According to Google Maps, it’s 3.5 miles, 5.6km. Not very far. You’ll be pleased (disappointed) to know that I didn’t walk back home to China from the UK. Google Maps suggested 1 hour and 7 minutes. We did it in 1 hour and 20 minutes to include an extra little detour (got lost). It was also done late evening, when everybody was watching Doctor Who, scrolling up and down their phone yawning and getting ready for bed. It can hardly be counted as an adventure, even a micro one. But in the middle of still very cold February you can’t expect me to sleep on a cliff top (or in my garden even). So a long walk home will do.
So why did we walk 1 hour and 20 minutes home in the dark? You can blame (thank) my favourite magazines.
Country Walking started a #Walk1000Miles challenge in January 2014, encouraging people to have big and small walks, during holidays, weekends and at lunch breaks over a year. It’s the beginning of a New Year now. The miles are cleared to zero and the challenge continues. I don’t think I’ll walk 1000 miles in 2015. But I’d like to keep a record of the walks I do and see how many miles it is at the end of the year.
In Country Walking December 2014 issue, there is an article on night walking, called Follow the Stars. The author says, “Whatever the truth of the Star, what has always captured my imagination as a walker is the adventure it gave to the Three Wise Men. The idea of crossing a huge swathe of the Far and Middle East, but only travelling at night, fascinated me.” That’s very true! I never thought about it that way. For me, at the moment at least, night hiking is definitely too much – it’s cold, dark, potentially dangerous, with no views. Ultimately, I love my bed. So a walk along flat city streets with proper street lights just before bed time is the best I can do in terms of night walking for now.
A while ago, I read something about micro-adventures in The Simple Things (September issue). The idea is great – cheap, simple, short but fun. I’m sure it’s not a new idea. Maybe people just didn’t write books, keep blogs, builds brilliant websites and gives talks on this subject. But it’s wonderful that someone IS doing all of the above and is so serious and passionate about it.
In November Trail, I read about a group of London office workers who went wild camping one day after work from Victoria train station to Seven Sisters and got back to work the next morning (with some deodorant). I liked the idea again. Firstly, in principle, you can’t change what you do during working hours. But you can decide what to do between your 5 to 9 (8.30 for me). Secondly, in practice, all the transport is by train and on foot. We have no car. I’m not sure about camping. I haven’t done that before, but I’m willing to have a try. I’m also not sure about deodorant…
At the end of the year, in The Simple Things December issue, there was a small box of text called Walking Home. The author of that small box tweeted all the way along his 9.5 hours walk from London to home in Kent for Christmas. No plagiarism for my title here.
When I started this blog post, I thought of all of these things I read which led to my recent 1.5 hour walk home in the dark. I found each one of them and discovered that the last three were all written by/about the same person! Alastair Humphreys. I put his name into google and found his brilliant website, full of stories of him venturing across the globe and near home, beautiful photographs and all sorts of info to support people going on big and small adventures themselves – how to plan a micro-adventure, how to find a location, kit list, reading list, legality and safety advice.
There is an exciting Your Year of MicroAdventure challenge on his website. Looks really tempting…
Image from www.alastairhumphreys.com
I really want to make this image into a big cardboard poster and pin instagram photos on each month’s box! Here’s also a list of ideas to try from his material pack:
Would anyone be interested in doing any of the above with me? Hopefully my Micro-Adventure #2 will be slightly more exciting.
Alastair Humphreys’ book MicroAdventures was published in June 2014. Look at the rating on Amazon.
Pretty impressive. I did click on and read the one 1-star review. He has a fair point – MicroAdventures are not accessible for everybody as the book claims. But I think the book is not asking everybody, old and young, sick and healthy, rich and poor to go on adventure. So the comment is criticising the book for not doing what it’s not trying to do.
Can you guess what am I going to do now? Maybe as well as the book, I’ll pick up a couple of OS maps from a book shop tomorrow.
By the way, a happy Chinese New Year to you all!