Once upon a time I was on a bicycle adventure through Botswana and there were lots of elephants all over the place and I was convinced they were going to kill us all. So I told my Adventure Potato that if he let me ride through all of the elephant areas without any of us getting eaten or squished, then he could give me Malaria. Which he did. And although that was about as fun as learning how to remove my own eyeball with a pair of rusty spoons, it was definitely way more fun than being eaten. So I thought it was a good bargain.
If you would like to learn how to make such great deals with your Adventure Potato, then this is for you. And if you have no idea what an Adventure Potato is, read this post first.
You know that thing you've been thinking about doing but not doing because it's a little bit ridiculous and you don't know if it's a bit too ridiculous? Maybe it's going skinny dipping in a crocodile-infested lake, or spending half your savings on a motorbike, or going up to dance on stage, or even something like taking a spontaneous trip to Japan to surprise your cyber girlfriend. Whatever it is, this scientific flowchart will help you to realistically decide whether or not you should actually do it.
Here are some cartoons of five of the MOST AMAZING adventurers that inspired me to start my own adventures. First on the list has to be Shirine Taylor, who at the age of 19 went solo cycle touring around India on US$5 per day, and then (joined by her partner Kevin), cycled through Turkey and South America.
Alastair Humphreys, the pioneer of the micro-adventure, has also completed many mega cycling, walking and rowing adventures all over the world.
Sean Conway has completed many lunatic assignments, including climbing Kilimanjaro in a penguin suite and swimming the length of Britain!
Sophie Radcliffe, triathlete, adventure racer, endurance lady and cyclist all rolled up into one!
Anna McNuff, rower, runner, cycler, swimmer, fund raiser, speaker - actually there's not much she can't do!
Thanks to these amazing people for being such an inspiration to me and to many others around the world!
If it were a race, it would probably have been a better idea to fly, or to go by car, or at least one of those little electric bicycles. It turns out that trying to do as much as you can as fast as you can isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when it comes to travelling. And when you slow down a bit you get to see all sorts of amazing things, like people making stuff by the roadside, or little worms going exploring in the grass. If you suspect you’ve been going too fast, maybe stop for an ice cream.
Seriously, they are. Even when they’re scary. They can build houses a zillion times bigger than they are, and communicate telepathically, and some of them can make their bums glow in the dark. The wild horses in Namibia have survived for many decades by eating nothing but their own poop in the dry season. Humans couldn’t even do that for one week.
No matter how grand or terrible or epic a thing is, at the end of the metaphorical day every person has to sleep and wake up and get food and get clean(ish). In fact, when you look at it, all of the big scary serious things in life, like cycling through Africa, are just made up of lots of little not-serious things, like filling up your water bottle in the morning, which isn’t so scary at all. In fact, almost all of the little moments can be quite hilarious if you let them be.
If you’re always scared of people judging you, bicycle adventuring is not going to be easy. Especially if you start letting their opinions get in the way of doing what is necessary or practical (or fun, like making a rap song while you ride). Luckily, it turns out that people spend much less time thinking about you than you imagine, because, like you, they are often too busy thinking about what other people are thinking of them. If you stop being scared, other people might even see you and also be a bit less scared.
This is a very practical lesson. There are two people, specifically, that bicycle adventurers should never ever trust. Ever.
- Motorists do not see hills. They do not feel corrugation. They can never remember the width of the yellow line area. Do not ask them for advice and if you do, do not listen to it.
- The weatherman. Another classic unreliable trickster. Don’t even have to explain this one.
If you are a bicycle adventurer, it is in your interest to not get too caught up with stereotypes because the stereotype of a bicycle adventurer involves being smelly and a bit mad. Before forming any ideas about anything, it’s good to do a little bit of research and use a little bit of common sense, but no matter how much you try to predict and control everything, in the end there’s no way to know what your experience is going to be. That’s what makes it an adventure!