re-sized Sarah Outen

O to be an Adventurer

“The hardest thing in the world to do is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex.”                Yvonne Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

I remember when friends of ours’ emigrated to Australia, they said the best thing about it was leaving their material possessions behind. Truth to tell they hadn’t left them behind, it’s just that they arrived in Australia a few months before their possessions, but the bliss of being without all their encumbrances was a pleasure they hadn’t anticipated. Needless to say, by the time their kit arrived they were heartily fed-up with sitting on camp chairs and the romance of ‘being without material possessions’ was beginning to wane… but the experience, they felt, taught them a whole lot about how materialistic we’ve all become.

Which is why Adventurers appear so romantic. They drop everything and wander off sometimes for months at a time, not appearing to miss the modern conveniences all that much… or at all.

Look at Sarah Outen. Sure, her diet left a lot to be desired and her sleeping accommodation could have been upgraded on her 8-month trip from London to the southern tip of Japan, but I don’t think she would have changed a thing about her journey. “I love adventure – the feeling of not quite knowing if or how you will make your destination, of pushing the limits and testing yourself against yourself and the elements,” she writes.  Does this look and sound like a girl who regrets accepting the challenge of kayaking, cycling and rowing around the world?

Sarah Outen – London2London via the World

A grand adventure if ever there was one – and it starts again in April, the other half of the world, from Japan to London via Canada and the USA.

The chance to get out and do something so unique is increasingly less easy. And yet there are still some adventurous souls who overcome the obstacles to do something truly unique. We’ve written about several of them. People like David Cornthwaite, Ben Shillington, Colonel Norman D. Vaughan, Mark Pollack, Eric Weihenmayer and of course the incomparable Ranulph Fiennes. That’s a mere handful of names, but adventurers one and all.

And Adventurers who are fully conscious of the world’s problems. They do their adventuring not only for themselves, but nine times out ten – to raise money for others. Even the swashbuckling Adventurists. Anybody whose read my copious articles of their adventures might think they’re a bit lightweight. A bit of a lark, but not really serious. However, on the charity scale they have just crossed the £3.5 million mark. In 8 years, with 38 events and a total of 6,639 adventurers they have raised that not insignificant sum for charity. In 2011 alone they raised £861,009.57.

Anyway, on this Spring day (what’s wrong with the world – where’s winter?) we salute them all and aspire to be more like them!

feature photo courtesy of Sarah Outen

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