Love reading about awesome, record-breaking adventures but find it hard to relate them to real life? Want to have a go at adventuring but feel like those intrepid explorers are in a league way above you? Well, that’s okay – even the most hard-core extreme athletes had to start somewhere. Here are our top five books to get things into perspective and even help you leave the couch and have your first mini adventure.
1. Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys
Alistair Humphreys is the king of mini, everyday adventures – or Microadventures, as he prefers to call them. This book will set you up with the tools to start and give you some inspiration of what to do. None of these adventures require global travel, corporate sponsorship or nerves of steel. You can do many of them in your back yard or a short way from home.
2. A Year of Adventures by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet are famous for their guidebooks. But instead of travel inspiration, this book is your ultimate adventure muse. Sure, there are over 250 experiences strewn across 115 different countries, but you’ll live in at least one of those. Many of the activities can be brought home too: it’s easy to snowboard in Canada instead of France, but it’s harder to move the orcas elsewhere.
We like this book because it’s got adventures at every level. It’s not all about climbing Everest and rowing the Atlantic. There will be something in there that’s achievable for most anyone, whoever you are.
3. The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book is the biography of Eustace Conway, who left home before he was 18 to live in the Appalachian Mountains. It is a great story of what we sometimes idealize as an American Man – armed with bushcraft and backcountry skills, he’s at home in the outdoors. But for your everyday adventures, the piece of advice you need to take away is this: just go.
4. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Wild is another true story, this time an autobiography, of a girl who turns to the mountain trails when her mother dies. The book is about the struggles and emotional progression of Cheryl as she hikes further and further away from home and into her own mind. It’s subtitle is “From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail”.
Cheryl started completely unprepared for hiking, with way too much equipment and not a lot of knowledge, but she knew that she had to go. The hike was certainly not easy, sometimes painful, yet often truly joyful. Ultimately, she rescued herself from a life of drug addiction and found a new way to live. A very inspiring story.
5. Journeys in the Wilderness by John Muir
If you’ve been into hiking for a while then you’ve probably heard of John Muir. He’s the oft quoted father of the National Parks of America, a passionate campaigner and naturalist. This book is a compendium of his finest works, from stories of his boyhood, to his essays and works on the National Parks, particularly Yosemite. Read from the master who started the American conservation movement and was instrumental in creating the parks and trails that we enjoy to this day.
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