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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 5 October 2014
Alistair Humphreys is among the breed of mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the noon day sun. He says he started life as an adventurerer without the physique, bravery or finances that characterised his famous forbearers, but I bet he will go down in history among them. Having cycled the whole world for over four years on a total budget of £7k, he set himself the task of finding adventure on his doorstep; the kind of adventure that anyone can or might have, if they are prepared to step outside as night falls and set out on foot, prepared to stay out all night. I bought this book at a talk he gave at the Royal Geographic Society (he's an excellent speaker btw - relaxed and charming. My teenagers were hooked.)
Humphreys reminds us that our locked in or humdrum lives can be invigorated simply by dragging a sleeping bag out into the garden, or walking out on a workday night and sleeping in a wood you've spotted from the commuter train. His ideas are simple but challenging. He has been taken to task by another reviewer for fixating on outdoor adventure. But that reviewer misses the point, Outdoor adventure is Humphreys' thing. He shares his own concept of adventure here. It's not a bucket list of all the things you might do to shake off the rut. It's a list (to my mind) of the things you might not think to do if you aren't by nature an outdoor adventurer.

Reading it reminded me of the icy night I woke my small children, worried I was doing the wrong thing because it was a school night, wrapped them in blankets and sat them on the front porch to watch Venus glowing red in front of the moon; of the time we climbed Snowdon together one weekend when we couldn't afford a long holiday. It reminded me of the fabulous woodlands near where I live that I used to run in but stopped when pressure of work took over; of my husband's confession that the night we first met he felt so excited he walked home from Waterloo to Battersea. It reminded me of a night long ago in France, with a friend, when the weather was too dreamy to stay inside the cottage so we just slept outside and woke with dew on our clothes and in our hair; of the night my husband woke in the Sahara desert with frost on his eyebrows after a night camp, surrounded by desert dog paw prints. We're not adventurous people. We're bookish, getting on, and homey. But this book has that trick of reminding you what you are capable of, what you enjoyed once and might again. Its particular focus means it never strays into the general pep talking of self help books. It's more interesting, more individual than that. But its impact is of that kind, only greater for being so specific and practical not cerebral.

In short: this book does what it intends to do, it nudges us awake again, and says: stop, look, put on your coat and walk out, keep going. It's a wonderful book, and probably all the stronger for being so narrow in its focus, because it's built upon Humphreys' genuine enthusiasm for his own calls to adventure rather than being a catch-all bucket-listy book of things that are of more general but perhaps diluted appeal. Humphreys writes extremely well - he writes as he talks, in a warm, humble, inquisitive, conversational tone. His eccentricity, his dedication to his way of life and his zeal to share these are rare. If he gets the TV series off the ground, I'm sure it will be a huge hit (Kickstarter, anyone?) but until then, read this and have a go at a micro adventure on your own doorstep.
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on 25 June 2014
Having being an armchair adventurer for many many years, with always having a reason to not do something instead of reason to do something.

Now having read the book and also dipped back into certain sections. Alastair Humphrey's Mircoadventures chipped away at all the lame excuse I had created for myself to not do something.

Because I had ran out of excuses, I have camped on local hills and around not too far away areas. It's truely amazing to view the familiar from an unfamiliar perspective.

Not only has my dull, uneventful, but comfortable life changed for the good. I really do feel like I have a new lease of life.

I am a middle aged man with a 9 to 5 working life and a single parent. If I can do it, what is stopping you?
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on 7 June 2014
Been following Alistair's blog for years and been to hear him speak a couple of times, truly inspirational stuff and all his ideas are very achievable and doable.

This is a must read book for all young people and grown ups looking to get outside more and see more of this beautiful country we live in.

The book it's self is a lovely thing. Beautifully photographed and well written.

Birthday and Christmas presents sorted.

Great stuff.
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on 13 June 2014
I bought this book on a whim. I loved the idea of a book describing a little adventure to go on each weekend (or evening after work).

The book is beautifully laid out, printed on high quality paper. The pictures are fantastic, they really add to the overall 'I want to be out there doing this too' feel whilst reading. I like Alastair's writing style, never condescending and he pretty much answers any wee doubts (excuses) that may stop you from heading out the door.

I am already making plans about getting a bivvy bag and sleeping out in the Pentland hills near where I stay, something I would never have done until reading this book.

Buy it, you won't regret it.
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on 15 June 2014
This is an excellent book containing a myriad of ideas for micro adventures.
Lots of how to ideas and information about suitable kit.
If you are interested in having an adventure do one thing this week, buy this book, and get out there and do it.
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on 5 June 2014
If you find yourself dreaming of adventure but never have the time, this is for you.

Whether it's making the most of your weekend, adding variety to your commute or finding extra value in the 5 to 9, Microadventures is a beautiful, inspiring and simple guide to taking your adventures (and therefore your memories, experience and confidence) to the next level.

So whether you're looking for a present for Christmas, a birthday or just a friend in a rut who needs a nudge, look no further.
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on 11 June 2014
Wow. What an amazing book! Its rare indeed that you find a book that just by flicking through the pages, will have have you waking up on top of a hill the next day!

Beautifully produced, and so packed with inspirational photos you cannot help but sit down and plan a microadventure- the wonderful thing about this book is certainly in its unique simplicity, the concept is so straightforward and Al shows you how, with some nifty tips and tricks (such as pre-toothpasting a toothbrush and wrapping it in clingfilm- clever lad!) to make things run so smoothly it seems effortless. This book certainly gives you no more excuses to get out there and just do it.

The thing I really liked about it was the variation of microadventures to be had and the blatant disregard for the british weather or time of year- the man is relentless- and it's a fine lesson to all of us that winter is not for hibernation. There is so much that we don't see of the wild places on this little island of ours and as Al points out- you dont have to go far to have an adventure, it is right here on our doorstep.

Thats no point in recommending this for anyone in particular- EVERYONE, regardless of age, will love this book and will most certainly use it again and again.

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on 10 June 2014
This book would be perfect for anyone who's thought about an adventure, but has been making excuses. This inspired me to go wandering around an odd corner of London, hopping on a train to Windsor & Eton... then wandering around the countryside until the sun set.

Get this book and have a microadventure of your own.
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on 30 May 2016
Having read previous books by Alastair Humphreys I knew the quality of the author and to some degree what to expect. This book is not one to be read cover to cover in one sitting, whilst it obviously can be, I feel the impact of each suggested adventure would be somewhat diminished if it were to be absorbed like that. For anyone not familiar with Alastair, the man is one half mild mannered city gent and one half.. well... ballsy.. for want of a better word. For those who only dream of a life time of adventure and exploration this book is an insight into what is possible within reach of your home. Each "microadventure" is detailed over only a page or two, for no other reason than that is all it takes to get across the required detail to understand the concept by way of an example that he has done himself. I'll say though if your not the sort of person who would stay outside without a tent for a night in the middle of no-where, then this might not be the book for you. Having said that another (and perhaps the exact point the author is making) is that that means it is exactly the book for you! The concepts and adventures are simple, and although varying levels of personal resolve and/or bravery maybe required, they are all perfectly accessible and as Alistair would likely say himself until you've tried any of these things once you don't know what you are capable of. The publication is of high quality, nicely bound book, quality feel to the pages, the design of the pages has had some thought to it and the result is aesthetically pleasing. Having said all that I have removed one star in my rating, as although I have issue with the ideas suggested within the book, they are great and really open your eye to opportunities close at hand, it just a shame that so many involve sleeping outside unprotected, as while this will suit some it's not ideal for others. But in fairness the microadventures are to be seen as a starting point with which you personalise to suit, so with a little thought most can be worked around. So dip in and out, read one or two walkthroughs of adventures, with any luck you'll be inspired. I'm pretty confident that once you've done one idea in person, that microadventure will lead to the next, and as I'm finding, slowly building ideas for bigger and more challenging explorations of situations and environments both in and outside of your comfort zone.
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on 5 June 2014
There are big, epic adventures that most of us can only dream of doing. And then there are the small, backyard excursions that deliver the same blast of fresh air and vitality into our lives – if we have eyes to see the opportunities to take them.

Microadventures starts out by running through an enviable list of the author's own adventures - most of which were achieved in under 24 hours - which between them appear to explore every last wild nook and cranny of the British Isles. They're short, cheap, fun and do-able by anyone with a pair of legs and a desire to get outside. The second part of the book runs through the practical stuff, with a deliberate emphasis on making do with what you've got or can easily or cheaply get (as opposed to making excuses about not being able to afford expensive clobber).

Finally, it's utterly sumptuous, packed with fantastic photos, and a steal at only 11 quid (at the time of writing).

Do not expect any of your excuses as to why you're not out there sleeping on hilltops every weekend to remain standing after reading this book.
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