last few years have become very popular and people are now far more interested in me than they were back when I cycled round the world and was working hard to make a go of the world of epic expeditions. I find it amusing that people are more interested in me sleeping on my local hill for a night! So that felt like quite a big risk when I switched direction.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FEAR AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR FEAR?
I fear getting old, wasting my opportunities and my potential. I am not sure I manage it very well. It makes me rather incapable of relaxing or having fun! I suppose I manage it by trying to do something about it: I don’t want to get old and regret things, so I try to just get on and do stuff rather than just dreaming about it.
WHAT BREAKS AND DELIGHTS YOUR HEAR? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN AND SURRENDER TO?
People achieving extraordinary things in their field. This often manifests itself through elite sport, but I also loved the film The Theory of Everything for those reasons. I’m also really moved by wild, empty, quiet and beautiful places. I wanted to combine wilderness and doing something extraordinary through my expeditions.
WHAT IS THE MOST PROVOCATIVE IDEA YOU’VE COME ACROSS IN THE PAST DECADE?
I’m not sure this is quite what you are looking for, but the increase in our sedentary lifestyles, screen addiction, getting fat and unfit and disconnected from the world’s wild places all make me frightened, sad, angry, and determined not to end up that way myself.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT A TRANSFORMATIONAL MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE?
Climbing on my bike outside my front door to cycle round the world was a key moment. A minute before I was someone who had never done anything exciting, but dreamed of it. And now, here I was, actually doing it.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO LIVE A GOOD LIFE?
To make the most of your potential and your opportunities. To be kind and to make the world a little better than you found it. To laugh a lot with friends.
COULD YOU SHARE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE ABOUT THE ART OF BEING HUMAN?
When you look at successful people, do not make the mistake of thinking that they are better than you in anyway. And do not make the mistake of equating success with guaranteed happiness.
WHAT IS YOUR DRIVING QUESTION?
How can I make my life as full as possible?
ANY BOOKS OR MOVIES YOU RECOMMEND?
Thank you, Alastair!