The Anthem of the Adventurer

S2 E7: A life full of adventure w/ Alastair Humphreys

Episode Summary

Alastair Humphreys is a British Adventurer and Author. He has been on expeditions all around the world, travelling through over 80 countries by bicycle, boat and on foot. He was named as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the year for 2012. Today he joins us to talk about the power of microadventures in our lives, using those hours after our 9-5 jobs to enrich our lives and challenge ourselves. You're going to want to listen to this one a few times!

Episode Notes

Today, we talk about how to live a life full of adventure, especially as a husband and father of young kids. Our guest today is living this out, and we talk about the ups, downs, and messiness of living this kind of life everyday. You'll learn some practical approaches to incorporate into your daily practice that will help you fight for the adventure in your life!

Alastair Humphreys is a British Adventurer, Author and Blogger. He spent over 4 years cycling round the world, a journey of 46,000 miles through 60 countries and 5 continents.
More recently Alastair has walked across southern India, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, run six marathons through the Sahara desert, completed a crossing of Iceland, busked through Spain and participated in an expedition in the Arctic, close to the magnetic North Pole. He has trekked 1000 miles across the Empty Quarter desert and 120 miles round the M25 – one of his pioneering microadventures. He was named as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the year for 2012.

Alastair has written 11 books. Here's a link to his book "My Midsummer Morning" which we discussed in the interview: https://www.amazon.com/My-Midsummer-Morning-Rediscovering-Adventure/dp/0008331820

Alastair is a patron of these charities:

Website: www.alastairhumphreys.com
Twitter and Instagram: @al_humphreys
 

Full Bio:
Click here.

 

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alastairhumphreys/26486442982

Episode Transcription

Dan Zehner  13:38  

Welcome to another episode of the anthem of the adventure. I'm so excited to talk with our guests. today. We have Alastair Humphries all the way from the UK is been a really great inspiration towards this life full of adventure that we all want. And he's written a few books, one of them that you probably have heard of, if you've been in this world for you. any length of time is micro adventures all about these small, low risk, we would call them casual adventures you can get out and do in your backyard tomorrow that are so fulfilling, and looking forward to unpacking that as well as everything else that Alice has got going on in his life and in his adventure shed where he's coming from today. Alastair, welcome. Great to have you here today. Thank you for having me. Oh, man, I'm so excited to talk to you been following you for a while and I'm looking forward to digging into everything that you've got going on your world adventurously. But as you know, I love to set the stage for our time together with a challenge. So what would you challenge myself and the audience to do over the next couple of months during this season, to practice some perseverance in a low risk environment?

 

Alastair Humphreys  14:52  

Okay, well, I think one of the things that gets in the way of most people's adventure dreams and their dreams of an event lifestyle is the nine to five, nine to five, daily working life gets in the way. So my challenge is to shift the way that you think about things. So instead of looking at the burden of the nine to five, flip it around and look at the opportunity from 5pm until 9am. I know where we have busy lives, but in theory, we have 16 hours of day, every day when we're not at work in theory. So I would challenge you to use that time by finishing work one day, and instead of going home to watch TV, head out of town, or do it in your backyard or wherever you want, but just sleep outdoors for the night. On a school night, so work night, get up in the morning, go back to work. And when your office office colleagues say to you "did you do anything interesting last night?", for once you don't have to lie and pretend that you're interesting. And for once you say Yeah, actually last night I slept on the hill I slept in the wood, I slept in the trees and you can be sure everyone will think you're absolutely crazy. Easy but equally you will remember that a year from now so that's my challenge a five to nine overnight micro adventure.

 

Dan Zehner  16:07  

That's awesome

 

I love that challenge. And that's but that's a I haven't done it yet on a weeknight but even just camping out in the backyard with the kids. There's just something about, you know, look at that. There's a bat and you know,

 

Unknown Speaker  16:54  

yeah,

 

Alastair Humphreys  16:55  

yeah, I think you know, sleeping in the backyard, gives you 60 5% of the benefits of sleeping out in Yosemite, you still get the stars and the birds and the bats and the wind and the breeze and the temperature changes. So you can do that wherever you happen to live. And I think that the notion of doing it on a school night, like a working day, really, really helps shift your perspective on what is possible with your time. Um,

 

Dan Zehner  17:22  

yeah, it's, that's, that's so true. And, I mean, you got you got a couple of kids, and we'll talk about your family here in a minute. But you know, just how does that like, show up for your kids? I know my son will be like, Oh, we could do that tonight. Awesome.

 

Unknown Speaker  17:40  

Yeah, I'm the you know, people often ask me for advice about adventures with kids. And I generally back to that back to them and say the problem isn't the kids kids will do whatever you want them to do, as long as you keep them warm and have some candy to bribe them with here and there. They'll do pretty much anything and they'll love it. The problem is you boring old Adult who's overthinking everything and, and thinks, yeah, that's so yeah, kids love all of this sort of stuff. They love adventure, they still have the adventurous spirit, they haven't yet had it beaten out of them by society and convention and the expectations of what we should be doing with our, our days or weeks and therefore our lives.

 

Dan Zehner  18:19  

That's, that is really true. And we should put that on a T shirt if it isn't already.

 

So how does this show for you and your family it tell us a little bit about kind of your family makeup and how you guys embrace this regularly?

 

Alastair Humphreys  18:35  

Well, we, I don't

 

Unknown Speaker  18:37  

think we do anything very out of the ordinary really, we're pretty normal family with two young kids and they do normal stuff like soccer and gymnastics, and I spent half my time driving around doing that sort of thing. And then what I suppose I do try and do is when I pick them up from school at three o'clock every day is we cycle home from school, we don't drive and Then we haven't got a car but we don't drive home from school we cycle home. And then I try and keep them outside in the garden. I'm trying to make our garden the most dangerous garden in the village I've got rope swings and gymnastics bars. I've put it put in a zip wire. Cool. I'm just trying to make it dangerous really. And then you get them to use their imagination. So I get a load of ropes and stuff and we try and figure out what we can do with it. And a lot of it doesn't work and the stuff that does work stays up and the stuff is rubbish we take it down and try and imagine something different than next time. And and we quite often camp out in the garden. We get a little area where we can make fire so we burn lots of things. Kids like playing with fire. Oh yeah. So do I. And yes, we quite often just have evenings out burning stuff.

 

Dan Zehner  19:49  

That sounds fantastic. And

 

Unknown Speaker  19:51  

and then in the summertime, I bought a canoe on eBay and really cheap, big plastic canoe, but I got I was getting impatient because I kept getting out beers by just a few pounds. So I decided to gamble and I upped my steak and to speed things up, I bid on two canoes at once and then I accidentally won them both. So I have to confess this to my wife, and then pay for two canoes, but we've actually realized that's a brilliant additional accessories, it means we can take other families with Yeah, and what I've really enjoyed is taking normal families like friends of ours who don't really do adventurous stuff and seeing for them what a big deal it is to have a mom a dad and two kids in a canoe for a couple of hours and see some fish and kingfishers and birds and, and then jump off a riverbank into a river. I mean, I sometimes take all this stuff for granted because I've been doing it for my whole adult life. But I it's a very good reminder for me that for many people, we need to start really, really, really small. So it's a good way of resetting my brain to start small on adventurous thinking.

 

Dan Zehner  21:00  

Yeah I'm kind of very similar like I'd say I'm just getting started on living a more adventurous life and even I forget sometimes like oh yeah we gotta gotta start way smaller than you know going for overnight GORUCK challenge or something like I try to bring people along crazy stuff like that. So, you talk so, what are some some other ways you can you can bring you know kind of will say the people who are still in the matrix know along for for some of those adventures you talk about kind of canoeing what what else have you been able to do with your neighbors and friends and family.

 

Alastair Humphreys  21:44  

I actually I, I actually like to leave canoeing out of this because canoeing does require buying something expensive, yeah, and safety gear and learning not how to die. So I think actually for the purpose of this conversation is probably a good one to forget about, and focus on the stuff that's much cheaper and easier, as in free. So one thing I've been doing this year, which I'm really enjoying is, every month I'm climbing a tree. And I scheduled this into my, into my computer calendar. So, first Tuesday of the month and a half past nine in the morning thing, the notification pops up. And like everyone, I spend most of my days battling with my calendar and pop ups and emails and all that sort of boring, crazy stuff. And but I like this one once a month thing, go climb a tree, and I have to stop my email, walk outside, go climb a tree near to where I live. And I climbed the same tree every time and I claim climate up to the same point every time and I've set up my camera at the bottom to take a picture. So which is not necessary, but I enjoy that part. So but what I like about it is that it's reminded me to pay attention to the seasons. Winter becomes spring becomes summer, and quite often when you're living a busy busy life you kind of figure Get Yeah, stop. And notice that even just I mean, when was the last economic a listener could ask themselves when is the last time I just sat still for more than two minutes outside? probably pretty rare for most people. So I climb this tree, I look around, I notice how the seasons changed. It gives me a chance to reflect on what happened in the last month and a chance to imagine the month ahead of me 10 minutes come back down the tree, back to the onslaught of email. So that is a tiny 20 minute dose of adventure in the natural world and physical movement. And every single month and I love trying to schedule and and things like that into my life, because we're all so busy. I think you have to actually schedule in time to not be busy, which is ridiculous, but that's the world we live in.

 

Dan Zehner  23:51  

Yeah, it's really crazy, but it's so true. I mean, we were talking before we started the recording proper about this retreat. It was on the Wild at Heart Boot Camp a little while ago and talked about feels like forever ago it was really only two weeks ago. One of the one of the talks there was about the adventure to live and how you know, these casual adventures like climbing a tree or, or going for a canoe or sleeping outside, you know, in your backyard. They're so simple seeming, but you've got to fight for them.

 

Unknown Speaker  24:24  

Yeah, I think

 

Alastair Humphreys  24:26  

it is you need to carve out time and you have to decide what is important and two words I learned the meaning of a while ago, very similar, but it's important and urgent and they are, they superficially seem like very similar words. But if you follow the path of urgent or important it probably won't change your day. But if you follow the path of urgent for a year or five years or 10 years or 20 years, you'll end up in a very different place to following the path of important for a day a year. decade so I trying to decide what is important in your life versus what is urgent is a very good reason to everything yeah actually I'm going to go climb a tree for 10 minutes or I am going in my lunch hour to go swimming a river that's another thing that I really love doing is just jump jumping in rivers all through this all through the year. We don't get quite as cold as you guys but

 

you know you never regret a good chilly swim.

 

Dan Zehner  25:27  

That's a really good point we actually do have a pretty nice river for jumping in like five minute drive from my office that like being interest Well, that's a

 

Alastair Humphreys  25:36  

great challenge for you. Cool man

 

Dan Zehner  25:39  

called. Okay,

 

Alastair Humphreys  25:41  

Challenge accepted.

 

Dan Zehner  25:43  

Yeah, I'm gonna have to remember to bring a towel and a lot of tea for afterwards. Yeah,

 

Alastair Humphreys  25:47  

but you do want do it now before it gets really cold and and just notice when you get back to your desk one however, will think you're weird and to how good you feel.

 

Dan Zehner  25:57  

Yeah, you know, it's really it's really funny. Talking about with with some friends. So just started a new part of my job and a new boss and my previous supervisor worked for like he was kind of used to be like saying, Hey, I gotta go carry something heavy in the woods for a little while I'll be back. And he was fine with it. But she is not quite gotten that. That that is important to my productivity yet. Yeah, I haven't been able to prove that to her. So I'm like trying to figure out how to have that conversation with her and like, Look, I know this is weird, but it really helps me be a better person for you during the day. If I go do something crazy like jumping a river and much.

 

Alastair Humphreys  26:43  

I've noticed that the become times kind of like now when I'm chasing a book deadline that become times when I suddenly start to think I'm so busy. I need to cut all these things out. But the times when I noticed that I'm too busy to go climb a small hill and watch the sunset for 10 minutes if I'm too busy. To do that, that's what I know I really need to do that that's when it becomes really important. You know, your long summer vacation when you're off on holiday somewhere that of course you can climb the hills and that's lovely. But to squeeze that into a busy November day, that is when it has much greater reward factor, I think. Um,

 

Dan Zehner  27:22  

yeah, it's, it's so true. I can't remember what what the quote is from but kind of about meditation where if you think you can't meditate for 10 minutes, you need to meditate for an hour.

 

Alastair Humphreys  27:31  

Yes, that's true. Yeah. If you don't have time to meditate for 10 minutes to meditate for now. Yeah, it's very true, isn't it?

 

Dan Zehner  27:38  

Yeah, that's it's just as important to for for adventure as as, you know, spending time in silence.

 

Alastair Humphreys  27:45  

I think, you know, in my in my life, they are essentially doing the same job much at the time. So I've done phases of meditation, but I also like the Japanese word Shin Rin Yoku, forest bathing. Oh, Yeah, lovely words. So I get the things that I would recommend meditation for I also get from going for a walk in the woods or jumping in a river. I think it does the same kind of job for me.

 

Unknown Speaker  28:14  

Yeah, it's

 

Dan Zehner  28:16  

just really refreshing to your heart. I love that forest baiting concept I've done that I don't Well, except for out in Colorado for a while of just going for a walk in the woods and just be like, wow, that that tree is a really cool color or Oh, man, that's a really interesting song sound of the bird or the rustling of the leaves in the wind and just paying attention to those things and not like rushing through it.

 

Alastair Humphreys  28:41  

Yes, yeah, cuz I do actually spend a lot of time running in the woods. I love running as fast as I can, because I'm busy and raw, but it's also good to stop, isn't it and just slow down.

 

Dan Zehner  28:53  

That's so good. Is that kind of how us kind of do have a a spectrum of adventure that you incorporate into your life and how do you kind of navigate that?

 

Unknown Speaker  29:07  

And

 

Alastair Humphreys  29:09  

I think I have what I kind of wish list of adventure, which would be I'd love to spend six months on my bicycle cycling a lap of the United States, for example, but that's not very realistic amount. So got two young kids, then I think, right, can I go? Can I squeeze away four days in the mountains of Scotland cycling, and perhaps I can justify this if I can turn it into a book chapter or sell it sell an article because then I have a sort of advantage in the adventure is my job. So sometimes I have to go away and do cool stuff in order to earn money. So I'm very fortunate in that sense. But then there most of the time, I'm just living normal, normal middle aged dad life, which involves being really busy driving kids to gymnastics class and then having then squeeze adventuring around the margins of my own life. So, these days I, my thoughts aren't really on six month bicycle journeys, they're more on the wall here, I just stuck up, start the year the local hiking trails for about probably a 10 mile circle around my home. So now when I'm kind of bored on conference calls, this is what I look at. I know that there's a little woodland that haven't been to all the hiking trails that lake so just smaller and smaller, local squeezing in of adventures what my life has become these days. But I think it's really important that the times when you're too busy to have big adventures, doesn't mean you should therefore do no adventures. Doing something small is significantly better than doing nothing. Exercise, adventure, meditation, healthy eating, all those sort of things, doing something small is far better than doing nothing.

 

Dan Zehner  30:53  

Yeah, it's and there's a dignity in those small adventures to its you know, we glamorize The, you know, climbing of Everest and biking across America or like a friend of the show, Dan Greg did just recently completed last year circumnavigating Africa and a jeep. You know, we glamorize that kind of stuff. And those are great. But it sometimes takes away the dignity and the joy of micro ventures, small casual stuff.

 

Alastair Humphreys  31:24  

Well, that's what that is specifically what led me to starting to do micro ventures because I noticed that I used to spend time doing big stuff. I spent four years cycling around the world, I've walked across India, I rode across the Atlantic Ocean. I've done expeditions up in the Arctic Ocean in the North Pole. So I used to this big sort of stuff. And I noticed that the people who are reading my books on my blog, they, a lot of people like this sort of stuff, but thought it didn't apply to them. It's like I love this adventure, but that's because you're an adventure. I'm a normal guy. Therefore, I don't do this sort of stuff. So I wanted to try to break down those barriers of entry and essentially say if it feels like an adventure to you. And it isn't adventure, it's still a valid adventure with purpose and meaning probably more purpose and meaning to me who spends who spent 10 years gallivanting around the world. So yeah, trying to make it trying to give people permission, essentially saying that if it feels like an adventure to you, then that's great. Don't go comparing yourself to the bloke who had the good fortune and the tenacity to spend a year driving around Africa because that's not normal. Yeah, little bit is not normal.

 

Dan Zehner  32:35  

Yeah, absolutely. And it's really important to realize, actually, I'll try something on with you. I've been kind of working on distilling down with the help of a Navy SEAL friend of mine who's really good at precise language, just what an adventure is. And what we found was, adventure is any experience where you learn by prep by persevering into the unknown and finding fulfillment How's that land for you?

 

Alastair Humphreys  33:02  

I can go shorter. Adventure equals risk plus purpose.

 

Dan Zehner  33:07  

Oh, I love that. Yes. Yeah, and it doesn't have to be big risk. It doesn't have to be massive purpose. But it's still an adventure.

 

Alastair Humphreys  33:21  

Yeah, I like the notion that you need a little bit of both those aspects to it because you can get risk by doing something really stupid, which is a bit dumb. And you can get purpose by sitting behind the desk and solving malaria or something but the adventure comes I think with combining a bit of risk and a bit of purpose and, and the magnitude of that is up to you, I suppose. Um,

 

Dan Zehner  33:46  

that is really good and can even help you know reframe how you do the nine to five, don't you think?

 

Alastair Humphreys  33:55  

Yeah, perhaps he can. Yeah, I mean, certainly. So for example, my tree climbing thing that I'm doing once a month I'm enjoying it. And it's fun and it's a bit of time in nature. But I've also made sure that I always climb to the same points in the tree in the final bit, terrifies me every month. So it's about five seconds when I have to really, really concentrate and I really, really have to do the move, right? Because if I don't, it's going to be really, really painful. So that deliberately to just add a little bit of oomph to the purpose of being up in the tree.

 

Dan Zehner  34:32  

Hmm, I love that. And another thing I'm really appreciating about you, you've created this environment where adventure is just part of your daily and even your shed where you do a lot of your work just has things around you that is like oh, yeah, you know, you got that map on the wall of pins and places you want to go. What else have you incorporated into your environment to kind of jumpstart you know, can be smelling salts if you will, to your brain like oh yeah, adventure

 

Alastair Humphreys  35:02  

like, I kept I collect stuff those collect bits of wood.

 

Dan Zehner  35:08  

Okay places.

 

Alastair Humphreys  35:10  

So I collect all sorts of things like some driftwood and some weird volcanic rock thing and host chestnut so I collect stuff. So when I'm just at my desk, doing emails, I can feel these things and remind me of why am I here? Am I here to answer these emails? Or am I answering the emails in order that I can then get on and do the stuff that I love and trying to have some sort of sense of urgency on it. So I also have a few quotes above my desk, one of which is one day or day one, you decide. So I like I really like that. And then that's from Paulo Coelho, the guy wrote

 

Unknown Speaker  35:53  

the alchemist and then what a great book,

 

Alastair Humphreys  35:56  

the life that I could still live. I should live From Germany and that's it. So there's a few things I have I suppose that just remind me to get on with it. Now, there's that saying that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. So yeah, I think I've tried to not defer my adventurous life, but just do what I can with what I've gotten. Do it now, as best as possible. Um,

 

Dan Zehner  36:27  

yeah. It's all it's so important to cultivate that. And I love those were reminders. I took back a couple of little small rocks from our trip. We went to Normandy in June, and on Omaha Beach, there's these really amazing, almost bright white rocks that have been tumbled in the ocean for goodness knows how long and found a couple of those that just remind me. Oh, yeah, you know, I did that. I want to do more of that.

 

Alastair Humphreys  37:02  

Yeah, I think one thing I've worked really hard at is trying to build a habit of living adventurously to just you know, when I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth. And I've done that since I was about eight and my parents Stop yelling at me so and that's just become a habit. And we have so many habits that life some good, some bad, some just that we don't think about. And I've tried to just build up over 20 years the habit of if I see a trail climate, if I see when I'm on a train, I'm always looking out the window thinking that'd be a great place to camp. But I make pins on my Google Maps as I drive saying, hey, this would be a good river to Come explore some time. So just trying to make the daily habit of having an adventurous mindset, I think has been a helpful thing for me over the years. If I take it for granted, you know, I think it's completely normal. And then I meet a lot of people who just think I'm so weird, and that reminds me that actually what I'm doing is not normal. Most people Not going about life the same way but that's fine I'm old enough to be quite happy to be the village weirdo these days.

 

Dan Zehner  38:07  

Yeah this is part of what makes life interesting is like you know if everybody was the same then nothing would be interesting. yes

 

Alastair Humphreys  38:17  

yeah when everybody somebody that nobody's anybody

 

Dan Zehner  38:20  

Yeah, absolutely that's that's a really good quote that should be on a T shirt to what have you seen an instant you know your work past 20 years or have a living this kind of life of others who have followed along? He has some cool stories of people who are like wow, I read this that you wrote and I started sleeping out on a hill and it led to this.

 

Unknown Speaker  38:44  

Yeah, and

 

Alastair Humphreys  38:46  

the micro adventure things interesting. When I started I was a bit worried I kind of thought I just about got to the point where I'd established a sustainable career is it tough guy adventurer, and I started which essentially revolves around doing stuff that's really hard and then showing off about it. And I started to I worried that changing to just going to sleep on local hills and swimming local rivers would be not very interesting to people, but actually, it's really, really resonated and connected with far more people than me doing something big and daft and stupid. So, I think what I've what I enjoyed was just the springing up for example of Facebook group. So there are over 40 Regional Facebook groups in Britain of people doing micro adventures in the areas that they live and anecdotally, I get lots of emails from people talking about it, helping change their lives. So from solving what not solving that's a big word but helping with things like depression or drifting apart from their family or not connecting with their kids because their kids are just on screens and and just being a little stepping stone towards people just shifting their mind. set to be more adventurous. And I think that comes about by me trying to make micro ventures so small that everyone can feel included. Hmm.

 

Unknown Speaker  40:12  

That's really great, I think.

 

Alastair Humphreys  40:15  

Yeah. And, and, you know, I thought the idea would go away I thought I did. I started doing micro ventures then I did a year of micro ventures did a bunch of challenges.

 

Unknown Speaker  40:26  

Then I wrote a book about it and make films.

 

Alastair Humphreys  40:28  

And then I was like, I'm done with this now I need to go do something else. But people just its own now except that I missed a micro venture and that this is an idea which has got legs and is useful to lots of people. And ultimately, that's much more rewarding for me than people. Then a few people Oh, you're amazing. She walks across the desert and that's great, but kind of pointless. It's good for me, but it doesn't really do much for anyone else.

 

Dan Zehner  40:51  

Yeah. And actually I guess it something else I wanted to ask you about is it Did you ever have an adventure where you know afterwards, you're like, you know, the risk I took really wasn't worth the story. It didn't it didn't fit into my larger story or in the largest story of the world.

 

Alastair Humphreys  41:06  

I didn't have it for any expedition overall, but there are certain incidents that stick out and one that's always really stuck out in my mind just across the Iceland about 10 years ago by foot and by these little inflatable boats or pack rafts and those this bit of river that we needed to paddle the two of us, and it was really epic. It was really hardcore, and we were both really afraid. And we were thinking Xiaomi pad little Xiaomi walk around. And in the end, I thought to myself, this looks so cool on YouTube, this will be awesome. So I'm going to do it. So I get in the boat and set off paddling it flip terrified, get myself out. The water is the nearest I've come to dying. I could charging up the riverbank, blow my whistle to stop my buddy coming down when he gets out. We're both terrified and that was such a dumb idea. And two interesting points that one forgot to press record on my camera and to it taught me a lesson that I should not be doing things to impress other people so ever since then I've always asked myself anything I do I say to myself, would I do this if nobody ever found out? And if the answer is still yes then that means that it does actually feel personally beneficial to me and I'm not I'm not just doing it to impress the internet

 

which is a dumb way of operating.

 

Dan Zehner  42:30  

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. As it's so hard to you know, not pay attention to the vanity metrics you know of likes and posts and shares and podcast listens and things. When for me it's my latest addiction is Amazon reviews.

 

Alastair Humphreys  42:51  

Come out this summer and get first review five star yeah got loads of five stars. I caught up to add 49 five star reviews, no other reviews. And then someone gave me a one star review. Amazon reviews suck. I'm no longer interested in reviews. You have to learn to take the good ones with the bad ones, I suppose. But yeah, that's my, my secret. vanity metric is Amazon reviews these days, which is good,

 

Dan Zehner  43:17  

but it happens, you know, don't get stuck into you know, we we have a need for validation, right. And sometimes we look for it in the wrong places. But that's another great segue into what was that book about? And what book are you currently working on that we can look forward to?

 

Alastair Humphreys  43:35  

That book was, I think in light of this conversation, interesting when it's called My Midsummer Morning, and in the 1930s, a young British guy called Laurie Lee walked through Spain playing his violin to earn money. And he wrote a beautiful book just before the Civil War beautiful book called as I Walked out one Midsummer Morning, and I've always loved that book. And I've always wanted to recreate it, but I can't play the violin. I'm not musical at all. And so it just been lingering in my mind for years. And then to fast forward 15 years and I'd realized that you know, I spent years now hiking cross countries and cycling concerts and stuff and and actually, I'm very good at that because I've been doing for 20 years so in many ways normal adventure isn't an adventure for me anymore. Normal adventure is me in my comfort zone.

 

And if I want to get out of my comfort zone, if I want to get back to living adventurously

 

risk plus purpose, then I need to look differently and adventure. And what I needed to do, I realized in order to risk failure and fear and vulnerability was the violin. So I spent a month hiking through Spain, with my violin, no money, no credit card, only my terrible, terrible, terrible violin skills. I mean, I'm really bad, like a six year old kid. So that was an exercise and terrifying both stability. And yeah, so I wrote a book on my mid summer morning about that, but it's also about the topic of how can I live adventurously and also be a good stay at home dad, which might resonate with you. So

 

Unknown Speaker  45:20  

yeah.

 

Alastair Humphreys  45:22  

And that was the that was the heart of the book really,

 

Dan Zehner  45:26  

really awesome. And I'm immediately putting that in my Amazon cart.

 

Alastair Humphreys  45:31  

If you get the audible version, you can listen to some of my violin and actually, the film that I made of the trip has just gone on YouTube. It's called my mid summer morning on YouTube. So if you want some really bad violin playing, listen to that.

 

Dan Zehner  45:43  

Oh, yeah, we will make sure to put a link to that in the show notes so everyone can assault their ears with bad violin and

 

Alastair Humphreys  45:52  

I must say the book I'm writing moments and I'm not just saying this for a full on sales plug the book that I have Currently is in this call sheet of paper, hopefully in a month's time will be an actual book. And it's called the doorstep mile. And the doorstep mile is a Norwegian phrase which is so helpful in my life. The Norwegian say that the doorstep mile. So stepping across your doorstep is the longest mile of any journey. So I love that phrase. Get yourself out the front door, take that first step. And it's a great thing for say, runners, you think I can't be bothered to go running, you make a deal itself? Okay, I'll put on my running gear. And all I have to do is take one step out of the house, and then I'm allowed to come back in and watch TV. And you know, of course that once you put your running clothes on and you take the step out the door, you think you're

 

Unknown Speaker  46:43  

good to go. Yeah.

 

Alastair Humphreys  46:45  

So I'm writing a book, which is about the idea of dreaming up big adventurous ideas, dealing with the barriers, lack of time or lack of money, that and all the demons and fear in our head, the imposter syndrome that stops us doing stuff. And then saying right now take one step out your front door, and then that's pretty much the end of the book. I don't think there's much more to say after that.

 

Yeah, that's what I'm trying to trying to finish off at the moment.

 

Dan Zehner  47:11  

That's awesome. And there's a really good quote from I think is I can't remember the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. It's Bilbo Baggins either way, you know about you know, you take a step out your front door and you never know where you're gonna get swept off.

 

Alastair Humphreys  47:24  

dangerous place out there, Frodo. Yeah, yeah, exactly. That I have that one, the opening page of the book. Yeah, it's a good one. It's it's a really good reminder of you just you just never know.

 

Dan Zehner  47:36  

Ah, and I think that is the perfect place to to end our time together. Just you know that getting out that first step is really the the most important part.

 

Alastair Humphreys  47:52  

Yeah. And interestingly, well, maybe I say, I don't know if it's interesting, but a way of wrapping this up in terms of me telling your story. mean a river in your lunch break is that the first chapter of this book, I've written the story of someone who really wants to go swim in this river and it gets to the riverbank and he stands there and it looks cold. And when you take that when you take that jump in, because you know, it'll feel great once you've done it, but I've jumping in it's good. So I think jumping in and river is a good metaphor for life.

 

Dan Zehner  48:22  

Um, it really is me to remember tomorrow morning to pack  swim trunks.

 

Alastair Humphreys  48:27  

Yeah, send me a picture.

 

Dan Zehner  48:29  

Yes, absolutely. Yep. Cool, it's gonna be cold but it'll be good. Well, look forward to that a hack swim trunks writing on my to do list right. So where can folks find you and follow along with with your adventures. As we wrap up our time today?

 

Alastair Humphreys  48:53  

I've spent far too much time trying to take over the internet. So if you type in Alister Humphries into whatever corner of the internet You like social medias, blogs, YouTube, Amazon, all those other things I should turn up. So if you can remember Alastair Humphries, you should find me where you look for me.

 

Dan Zehner  49:10  

Awesome. And it's "ala" not "ali" like I tried. My Yes, right. Remember the a part? So yes,

 

Alastair Humphreys  49:16  

most people spell it wrong. So I think Google's figured that out as well, these yeah, hopefully Google will help you out there.

 

Dan Zehner  49:22  

Well, Alastair, this has been fantastic. I really, really glad we got to connect. And thank you so much for all your inspiration. And, you know, the budding friendship that we started. It's just been really great to get to chat with you and good luck with the book. I can't wait for it to come out and looking forward to reading midsummer morning in the meantime.

 

Alastair Humphreys  49:41  

Thank you very much. I've really enjoyed our chat. Thank you.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai