Here at WildBounds, we like to see hard-working people get their due - it’s why we love working with independent brands who are investing their time and effort into making truly outstanding products. It’s also why we’ve decided to launch our Person of the Year accolade, to recognise an individual whose contribution to championing outdoor adventure has been exemplary; someone who is leading the charge in getting people outside and active. And with criteria like that, it’s not difficult to guess who we’ve chosen as the inaugural recipient.
Alastair Humphreys is fast becoming a household name in British adventuring, partly for his large scale expeditions but more so for his creation of the ‘microadventure’ phenomenon. These small, low budget adventures - often involving just a night’s camping someone close to home - have been instrumental in revolutionising how the public engage with the outdoors. Humphreys has been insistent that adventure isn’t something you can only experience in distant lands far from home - it can be found on your doorstep, and doing so has innumerable benefits.
Despite his current focus on microadventures, grand expeditions is where Humphreys first became enamoured with outdoor adventuring. Straight out of university, he set off on an around-the-world cycling trip with precious little funds or experience - it turned into a four-year journey spanning the length of the planet’s three great landmasses: Africa, the Americas and Eurasia. It was an undertaking that Ranulph Fiennes dubbed “the first great adventure of the 21st century”.
With that epic trip under his belt, Humphreys continually sought out new adventures: racing a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean, canoeing 500 miles down the Yukon River, walking the length of the holy Kaveri River in India, trekking unsupported across Iceland’s frozen interior, racing the infamous Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, and trekking across the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia.
These expeditions earnt Humphreys the accolade of National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and numerous high-profile sponsorships, but it was his next move that really stood out for us. Far from picking another grand expedition - as amazing as they are - Humphreys decided to concentrate on adventures much closer to home and coined the term ‘microadventures’. The idea was to encourage more and more people to experience the outdoors in a new and exciting way, and to take a break from the relentless hustle and bustle of modern life.
These days, Humphreys is an adept videographer, producing short, introspective films on spending time in the outdoors, whether it’s motivation for running or escaping from your desk. His videos and blog posts are dedicated to encouraging adventure wherever possible, and educating people on the benefits of just getting outdoors more often. It’s a reminder we all need now and then, and Humphreys captures that feeling of wanderlust with engaging eloquence and wit.
With more adventures both big and small in the pipeline, Alastair Humphreys is a man on a mission to spend more time outdoors, in whatever way he can, and to find fun and excitement in the everyday. It’s an outlook on life that we all need reminding of now and then, and one that can inspire us to live happier, more adventurous lives. If only we had a role model for that…
Images: Alastair Humphreys
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