The adventurists

 
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I thought I’d tell you about a recent adventure wandering the pitilessly bleak moors and hills between Glen Clunie and Glenshee in the eastern Cairngorms, but before I dribble on about how much like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road it was, we really should meet the adventurists. So, without further ado, let’s get this search engine optimised.

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Until recently, Mick was a senior nurse in a busy inner city hospital, but he was in a rut, dissatisfied with slaving away at a job that helped no one shine. Mick wanted more from a life less ordinary. And no one else was going to do that for him – he had to get on his adventure bike and make it happen! So last year he gave up his dead end job and is now a blogger and motivational speaker, helping others achieve their full potential just like he did a few months ago. On his blog he’s the influenza of influencers, and hosts affiliate links like a tick mop on a grouse moor – uh huh, that good. He also plans to write an e-guide to help others be just like him and not squander their gift of life being teachers, health professionals or emptying the bins. His newfound mission is to adventurise your lifestyle, and it's a mission he plans to pursue tirelessly until the end of time.

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Stef has also transformed his own private existential quandary into a stomach-churning example of middle class show and tell. His previous job in banking or marketing or whatever was making him unhappy sad face. He was also incredibly stressed out. Two years ago, he left all his responsibilities behind for someone else to clear up and now travels the globe scribbling occasional top 10 travel and e-commerce tips from hotels, cafes and his campervan (when he can freeload some Wi-Fi nearby). His trips are all about extending his comfort zone into other people’s and seeing what he can get away with. He likes to show and tell he’s having a good time, all the time, to inspire others to do the same. Because that's what's important. The marketing experience certainly comes in handy for shackling his newfound freedom to the yoke of late capitalism, too - not to mention the trusts and funds. He’s clearly an example to us all. What are you doing to inspire the people around you today?

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Then there’s me, the humblebrag outdoors writer and photographer, a blood bag of festering insecurity constantly checking a creaky 4 year old smartphone for likes. This picture isn’t me, I’ve just used it to try and make myself look cool, maybe slightly lonely and aloof. I’m trapped 24/7 in some kind of prescriptive outdoor office cum glasshouse, informally photographed to make your Tuesday morning bus journey thumbscroll slightly more queasy than it would be otherwise. My job is to ponder my next amusing hash tag and maximise my online presence. A minimum wage content provider, I don’t have kids but I love animals, because environment.

We join our adventurists on day two, as their pristine white alpine dream falls apart in an early winter thaw….

As we climbed stoically through the soggy clag fighting our epic adventury fight against moderate gusts, really annoying peat hags, and a bit of a chill that made our noses run and our fingers numb, endless snow banks emerged one after the other, the random patches of brown heather poking through white slush like a Rorschach test for our swollen egos. You can be whatever you want to be, the patches whispered. Just keep pushing your boundaries and reaching for the limits, one peaty postholed jackboot after another.

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Later, as we dropped out of our self imposed misery into the glens, we mistook one confluence of burns for another – it turns out we were much nearer the mole hill that Stef was destined to rub himself all over with in the night, after all. You might say that we were lost out there in that epic wilderness of nothing, but actually it was more like we were searching for something… like maybe the hero inside ourselves or the key to our lives. That’s what it was like, out there on those desolate moors and wind swept peaks – an enormous white void, sort of like an empty feeling of not knowing how to spend all your free time, money and privilege, and then finding something to push against to fill the yawning chasm of meaning.

After we put up our tents, it was *that* time when Mick had macaroni cheese and I had mash potato with a tin of tuna. Because it’s important to aim high and never compromise on your dreams, even when you need some tepid slop to keep your insides from freezing overnight. Yes: *This*, *That* and *When*.

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At the end of it all, we’d lived our dream of Scottish winter for those three special days – the special kind of winter when the only time your axe is taken off your pack is to dig a hole to shit in. Striving, gurning and learning life-changing things about me, myself and I, because what more is there?

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A few bullet points to help you reach for the adventurist inside yourself:

  • Somebody else’s map is not your territory.
  • When considering your transport arrangements, the horse goes in front of the cart.
  • Affiliate links are not hero points.
  • You are not an ‘imposter’. Everyone is welcome #outthere, but excess baggage is best left at home.