Beyond a sea of suited city workers and through a Starbucks window, I spotted him. Which, to be honest, was about as unsettling as seeing a snow leopard trotting down main street or a black spider monkey lounging on your living room sofa. Humphreys is among a rare breed of professional Adventurer – someone who makes a living from adventuring.
Earlier this year I set a goal: reach out to 10 new heroes/mentors/big friends. My intention was to interview them, learn from them, but more importantly, begin to forge a real relationship with them. The first person that came to mind was British adventurer, author, and filmmaker Alastair Humphreys.
I’ve long admired Al. He’s a mainstay on the Escape speaker rotation, so I’ve met him several times. But I didn’t really know him. I reached out and fortunately he agreed to meet me near London’s Embankment.
I’ve been traveling around like a mad thing over the past 6 weeks and took some time off from work at Escape the City to do it.
It wasn’t so much the meandering, say-yes-to-your-adventure kind of travel, but more of the recovery kind. An attempt to make good on important stuff I’d been neglecting. Loved ones back at home. My parents. My brother and sister. My 92-year-old grandpa who was in the hospital (he’s out now). Hometown friends. And largely, myself.
I’m okay and everything is great — I just needed to heed my own advice: zoom out and check back in with my motivations for everything. It was the classic taking a step back from working in my life to work on it.
And 4+ more quotes to celebrate 4 years of GiveLiveExplore and attempting to live deliberately.
There’s a Henry David Thoreau quote that has narrated my journey since I began wandering – physically, professionally, philosophically – four years ago.
The quote helped inspire the tagline for this site: “Tales from a Deliberate Journeyer.” From Walden, it’s a sentiment that I believe sums up the motivation behind many women and men’s decision to heed their call to adventure. Mine included.
A couple months ago Thoreau’s words magically entered my periphery once again, but in an unlikely place: my daily commute in London. I didn’t notice them at first. Walked straight past. Alone in the subway hall, I back-peddled slowly, leaned my head to the side and breathed a curious “Huh.”
One of the eeriest parts of life is when things–situations, places, people, topics, ideas, opportunities–align before your eyes. For me, the alchemy seems strongest at the intersection of the books I read, the places I explore, the people I meet, and the conversations I have. In travel, all four have the chance to play.
My story, of course, is one of many coincidences. I’m convinced most are if we’re paying attention. My 2012 European wander (and subsequently the story of it in my TEDx talk) felt like an opus of spectacular coincidences and chance encounters, leading to one grand finale: I’d accidentally pass through Metz, France, the very place my love for travel was born, and the place where I’d pay proper homage to my friend whose death instigated the journey in the first place.
Three recent encounters made me ponder once again the mystery of coincidence.
Because I’m a human and my mind is an asshole, I forget it every time.
This is how you write: