365 Days of Adventure
Introducing a guest post from Dr Gareth Andrews, our polar exploring anaesthetist. Gareth has come up with an awesome challenge for the year and one that will make his endurance training and strength and conditioning at the Basecamp worthwhile. This really is an awesome, clever and adventurous challenge. Read on:
I was poring over a map of Iceland recently, trying to find a route across the Vatnajokull glacier. This was in between listing the relative merits of different types of packraft and emailing potential sponsors. The process of planning an unsupported expedition to a remote and sparsely travelled area can be long and arduous. Somewhere in this process I came to the realisation that I spend more time planning, thinking about and dreaming of adventures than actually going on them. So, I’ve decided to put a stop to that and do something about it.
It is time to stop waiting for the next big adventure to happen. It is easy for the weeks and months to go by without doing the stuff that we love, especially with the ever-increasing time constraints of a full time job and family commitments. I like to think of myself as adventurous but I’m embarrassed to say my skis haven’t seen snow in over a year, my polar sleeping bag hangs idle in my closet and my camp stove continues to gather dust in the shed. Circumstances are rare when the planets align and you have time, money and teammates to head into the wilds on a grand adventure.
It was all these thoughts that prompted me to pledge to go on an adventure a day for a year. All you need is some spirit and a little creative thinking and you’re almost there. They need not be grand, just something to get you outside, doing something different, discovering new places. So, this year will hold everything from swimming in wild rivers, sleeping under the stars, campfire meals, identifying new birds and fish, trail running and paddle boarding to new beaches. It’s also about seeing the familiar from a new perspective, have you ever thought about walking the Spit to Manly track at night?
I’m coming to the end of my first week of the year of adventures. I’ve paddled to and snorkelled off the point at reef beach, something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve climbed a tree, photographed wild flowers with my family, been wild swimming and fired up the stove and had breakfast at a new beach. All things that I wouldn’t ordinarily have done on a busy work day. It’s incredibly liberating and I’m already excited about tomorrow. In this short time at least one thing is noticeably different, the contents of my car. New additions include camp stove, sleeping bag, swimming kit, backpack, snorkel, a spare set of clothes, rain jacket – all ready to grab at the last minute for an impromptu adventure.
This year includes bigger adventures too. Two friends and I are planning an unsupported traverse of Iceland from South to North via the Vatnajokull glacier and the first packraft descent of a glacial river from the source to the sea. Amongst these daily adventures, there’s going to need to be a significant amount of expedition training. Packrafting expeditions to New Zealand and Tasmania to improve our skills, navigation and rope courses and of course some serious strength and conditioning training at the Basecamp. Hauling heavy packs over the Vatnajokull glacier and the Icelandic Highlands will be tough and we’ll need to be in top shape.
My 365 days of adventure have been inspired by Joe and his ethos of just getting out there, getting amongst it and living a more adventurous life. I’ve also been inspired by Alastair Humphreys, an adventurer and author who came up with the concept of microadventures – small adventures, close to home. If you’re interested then I would strongly recommend you look him up.
There are only two rules for this year: go on an adventure a day and involve as many friends and family as possible. This year is all about turning from being the occasional adventurer into living a more adventurous life everyday. I’m off to a good start but I’ll need some ideas and motivation along the way. So if you’re keen and you feel like you’re sleeping bag needs airing, you’re camp stove needs a run, or you just want to watch the sunrise or climb a tree let me know, I’d be glad of the company.
© Gareth Andrews #ga365daysofadventure
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