06/11/2014 05:31 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2014

10 Tips to Live More Adventurously, Even With a 9 to 5 Job

Alastair Humphreys

Almost everybody would like more adventure in their life -- to enjoy more sunsets, swim in beautiful rivers, cook on campfires and sleep under the stars.

Here is how you can do all this, even within your busy life of work, commuting and family.

I am a professional adventurer. I have cycled around the world, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and walked across deserts. But I have spent the last couple of years doing adventures close to home, showing people that you don't need lots of time or money to have an adventure. You don't have to be fit and "outdoorsy." You don't need to live in a log cabin in Alaska.

Adventure is closer than you think!

English dawn

  1. Don't worry if you are not an "adventurous person". Everyone has to start somewhere. Start small, but do start.


  2. The hardest thing about living adventurously is beginning. Making the effort to get out the front door. Go for a walk under a full moon. Local, familiar places look different and exciting after dark. Look at the ordinary with fresh eyes and you can see adventure everywhere.

    A Harvest Moon Walk

  3. Shake up your commute. Make the most of the long summer evenings. Walk or cycle your commute just once. It might be far, it might be hard, but you'll be proud of it for years to come as you commute into work.

    sunset cycling

  4. Arbitrary journeys are the best way to expose yourself to adventure. It doesn't matter where you go or what you do. All that matters is that you go, and do. Walk a lap of your home at a radius of a couple of miles. Cycle from where your mom was born to where your dad was born. Hike from the highest point in your county to the lowest point in your county. The journey doesn't matter -- it is what you see and experience along the way that is exciting.


  5. Swim in a river. Wild swimming is like a metaphor for life. Daunting to consider (if the water is chilly!), the first step is the hardest, once you are in it feels just fine, and afterwards you look back at it glowing and excited and proud.

    Wild Swim Microadventure

  6. Stop cursing your 9 to 5 job and how it hinders your adventures. Flip it around and think about your "5 to 9." Look at the opportunities not the constraints. What are you going to do with your 16 hours of daily freedom? (I know we all have commitments and responsibilities, but try to think more positively about your free time.)

    A Night on a Hill

  7. Sleep on a hill. If you normally leave work, go home, watch TV and go to bed, consider trying this instead. Leave work, head out of town (even in a big city you are only an hour from some countryside), sleep on a hill under the stars, then head back into work in the morning. Crumpled, perhaps, but what a memorable experience!

    5 to 9 #microadventure

  8. You don't need piles of expensive gear to get out for a night in the wild. A sleeping bag and cheap bivvy bag or tarp are all you need.

    Packed for a #microadventure

  9. You can make a brilliant camping stove from a beer can.

    Beer Can Stove

  10. The legalities of wild camping are not as complicated as you may imagine. In the U.S., Google "primitive camping" to find local, safe, beautiful places to camp. In the UK, wild camping is perfectly legal in some areas, happily tolerated virtually everywhere else.


If you want some encouragement and inspiration from other normal, busy people who are squeezing adventure into their lives, search online for #microadventure.
Good luck!

The Microadventures book reached Number 12 on the UK Amazon Bestsellers chart in its week of release.

Alastair Humphreys was named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his microadventure campaign.