After appearing on House Hunters International a few weeks ago, I have received lots of very kind messages from people who saw the show.
I can’t express how grateful I am for the show of support; it’s hard to stay convinced I’m doing anything worthwhile, so hearing that some people enjoy what I do is enormously motivating, flattering and – frankly – relieving. I’m going to try to keep it up…
In general, I think the message of this website is pretty clear: DO MORE STUFF. However, just for the record, here is what I think I am getting at with all this nonsense.
Things aren’t hard: people make them hard.
When I was planning to cycle 100 miles, for example, I was told this in many different ways:
“Completing a 100-mile bike ride is to cyclists what finishing a marathon is to runners. It’s a major accomplishment that takes months of careful preparation. Not only do you have to train your body to handle the physical demands of riding 100 miles in one day, but you also have to pay special attention to your equipment, diet and mental preparation for the undertaking.”
You know what I think? Fuck that.
I failed to cycle 100 miles so, frankly, what the hell do I know? Even so, I got half way without a single moment of training and only didn’t get farther because I got four punctures in a row.
Granted, I’m quite physically fit, but I’d literally never ridden a road bike and rarely ever ridden a mountain bike for any length of time…
MONTHS OF CAREFUL PHYSICAL AND MENTAL TRAINING! Really? How about, get a bike – go cycle as far as you can. It might be 100 miles!
I’m not just being a dick and I understand the principle here. I also understand that, if you’re going to cycle 100 miles, you might as well gear up and make sure you do your best. However, I feel it’s this kind of “advice” that actually puts many people off doing things, by taking something that is already quite daunting and making it seem virtually impossible.
If you tell everybody “X is a massive physical task and involves a year of training, cutting out booze and not going out at the weekend”, very few will respond with “Well luckily I have months to spare and no social life, so bring it on!”
Everybody would love to complete a marathon, but very few want to dedicate a massive part of their life to running in order to achieve it. So they don’t bother. As long as people think that is what is involved in other less challenging things, they just won’t both to try them either.
I see this time and time again. Research climbing Ben Nevis and you’ll come away thinking you need a tour guide and £1000 of mountaineering equipment. Do it and you’ll find old women walking their dogs at the top!
Why people act like this baffles me. Maybe they want to be more proud of their achievements, so they pretend they are a bigger deal than they actually are…
Maybe they’ve never done any of these things and are justifying their own decisions to sit around and do nothing.. Whatever it is, it isn’t what people need. What people need is pro-activity and for others to say, “Yes – go for it!”. What people need is to be encouraged without being buried in ‘good advice’ or held back by ‘considerations’.
THAT is what I’m trying to do: in a world smothered by apathy and indifference, I want this website to bob along as a way of reminding people that it is really, really, really easy to go out and so things. You just…do them.
I say this as somebody who regularly ignores all advice and planning, goes out anyway and totally fails at whatever I am trying to do. Yet that is not the point: the point is to have a kickass time, which is totally unrelated to actually succeeding at anything.
So, reckless and inexperienced, I want to tell you this: don’t listen to the bullshit. If you want to do something, go out and do it. Do not ever, EVER let the naysayers bring you down or put you off. Even if your idea is totally stupid, you’ll have a thousands times more fun giving it a try than anyone else will sitting at home, discussing why your idea was bad. Fuck ‘em!
The night before Adventurethon on Magnetic Island – as some of you saw on House Hunters International – I was told this:
“If you’ve never kayaked before, you might as well go home now.”
Well, I didn’t go home. I put my kayak in the sea, climbed in it, fell out, floundered about in the sea, got rescued, had a sleep and some porridge, climbed back in again, fell out again, climbed back in again and paddled that bad boy as if my life depended on it…
7 hours later, I finished Adventurethon. Not because I’m anything special, but because I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste my short life sitting around discussing all the things I’d ‘love to do’.
The best way to learn about anything is to go and do it. So go.