We Graduates number amongst a fortunate few in so much that we can largely choose the manner of our coming and going, within the bounds of reason in our society. Only there is schooling, and there is education. Experiencing the outdoors and adventuring is just as crucial to our development however, and it opens our eyes to the boundless possibilities that life represents.

The question of where I am going to sleep for the night has never been a threat worthy of my consideration, and that there should be food on the table has never been anything less than assured, except in instances of laziness on my own part. So why do so many of our young people leave the comforts of home and go off in search of a little suffering? Perhaps more importantly, why do so many people protest the initiative?

Ski seasons, micro-expeditions and such like have gained a reputation for being quite indulgent acts, whereby young adults bunk off for months at a time to ski and party, or attempt voyages of self discovery in order to shirk real world responsibilities. At least, that wasn’t my entire reason for going. To some extent I can see why they have garnered this bad press, owing in no small part to the proliferation of travel ‘selfies’ that they seem to engender. However, what I found most striking about these two episodes of my own life was the concurrent, slow-dawning apprehension that there is no substitute in life for hard graft, discipline and a positive attitude.

Recently there has been a lot of banal internet chatter about the dangers of child-centred learning, and here I suspect may argument may undergo some criticism. There are pampered and spoon-fed young adults aplenty, but the kind of adventure I am advocating ought to be seen as an antidote, not a perpetuation of the problem. You can support adventure. Help a young person to stand on their own two feet by nurturing their sense of adventure and enabling them to explore without mollycoddling them.

Rico walking away from me, approaching Ribadesella from a ridge above the town.


I guess some would argue that it is a form of selfishness that drives us to want to forgo the safety of a house with four walls and the security that comes of knowing that food is plentiful and warmth assured. I have easy access to resources that a terrifying percentage of the world’s human population lacks and I don’t want to leave people with the impression that I am ignorant of my own fortunate standing in life. I don’t go in order to gloat or feel superior.

Nor did I believe for a second that my short trips would give me any true insight into what it feels like to suffer and want for basic comforts and commodities, but I’d like to hope that I have been more compassionate since my return. I can certainly manage to eke out a little more empathy for the cases of real suffering we witness on a daily basis in this country after having walked with a load, daily,  for well in excess of a month. Support adventure and daring more fully, and the world will usher in a new age.

I’ve always felt in times of dread, when I feel at odds with the world, that we are too easily persuaded by a current of so-called respectability; a protean tide that exerts a constant, nagging pressure upon us to behave in a certain way and conform to within a set of social principles. People choose what they wish to do in the short term, form groups with like minded people, but largely operate in a world that is liable to condone or condemn their actions according to the societal norms of the day. Norms that are constantly in flux.


Approaching Santander along the coastal path.

In spite of the tumultuous change occurring on a global scale thus far this century, certain things remain constant. The need to travel and experience the world prior to stepping across the threshold of life into maturity feels like one such constant to my mind. It features heavily in literature and in rites of passage for numerous societies the whole world over. This is a further reason why I support adventure.

The desire to strike out alone is not to fly in the face of the generosity of family and friends because people rarely leave without intention of returning. I certainly never meant to leave for good, nor am I work shy or bone idle. In fact I think the course of action that I have taken is demonstrative of the complete opposite. I am willing to forgo comfort in order to achieve and experience an ideal. We are striving towards becoming a new wave of idealists, empiricists the activists. Both finding our feet, and showing our dissent with them.

I was certain that I didn’t want to settle into a career immediately upon my graduation because I was in possession of sufficient self-awareness to realise that I was restless. When friends of mine were desperate to leave academia and enter the world of work, I found myself hard put to aspire to the career, the house, the husband etc. without sampling a wilder life. It isn’t that I meant to be idle, more that I didn’t think I was cast in that particular mould. I went out into the world with the view to coming home again, in order to help discern my personal aspirations from those I felt obliged to aspire towards. Support adventure and we support personal development.

Some paths are best walked upon, not cycled..

Time outside of the usual company that I keep helped me realise how fortunate I am and forced me to come to terms with the fact that growing up need not mean forcing myself into a metaphorical glass slipper. Any expectation that we believe society holds for us, at this age and indeed in this Age, is largely self-imposed. Working hard for the right company within the right role is the most pressing goal I can attest to having now, whereas a year ago I felt afflicted and wild. Travelling has balanced me and given me context.

Not wanting to become entrenched in a lifestyle that will bring me material things that don’t confer happiness upon me is one of my biggest and longest held fears, but one that I can unreservedly say I now recognise  to be pure, unbridled fantasy. It is a child’s view of the world – a stalling tactic and road block on the path of progress. It was distorted by a hunger to see how other people live and breathe.

Of course, the answer is that they live and breathe much the same as we do; lives differ across the continents and throughout the Ages, but remain essentially unchanged. I can’t begin to explain why our young people travel such great lengths in order to find a semblance of peace back at home, but I don’t think we should consider it harmful. It is a humbling and heartening experience. Support adventure. If you need to go, then go, and go slowly at that.