In the last couple of weeks I have been reading (and enjoying) Alastair Humphreys’ new series of articles on Living Adventurously and I wish they had existed a few years ago.
In late 2016, when I decided to quit the regular world of work and live an entrepreneurial and more adventurous life, the word “adventurous” meant something different to me. Indeed, at the time I did not define what I was doing as such.
The decision to change my life (and live more adventurously) was probably more down to my dissatisfaction with work and a very fragile mental state. But, although I knew something was not right, I could not put my finger on what it was. I did not even mention the reason when I first “announced” my decision. The reason(s) became clear to me over time through personal reflection and through the pages of this blog.
I was burnt out, suffering from anxiety, depressed.
At the time I had recently moved back to the UK and I was once again engaging with nature and the outdoors and finding it to be both inspirational and therapeutic. So I started this site which became a sort of voice for my inner self - a rambling, directionless voice, searching for purpose and meaning.
And I found this purpose in a more adventurous lifestyle. By this I don’t mean climbing Everest or paddling down the Zambezi, I simply stepped into the unknown.
Yes, I spent more time outdoors and acquainted myself with the kind of outdoors activities I had enjoyed when I was younger, but we didn’t call them "adventure” then. They all had their own names; walking, climbing, kayaking etc...
To embark on this new life I gave up a well paid job in London, I gave up security and I gambled on myself to find a way to do things differently and to find happiness:
I decided to do more things I enjoy (yes I know this seems obvious)
I decided to be an entrepreneur (it took me nearly 2 years to say it publicly).
How I got to the point of changing the direction of my life was a couple of years of mental wrangling and torture, until I stumbled across some inspiration. Chief amongst the inspirers were Sarah Williams (about whom I have spoken before) and my best friends who got me to fly to the UK in the summer of 2015 to do the Three Peaks Challenge.
So here’s the point
It was utterly instinctive, born of exasperation, a last resort.
The landscape around mental health has certainly changed drastically in the last few years and I think people are likely to recognise and look for help more readily now. However, back in 2014, when I think my discontent truly set in, I was not able to recognise my desire to make changes in my life.
I couldn’t see the reasons and I surely could not find inspiration in others. Like many I was riddled with fear at the thought of jacking everything in. I had been on a good salary for many years and, even with savings, detaching myself from that life support was terrifying. What if I couldn’t find a way to make money? What if nobody wanted to employ me again? How long before I would have to sell the house? Would my marriage last this period of turmoil?
With the clarity of hindsight I would love to have had someone tap me on the shoulder and suggest I read Alastair Humphreys’ new series of articles on living adventurously (there we got there in the end).
Of course they didn’t exist then, but they do now. They are not about how to plan adventures but more about finding away to live a more fulfilling, less risk-averse life - whatever that may mean for each individual.
Now, given that these articles do exist, if I can be the person who taps someone on the shoulder and encourages them to read about living more adventurously I would be very happy. Perhaps they will be inspired to make the changes that lead to a happier life.