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In Conversation With... Alastair Humphreys

At first direct we're inspired by people who are forging their own paths and living their lives in less ordinary ways. That's why we've partnered with Alastair Humphreys who's smashing life in a non-traditional way.

He's an author, orator and, oh yes, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. He’s cycled around the world, rowed the Atlantic and walked across India. He's no stranger to big adventures, but is also hugely passionate about 'microadventures'.

A microadventure is like a big adventure, just quicker, cheaper and closer to home. Been thinking of exploring that forest near your flat, or trying rock climbing? Alastair's advice: just get out there and do it.

We chatted to him about avoiding the excuses which stop us from trying new things (not enough money, too busy procrastinating, etc) and how asking ourselves bigger questions like, "Am I earning money for the sake of it?" can help us re-evaluate our priorities and awaken our adventurous side. You don't need to quit your job or run horse-riding tours across the Mongolian steppe (never say never, though), just open yourself up to the possibilities waiting on your doorstep.

Here's our chat with Alastair, the first of a number of conversations coming your way soon.

In Conversation with...Alastair Humphreys with first direct

  • Alastair’s Top Tips for Becoming an Adventurer

  • Make the decision

Deciding to take the time out to do something different can be hard, but it won't get easier the longer you wait. The perfect time might never arrive, so make the decision to act and then the hardest part is over. Block out a chunk of time for your trip; there s nothing like a deadline to get you motivated. You can work out the practicalities as you go on - you'll be surprised at how easily things fall into place.

  • Start small

Adventures don't have to be Sahara Desert-sized in their proportions. There are plenty of microadventures to be had: swim rivers, cycle to the seaside, or walk the M25. If you're really pressed for time, simply take a different route to work.

  • Stop procrastinating

Don't spend ages planning and saving lots of money - just get going. We can always look for the constraints in life or the opportunities. Fewer and cheaper adventures in the near future could outweigh a more expensive one you have to wait ages for, especially when it so often doesn't happen. Put aside a small amount every week and your microadventure pot will fill up faster than you think.

  • Adventure is a mindset not a location

Wilderness and adventure await around every corner and could even be something like a new job or starting your own blog.

  • Just start

To make things happen, make them happen. The time to start is right now.

Ready for a microadventure of your own? Visit Alastair's website for some inspiration.