December 16, 2022 12 min read
As the year comes to a close and we enter 2023, many of us will be thinking about our new years resolutions. For a lot of us, this may include spending more time outdoors, doing more exercise, and taking on some adventures. Adventures can often seem daunting and unattainable for the everyday person, however this doesn’t have to be the case!Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or someone who wants to step up your adventure game, we’ve rounded up the wonderful advice given to us throughout the year by adventurers who we had the pleasure of interviewing. Whether your adventure aspirations are big or small, we hope to inspire your 2023 adventure endeavours!
"I would urge anyone to do something if you possibly can, give in to those positive urges. When something bad is happening, if you can do something positive, it will stand you in good stead and it really helps you. My advice to anyone going anywhere is learn 10 words of the local language, whatever it is, because that will immediately open up a part of people's hearts to you. You will just be getting a different kind of welcome. That would be my top tip for getting to know places quickly."
Alice Morrison is a traveller, adventurer and modern-day explorer who has been described as the ‘Indiana Jones for Girls.’ Alice was the CEO of a company and after losing funding Alice was forced to close the company down. Rather than being crushed by this experience, Alice decided to embark on adventures she never had time for in the past, including the Tour d’Afrique, a 100-day, 12,500km bike race from Cairo to Cape Town, and the toughest footrace on earth - the Marathon des Sables. This involved 6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara.
"Create an adventure that excites you. Get the maps out. Plan your journey. Whether you go solo or take a friend, you will discover far more than you expected. Take time to enjoy the open spaces and notice the little things along the way. Savour that feeling of achievement on completion and use that experience to try something bolder next time.
You got this.
Take the plunge – you’ll be so glad you did! It doesn’t need to be something huge to begin with. Take small steps and enjoy the process. Join a like-minded group or tap into the knowledge of a more experienced friend. Empower yourself with new skills and new experiences."
Girls on Hills is Scotland’s only guided trail running company designed for women, by women. They empower women with the confidence and skills necessary to break free from the road and take their running into the mountains, regardless of fitness, age or experience. Co-founders Keri Wallace and Nancy Kennedy offered some great adventure tips.
Check out the courses Girls on Hills have to offer via their website at www.girlsonhills.com.
"My favourite sort of quote, I'd suppose, is that “everyone can teach you something.” I think that really applies when you're starting out on a big expedition, or a big adventure, or anything really, ask for help. Don't be too proud, too because I think the most important thing when you're doing anything is to have a bit of a sense of humour about how rubbish you are. Because that way, you're starting from a low base, and no one expects you to be good at something. On our kayaking journey, for example, we opened our hearts and minds to the adventure community and said, look, we're doing this trip, can anyone help and we received so much support from people helping plot maps to teaching us to kayak, you know, we were basically beginner kayakers before we set off and we went to train in Wales on the River Dee and we had so many amazing people support us. It really was a journey where we were standing on the shoulders of giants. That's the beautiful thing about the adventure and outdoors community is I think people are really genuinely nice people who want to help other people experience the wonder of the outdoors. So yeah, ask for help have a sense of humour, and just remember, everyone can teach you something."
Pip Stewart is an adventurer, journalist and presenter who’s no stranger to pushing both mental and physical barriers. Pip has cycled halfway around the world, recently completed a world-first kayak journey through the Amazon with fellow adventurersLaura Bingham and Ness Knight, and survived a flesh-eating parasite.
"I think we can learn to get a lot of sustenance for mental conditions. Going on mountains can help. It's helped me. Because COVID came, and I wasn't even allowed to visit my wife. And that was barbaric. That was awful. Whoever saw to those regulations, it was just appalling. I know, I know why they did it. But I think it was completely overdone. I think being in mountains can help a great deal. But it doesn't have to be the big mountains, smaller hills will do. Just out walking, but serious walking, not just walking, having a stroll for two or three miles. I mean, walking all day. So I think there are benefits to be gained. I think I've learned that people with mental problems, as long as they can be encouraged or guided into doing these sorts of things in the mountains can have a lot of benefits. I think that's what I've learned most of all, the benefits to the mental health of doing this sort of thing is considerable. Whether it will work for everybody, of course, I don't know. I can't comment on that one. I think the NHS could use this a lot more, instead of giving pills to people, they should encourage them to get out. I mean, I love going over quite difficult mountains. But that's a very personal thing. You don't have to do that. But it's just getting out in the wild places which I find so therapeutic and it works for me so I think that could be a basis here for the health service to take on board. Once you realise the benefits of it, you won’t want to stop doing it."
The grandfather-of-four turned 80 years old in April 2020 and made it his mission to climb all 282 Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet) in 1200 days. Now, just over two years later, Nick has bagged his final Munro with more than 150 friends, family and supporters who walked with him on his final ascent. Along the way, he’s been raising money for Alzheimer Scotland and the Royal Osteoporosis Society after his beloved wife Janet was sadly diagnosed with both Alzeimer’s Disease and Osteoporosis.
"I would say just going for it is the best thing. But in terms of advice, I think one of the most important things I've done over the years is worked out where my knowledge gaps are. One of the earlier trips I did was organising a triathlon around three of the Channel Islands. I swam around Sark, I kayaked around Guernsey and then cycled around Jersey. I had no open water experience whatsoever, I had done some river kayaking, but again, not really much sea kayaking experience. Both of those things should have been huge barriers but thought everyone has to start somewhere. That attitude is one of the most beneficial things you can have when trying something new, I think we forget that everyone was a beginner at some point. For me, I was thinking about what I don’t know and what I needed to know to get this off the ground. So the swim across Sark is probably the most relevant of those three, because I was completely new to it. I didn't know enough about tides and I had to figure out how to eat in the water and all of these things. I didn't feel very confident so I had to get a support boat. I reached out to some sea swimmers and someone put me in touch with a lovely guy called Adrian from Guernsey who's like a swimming machine. He took me under his wing, and not once did he make me feel like an idiot for not having a clue.
That permission to learn is so important. You will make mistakes along the way, and that's fine. But figure out where your gaps of knowledge are and then find someone who can help. We've got the internet now so you can Google the heck out of absolutely everything and then where the information stops you can reach out and ask for help and you'll get a reply, I find that the adventure community is so lovely and helpful.
Don't be afraid to be a beginner, I guess is my most important piece of advice."
Laura Kennington has built a hugely inspiring career in endurance adventures and encouraging people to push their own limits. She is a huge believer that diving into something is the best approach and she quite literally dove into her career in adventure starting with a spontaneous cliff dive in America. Taking on over 13 crazy challenges cycling, swimming, running and kayaking in the last 8 years Laura has had to battle to overcome her inner ‘gremlins’ who like to tell her she is destined to fail.
"I think you can always find an excuse as to why you can't do it, whether it's to do with money or obligations. I think if you really want to do it, just do it. Stop using excuses about the timing not being right, or the finances not being right and just do it. If you need to get sponsors on board, you need to make a sponsorship document. That’s usually a PowerPoint with lots of pretty pictures, sponsors love pretty pictures. If it’s an A4 typed document they won’t even look at it because it’s boring. They have so many to look through. Use as few words as possible, and take some really great photos if you want to professionalise travelling. In terms of anyone just wanting to go and do anything, just stop making excuses."
Laura Bingham is a natural-born adventurer, author, and explorer who left home in her teenage years to explore what the world has to offer. Amongst many other remarkable expeditions, Laura has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, cycled across South America with no money, and most recently successfully led the world’s first expedition to locate the source of the Essequibo River in Guyana.
"Have a very clear understanding of what you're going on an expedition for. I think there are lots of ways that you can really almost prepare yourself as an individual before you go on an adventure or an expedition a lot that comes with just basic stuff, like, connecting with others who may be able to bring skill, understanding or knowledge to your expedition, whether that's with them being on it, or just, you know, you asking them, giving them a call and being like, Hey, what're your thoughts on this? I think that's a really important part of it. I learned the hard way early on and made mistakes, I guess, that perhaps were avoidable because I didn't reach out to other people and ask for help. I think that's something that people maybe overlook, not because they think they can do it by themselves, but maybe because in the unknown there’s a lot of underestimation when it comes to expeditions.
If anyone reading this wanted to just go on an expedition, then the planning of it is really important. But if anyone was reading this and just wanted to go on an adventurous hike, or go snorkelling or, you know, push themselves, I'd say definitely be bold.
Don’t be defined by the barriers of what you read on social media and things which could be considered stereotypes. For example, there are far few great, adventurous women in the media space. There's a lot out there. I've got some great friends and Megan Hine is one of them, who are unbelievable adventurers, and just really inspiring when it comes to pushing the boundaries. But it's important that you don't define your experience by limitations that you may see, you know, by comparing yourself to others, to find people who you align with who inspire you excite you, learn from them, ask questions, be curious, and build up. Learn as much as you can, and the fear of the unknown slowly diminishes because you're building up your confidence and experience and upskilling."
Lizzie Daly is an adventurer, explorer, and wildlife biologist whose passion to protect our wild spaces and care for our oceans has led her to conduct research and make wildlife films all over the world. Lizzie grew up in Wales — an outdoor lover's paradise — and that is what sparked her curiosity for the outdoors.
"Find the fun in it, there’s gonna be times when it's really shit, we live in the UK so the weather sucks, but it's finding fun in those moments as well. It's learning from those experiences and trying to keep a sense of humour when it's all going wrong. If every experience that you're having is absolutely miserable, then maybe rethink, take a step back a little bit and actually go and do something that you really enjoy doing.
Questioning, wanting to learn and curiosity are what keep an open mind and that's actually what keeps you safe in that environment. That's your survival mechanism talking because you're then able to assess the situation and the environment. Wherever you want to go with your adventures, keep that curiosity going."
Megan Hine is a survivalist and adventurer whose unique set of skills has taken her to remote corners of the world leading expeditions, presenting TV series and even consulting Bear Grylls on all things survival.
"The slower you travel, the more connected you are to the places you pass through. Just take things at your own pace and learn to get over fears and insecurities. You’ll start to trust a little bit more in the world. When I first began, I was really nervous about people that I met or putting up my tent in the wild on my own. I didn't really trust anyone or anything. And after a while, like, after a couple of weeks, and throughout my ongoing journey, I've learned that most people are good and want to help you out, very few people want to do harm. Most wild animals don't really want to do harm, either, unless you do something silly and get in their way. You just have to have a good relationship with both the landscape around you and the people around you and then travelling becomes quite simple after that.
Taking on a first big expedition is a really wonderful thing but it can also just seem so scary, and so far off. So I'm always a big fan of starting something smaller, doing something locally, and doing something achievable. And just building up some skills and confidence, and then setting off for something else. Adventures are great however we do them. I recently went off for seven or eight days and walked in Portugal and Spain, and it was wonderful and didn't really have a purpose. There’s kind of an internal value to doing things that don't have a purpose. But as a writer, I think that if there's a way to tie in something purposeful to the adventure that someone might do, it adds another dimension to it, which makes it in many ways more enjoyable and more impactful on the person doing it. It's a big exciting world out there."
Northern Irish Adventurer Leon McCarron has trekked across the world’s most incredible destinations, cycled from New York to Hong Kong, ridden a horse across Argentina, and that’s just scratching the surface.
"Probably the best advice we can give is just to start and start small… it’s so easy to put things off until next week, next month, until my friends are free to do it with me etc., or to make big plans that require too much time planning and so never get actually come into fruition. Plan something for the next free day or evening you have and just do it, even if that means you’re doing it by yourself or that it’s simply doing a slightly different/ longer walk than usual. Once you start it’s much easy to keep going and can scale up to bigger and more challenging things if that’s what you want to do."
Charlie and Jess fromThe Travel Project, foundedAchievable Adventures, a UK movement focused on altering the adventure space. They aim to break down the barriers preventing people from embarking on adventures, by creating a wide spectrum of UK-based adventures, where they head out on trips to inspire you and show you how to make the most of your spare time.
“Fear is your friend! Accept it and utilise it to keep you safe. Instead of aiming to be “fearless" aim to be courageous. Start small and work up - get out in your local area and on small walks and gradually work your way up to bigger multi-day adventures. Lots of people throw themselves in the deep end and then quit when they feel overwhelmed! Always tell someone where you’re going and research what to do in an emergency. There’s no right or wrong way to adventure, go at your own pace, stop as many times as you like and go however many miles you want. It’s about having fun and enjoying it, not feeling pressured or out of your depth.”
Alice Keegan fromAdventure Girls Club andSarah Gerrish fromWonderful Wild Women started these adventure communities, both aiming to inspire women and bring down the barriers that prevent women from realising their full potential and going on outdoor adventures.
Thank you so much for reading, we hope you have inspired you! We wish you all the very best for 2023.
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