I spent a glorious summer month cycling around Yorkshire, the county where I grew up. I wanted to feel how exploring locally compared to exploring distant continents.
And I was interested in the idea of ‘home’ - and whether it is possible to have a proper adventure — make a REAL journey — close to home.It turned out to be such a fantastic experience — riding through mile after mile of beautiful landscapes, discovering so many places I had never seen in all my life, and sleeping out under the stars for weeks on end. It was genuinely one of the adventuring highlights of my life. But the best part of this journey — by a long way, was the privileged opportunity of learning from so many ordinary people who have chosen to live extra-ordinary lives.
I met students and parents and pensioners. Poets, artists, athletes, teachers. An IT expert and someone who earns a living from making fancy sandcastles. A man who lived out of a van; another whose castle had been in the family for 800 years. I met a self-confessed lazy chef, and a woman midway through running 100 barefoot marathons. I interviewed a gold medal Paralympian cyclist, a couple who had cycled around the world together, and a retired lady who takes old, homebound, lonely folk out on a modified electric bicycle for a taste of freedom, adventure and feeling the wind in their hair once again. You can find my tour here and follow the journey on the Living Adventurously podcast, generously supported by Komoot: alastairhumphreys.com/podcast
On this tour, I spoke to...
Kay Willis is the director at Beyond Boundaries, an organisation that provides opportunities for people with learning disabilities in the beautiful setting of Commondale, North Yorkshire. My ride to the farm took me up and over impressive, empty moorland. It was a stunning location and extremely peaceful. The farm exuded an atmosphere of warm, welcoming kindness. I was invited in for a cup of tea amidst the busy bustle of getting ready for the day; choosing activities to get stuck into and preparing to feed all the farm animals.
Listen here - share.transistor.fm/s/cba7132c
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
On this tour, I spoke to...Mike Bagshaw is a Lancastrian by birth and a zoologist by training. He spent his working career in education, initially indoors, but then for 30 years he worked in outdoor education centres, introducing children and adults to the delights of watersports, mountaineering, forest education and how to understand and appreciate the natural world.I met Mike for lunch at the picturesque Runswick Bay, at the foot of one of the steepest hills of the summer. The pub has a strong claim to the best sea view in the country, I reckon. Over a lunch of laughter and cheesy chips, I found myself hoping that I can be like Mike when I grow up.Listen here - share.transistor.fm/s/65f7108d
On this tour, I spoke to...Simon Jackson launched the superb Moors One Hundred bikepacking event in North Yorkshire. He guided me around some of his favourite trails on a glorious day of summer heatwave. Simon has a normal job and the usual commitments of raising a family. So he has to work hard to squeeze in bursts of adventure and spending time in the wild places that he loves. I loved the story he told me about setting himself the Strava challenge of cycling every single street in his hometown.Simon is an evangelist for the North Yorkshire Moors and I could see why. We cycled over open moorland, through forests, and sweeping singletrack. It was a hell of a ride. Best of all, given that it was blazing hot, was that Simon planned our ride via a pub lunch and a return ticket on the famous Goathland steam train.Listen here - share.transistor.fm/s/daf75c90
On this tour, l spoke to...Claire Fuller is training to be an occupational therapist. She loves wild swimming and getting out onto the North Yorkshire moors for overnight camps. Finding the balance between being a busy working woman and a carefree adventurous soul can be difficult.I spent a month cycling around Yorkshire, interviewing people along the way about their perspectives on trying to live more adventurously. I'd never interviewed anyone for a podcast before; Claire had never been interviewed.But she did bake me flapjack and take me on a walk to the birthplace of Captain Cook. So I deemed this opening foray into the world of podcasting to be a success!I was interested to talk to Claire about learning to commit, about adapting to a new career after many years roaming and dabbling, and the ups and downs of being a busy 27-year-old woman who loves the outdoors and adventure. Listen here - share.transistor.fm/s/d996c3e4
On this tour, I spoke to...Tommy Banks was the youngest chef in the world to be awarded a Michelin star. The Black Swan at Oldstead was rated the best restaurant in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017.As a connoisseur of banana sandwiches and dehydrated expedition meals, this was not my usual world! But that is exactly what I was interested in on this bicycle ride: to learn about different people's worlds and ask myself how their lessons might overlap with my own.Listen here - share.transistor.fm/s/aaa87824
On this tour, I spoke to...Helen Mort is a busy woman. She is an award-winning poet and novelist, a runner and a climber. She has also recently become a mum which has transformed her perspective on living adventurously. She told me about being open to the possibilities of change in your life, and the weird way in which an expedition to Greenland can feel less daunting than staying in Sheffield at a gathering of other new parents. Listen to our chat here -livingadventurously.transistor.fm/episodes/adventure-is-being-open-to-the-possibility-of-something-changing-your-life-in-ways-you-cant-predict-living-adventurously-6
On this tour I spoke to...Sarah Lister was drifting through her twenties until a 'doorstep mile' moment of commitment saw her quit her unloved job and begin again. Today Sarah lives in a cosy cottage at the foot of beautiful fells in the Peak District National Park. She works as a coach these days and this has given her a new way of thinking, teaching her that a fresh perspective comes from asking open, non-judgemental questions. I arrived at Sarah's house in a torrential storm. I was soaking wet and a bit fed-up. So when Sarah invited me to join her for a swim in the stream cascading down the mountain behind her village I was not particularly keen. But I remembered one of life's immutable rules: you never regret a wild swim. And, sure enough, the hills were beautiful, the waterfall was bracing and bouncing and we galloped back down the hill happy, and hungry for homemade pizza. Listen to our chat here -livingadventurously.transistor.fm/episodes/what-stories-do-you-tell-yourself-about-your-barriers-living-adventurously-8
On this tour I spoke to...Sophie Stephenson was living the life she’d always wanted. She had a well-paid dream job in Australia, lived in a beautiful place and felt secure in the knowledge that this could go on, indefinitely. But she was, she realised, unfulfilled. She was not, it turned out, truly happy with this life at all.
By chance Sophie came across a reference to Nancy Kline’s book Time to Think. She described a way of being with one another that is both incredibly simple, and incredibly rare. We don’t give ourselves, or others, the freedom to think without interruption, or judgment, or time limits, or an obsession with outcomes. We limit our thinking, our conversations, our relationships and our entire lives by confining our minds.Listen to our chat here -livingadventurously.transistor.fm/episodes/we-need-to-reclaim-time-to-think-in-our-life-if-we-are-to-do-meaningful-things-living-adventurously-12
On this tour I spoke to...Thom Barnett runs Mamnick, a clothing brand passionate about cycling. The tagline is "one thing at a time, as beautiful as possible". I cajoled Thom out of bed at early o'clock and we cycled out of Sheffield together, nipping down the back alleys and cycle paths he knows so well. Over breakfast I asked the fine arts graduate about life as a fashion designer, loving what you do, and Thom's love for exploring the hills and lanes of the Peak District.Listen to our chat here - livingadventurously.transistor.fm/episodes/one-thing-at-a-time-as-beautiful-as-possible-living-adventurously-14
On this tour I spoke to...Ben Cummins is on a mission to deliver a piano from Liverpool to London. On a home-made raft. That he propels himself. Within 25 years... So far it has taken Ben seven years to push his raft the 127 miles along the canal from Liverpool to Leeds! This adventure / art project / way of life began when Ben asked himself a brilliant question, "what is it that I want from my life?"Listen to our chat here -livingadventurously.transistor.fm/episodes/what-is-it-that-i-want-living-adventurously-15