An Absolute Beginner, no practice, no experience, not even a regular cyclist! I must be crazy :)
Stephen Peel

Stephen Peel

Cycling Around the World

 

Adventure is for Everyone

I was asked: "Why is it that all adventurers come from wealthy backgrounds, with university degrees and everything they want, usually taking a year or two out with nothing to lose, support network and beards?" 


Sure, an awful lot of adventurers that we see and hear about come from wealthy backgrounds, at least middle class with great support networks and want for nothing, and this is also a reason why we see and hear about them in the media, but there are many thousands more out there on amazing adventures and exploration who we will likely never hear about, So many of them don't even have so much as a website or social media connection, they just get out and do things their own way and couldn't care less whether they make money from it or become famous, they have something they want to do and nothing is going to get in their way, and not all of these unseen adventurers are on the bones of their arse, a huge percentage of them are well off, well educated. 


They pay for everything themselves with their own hard earned money. No funding, no sponsors, nothing, and for many people it is a very personal thing, not wanting to be connected to anyone or anything, its simply something they must do.


It of course can be difficult for young people coming from working class or blue collar families to take on such a massive adventure, as their parents don't always have the money to support their children into university or further education, and these young people accept that they need to bring money to the household for their rent and food. Many long to just be able to have their own home and to get a job to pay for it, and start working on a family. 


Its not that these young people don't want adventure or to do something extraordinary, they do. They scream out for independence but instead of being able to just spend a year or two out on an adventure they can't get hold of the money to afford, their focus is on just getting their independence through having a job and their own place to live, because if they fail there is a very real chance these young people will end up living on the streets, and that is not an option.


If you are not from a wealthy background, do not give up on adventure, because no matter your background, great adventure will be available to you at some point in your life if you want it bad enough and are prepared to work hard enough for it and can be patient. Also, there are so many young people from working class backgrounds that have taken on loads of jobs to put themselves through university, its not just those from wealthy families who have access to universities.


You might not manage that big adventure when you are young, but much later in life when you have worked hard enough to afford the cost and time. Like me for example, I could never have afforded to have taken so many years out to cycle completely around the world in my youth, not without ending up in financial dire straits, but I did take time out for much smaller adventures. Well, at one point when I was 21 and living on my own, I just gave everything up and took off with just £300 in my pocket, and after being in Singapore and Australia, I didn't return to the UK for 2 years and had to start all over again from scratch, but it was worth it. 


Only now, with my children grown up and my finances in place, sort of, I am able take so many years out of "normal" life to live a dream I have held on to. I will be completely honest, coming from a working class background, I never really thought I would be so fortunate to be in this position right now, and while I have this chance to live that dream, I'm going to give it my best shot. Don't get me wrong, I have had to make sacrifices for this, very big ones, and you might have to make sacrifices too.


As for beards :), well there are plenty of female adventurers who haven't managed to grow a beard, and maybe some who have :). I think the beard and wild hair look is something we are used to seeing on those famous explorers who have helped map the planet, and during times when beards were pretty typically worn anyway. And maybe the modern adventurers of today, just want to look and feel like one of those early explorers, who knows. I can't stand beards to be honest, but hey, each to their own.


Great things sometimes require great sacrifice, usually, hopefully not too great though hey :). Wishing you all get the chance to live your dreams. Remember, if you want it as bad as you think you do, you will make it happen.