Back in 2017 I had the great pleasure of being able to see the adventurer Alastair Humphreys at my old school in Hereford. The hall for the evening talk was very full, with tickets selling out days before! The talk wasn’t an ordinary school talk by Alastair as it was fundraising for the Midlands Air Ambulance service. This had been used earlier in the year for a school pupil.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Alastair before, he is a British adventurer who has been on a whole range on adventures, big and small. The transport varies but normally includes bike, boat or hiking. Back in 2012 he was also named at one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the year.
Alastair is hugely inspiring, with great charisma and energy. One of his main themes was about the “doorstep mile” and encouraging everyone to get out and have an adventure, no matter how big or small. The “doorstep mile” refers to the very beginning of an adventure, and the challenge of actually turning an idea or dream into a reality. The first mile of any adventure is normally the most difficult, as you are thinking and worrying about the unknown, fear, challenges, financial difficulties and more!
Alastair started his first grand adventure when he was 24, having just finished university, and cycled round the world taking four years. Since then he has also been encouraging people to go on ‘micro adventures’. These are those small yet accessible adventures and can even be fitted around work from 5pm until 9am! One of his most extreme examples was when he walked a lap of the M25 in London, around 200 miles. This was even more of a challenge as it was the coldest week in the UK in 30 years! However, this showed that you can have an adventurer in just about any location!
I think the most important lesson to take from his talk is that if you have a dream, you have to trust yourself and take action. Alastair talked about when he was younger and never imagined that he could ever go on an adventure like cycling round the world. Listening to talks and reading adventure books it sometimes seems impossible or only suitable for experienced people. However everybody has to take their first step sometime and shows that the ‘doorstep mile’ is normally the hardest.
The message is clear, if you want to break up your normal lifestyle and head on an adventure, it doesn’t matter where you go or for how long but that you actually go and make that first, nerve wrecking step!
Useful links and books written by Alastair Humphreys:
- Microadventures book
- Grand Adventures book
- All books written by Alastair Humphreys
- Alastair Humphrey website
- Alastair Humphreys Instagram