Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Lack of Adventure

This is another picture from my holiday: two people paddling along the great, grey-green, greasy Charente River, towing behind them, in a little inflatable trailer, their camping gear.

I imagine a holiday, with no fixed objectives except to start out each morning and either see how far you could go in a day or stop off when you reached somewhere interesting. I imagine constant exercise but not flat out, not exhausting, the sort of exercise that build strength over time. I imagine the feel of fresh air on the cheeks and the contemplation of quietness of isolated places. Above all I can imagine the two men come home to tell their friends about the miles travelled, difficulties overcome, and the satisfactions of the trip.

Then I think about myself and how my routines lack adventure : no big trips, no long stretches of open road or open waterway. Mostly what I do is run, fairly regularly, around a limited number of routes, trying to be alert to what I pass and find freshness and satisfaction. In many ways this is enough and it contributes mightily to my mental balance, but gives me no bragging rights. I have not made extended trips such as cycling coast to coast from Wales to East Anglia, as have IrunbecauseIlikeFood or Red Rocket nor have I thought of any imaginative challenges like Adele, and I have certainly never had any desire to test myself to destruction by trying to run between the 4 capitals of the UK like Eddie Izzard.

Perhaps I should extend the range of what I do? Certainly I should give it some consideration.

At the moment my only plan is to give the marathon another go - to try to find out whether the satisfaction outweighs the pain or vice verse. I would like a definitive answer but my suspicion is that there will be none and, just like before, I will find myself looking at a tangled mess of emotions. Nevertheless trying to answer the question is my current quest and that will have to be enough for the time being.


irunbecauseilovefood said...

You forget, I did't actually intend to embark on that particular adventure. I only ended up cycling from one side of the UK to the other because I'm a bit crap at geography.

How about having a go at a triathlon? Mind, I only ended up doing one of those because I was a bit drunk when someone else suggested it...

Adele said...

Oooh, thanks for pointing us towards Eddie Izzard's adventure! I like his correct spelling of 'Wrecsam' in hiw tweets...

I've been thinking a lot about the Quaker phrase 'Live adventurously' and how 'adventurous' can mean many things, small or large. For me, some days that means going a little bit further than three miles, and on other days it can mean running until I drop (or like yesterday, making jam). I guess we all have capacity for adventure in us somewhere.