Little Adventures

The Great Adventurer in Front of the Local Library

I have a good friend who loves to live large. He’s always planning another grand adventure, from hiking the PCT from Mexico to Canada, to soloing the Northern Tier, to motorcycling from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego. I have great respect for his fearlessness and tenacity; I secretly wish I was a little more like that.

In reality though, I’m pretty boring. I’m pretty much a homebody and a creature of habit. I’m perfectly happy exploring the back roads and shortcuts around my neighborhood. I love to ride across town for coffee then take an unexpected detour to see a friend or pick up a book at the library. And when you throw weather, late trains, changing schedules, and crazy drivers into the mix, my daily multi-modal commute is plenty of adventure for me.

These little adventures of living car-lite keep my wanderlust well-satisfied. I’ve always fancied the idea of taking some grand adventure-of-a-lifetime when I retire, and maybe someday I’ll do that. But in the meantime I’m living the life I have (and love) and making the best of it by looking for a little adventure wherever I can find it.

11 Responses to “Little Adventures”

  • honza galla says:

    Hey Alan,
    I am also one of those who cannot live without planning of next adventure and without dreaming about future ones. But because only a few of us can really travel all the time (well, we can, but we are too lazy, or the family cannot live without us or so) it is important also for me to find any kind of adventure in my daily life.

    One of my last was, when I was going down in my velomobile comming to a little village and at the strat of the village there was the table showing how fast you are going. It shown 76 km/h and the sign “please, slow down” was flashing. Huge smile appear on my face. I was happy.

    Have a lot of such small adventures.

  • mike says:

    I am a fan of traveling – but I’m also averse to planes and being away from Vermont. I think its great that people want to globe trot and hike and ride – but its also a bit scary that people know the landscape (and pay to get there) halfway round the world better than they know the creeks and rocks right in their own backyard. Somehow the glamor of the travel mags rarely covers the things closest too us.

    That said – I am a big fan of self propelled adventure. Coming up is a double century ride to my inlaws – debating taking the hammock and breaking into 2 days… and I have a real desire to find or build the smallest, lightest folding bike so I can ride to local mountains in the area, fold up, throw them on my back so I can walk over the mountain and ride home from the other side.

    A great site that has severed as inspiration:
    http://www.selfpropelledoutdoorclub.com/spocmainpage.html

    -Mike

  • Croupier says:

    The thing I love most about traveling… is coming home, honestly. I love experiencing new, cool, things and exploring other parts of the country and the world but I live where I do for a reason, because I love it. It’s a real gift to be able to be happy with your station in life and enjoy that which surrounds you, everyday.
    Just because you like to do things that keep you in the house or in one general area doesn’t make you a less interesting person than Indiana Jones. It just means that you tell a different sort of story.

  • Alan says:

    @Croupier

    “It’s a real gift to be able to be happy with your station in life and enjoy that which surrounds you, everyday.”

    I did lots of traveling in my younger days. I was a travel host for a fly fishing outfitter and went to places as far flung as Christmas Island, Belize, and the Yucatan chasing saltwater fish on the fly, and all over the western U.S. chasing wild trout. But at this stage of my life, I gain every bit as much enjoyment stopping by a local creek to watch the mayflies hatch or the river otters swim by.

    Alan

  • mike says:

    Alan –

    In my younger years I would have loved your job! I got the fly fishing bug and was into it for a few years. Always wanted to travel about the west hiking into rivers and throwing flies… more as an excuse to be outdoors than to catch fish.

    That lasted until I rediscovered my childhood love of the bicycle. The fly gear has been sold, and now I seek the web for other like minded folks pedaling their lives away – whether in town or across the country.

    We’re lucky in that we live within riding distance of the lake, rivers, streams, and mountains – and that we have seasonal changes that really do change the nature of ‘local’. I do dream of riding out in CO and the NW… but that will come in time. For now I’m pleased to discover a new trail on my way into town, or see a small creek that I hadn’t noticed before… or riding a few of my local routes in reverse really changes my perspective… and really mixing it up means leaving the bike at home and walking to town. What a difference 2 feet make. Not really as drastic as getting out of the car – but nearly the same – breaking up that monotony that one falls into when the route and the ride is constant.

    Croupier – good words. Thanks for posting!

  • Croupier says:

    At 22 I am probably what most of you would call a younger guy. My current (painful) sunburn is a testament to my own love of fishing (coincidentally enough) but I feel a weird sort of kinship with people who identify themselves as Alan does here, as a “homebody” who is made happy by pretty simple, pleasant experiences (at least compared to what gives most thrill seekers that I know their kicks). Maybe I’m too young to feel that way but I can’t help it… and I’m happy. And I love this blog, so thanks Alan.

  • Apertome says:

    Nice post. I appreciate both types of adventures, but if given a choice I’d rather have smaller adventures every day than one big epic one once a year. In practice, I mostly go for the local adventures but occasionally get to do something bigger. Works for me!

  • Alan says:

    Croupier,

    You’re a man wise beyond your years. Thanks for being a part of our discussions here.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Mike

    “Always wanted to travel about the west hiking into rivers and throwing flies… more as an excuse to be outdoors than to catch fish.”

    I was like that too. I always said fly fishing was just an excuse to wade in a river and partake in the art form that is fly tying.

    A good friend of mine is one of the top striper guides out here in California, but when he’s not guiding, he’s on his boat shooting photos. He’s caught so many fish over the years, that catching one more is meaningless. He’s becoming such a good photographer that he may just hang up the waders and pursue photography full time. I find it fascinating, how people flow from one interest to the next. I think it must be a very deep-rooted human instinct to keep learning and growing.

    Regards,
    Alan

  • Terry says:

    Hi Alan
    I did the ‘great adventure’ a couple of years ago when I rode my Greenspeed from my home in Western Australia across the Nullabor plain, then up through the centre through Alice Springs. Then rode home via the Kimberly ( Broome etc) a distance of over 5000 km. One of the great desert rides…….

    The experience was unbelievable and I can’t wait to do it again. Hopefully next year when I will be 70.

    The only problem that I had with the Greenspeed was that it stopped at every Pub (bar) that it came to.

    I lost 24 kilos in weight on the ride, but my lady is the best cook on the planet so she put 26kilos right back on me.

    Come to think of it; I need to do that ride again.
    regards …….. Terry

  • andy parmentier says:

    well, the most productive fishing grounds always abut a desert. the airborne iron dust blows from the boring places to the blustery exciting sea. and ends up back there in the trading caravans load of salted fish for the desert dweller.
    so i look at north dakota in a whole new light. not that north dakota is a desert, but desert-like.
    and alan’s face looks like j.r.r tolkien’s in other words a hobbit. (sorry alan! i mean that as a compliment!) hobbits were always content with the shire. when i’m on my unicycle, the local, boring world just looks completely new and exciting. i also go for late night walks on quiet neighborhood streets (like i said, a “meaty” feeling, walking down the middle of the street-MYSELF being the burger and NOT the side walk side salad) and i was never very excited about meat, like my hunting uncle. but now that I AM the burger, the su-burgs, the suberbs just look completely new and exciting.

 
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