Discovering Home

When one thinks of adventure, thoughts of far-off lands come to mind. Distant, unexplored places with novel people. The adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton or Christopher Columbus are what we think of. It all seems so unattainable. It’s easy to dream and watch YouTube videos about travelling and to then shrug your shoulders as you put the thoughts of adventure out of your mind. These massive adventures seem to belong to books or only for the ’Great Adventurers’. There is more to adventure than this.

Adventure is not just these crazy ‘once in a lifetime’ expeditions. It is not just for the few. Adventure is a concept – a philosophy almost. It is a way of living. In the words of Tennyson, you must “drink life to the lees”, which is what I think travel/adventure is about. It’s about truly living. it’s an everyday mantra. Going on adventures doesn’t need to mean travelling halfway across the world, home can be your adventure.

Home is usually where you were born or where you grew up. It’s a place of comfort and refuge. It’s somewhere you know and live. Rather than associating adventure with foreign lands, I think people need to start seeing their homes as a place of adventure. We all think we know our homes. And yet I believe there is so much we miss. So much we gloss over and take for granted because it has always been there. We assume that we have seen everything. Home is boring. Applying the concept of adventure to one’s home can change this. You realise just because you have labelled a place as home doesn’t mean that you know the place.  

What do I mean by adventuring at home. It’s about turning the mundane into madness. Reject the ordinariness of home and turn it into something new. Maybe discover something. Almost everyone commutes to work day to day. One has to go from their house to their place of work in the morning and then back in the evening. It’s never an exciting prospect. It’s a chore and a pain. And yet if we do this every day for years, that is a decent chunk of our lives devoted to this tedious and dull task. So why not treat it as an adventure. After all it is a journey. I live in Hong Kong, and I worked at this restaurant which was on the sea front. For four months I would walk around 20 minutes to work. That is pretty good going compared to most average commuting times. Still, that is roughly 80 hours of mindless commuting. Time in my life effectively wasted. So, I decided to have some fun with it. I bought a second-hand inflatable kayak on an online marketplace. The next day at work I asked my boss if I could store it in the back. She laughed and said ‘Sure, as long as you are at work on time”. So, I started kayaking to work in the mornings. I would walk down to the sea, blow it up, go for a paddle and then an hour later dock near the restaurant. I would walk into work with my kayak and paddle and then quickly rinse off in the toilet sink. This became my morning commute to work.


Kayak to dishwasher

Obviously, it requires a lot more effort than just walking or taking the bus, and there were days where I didn’t have time to. But the effort was worth it every time. The stillness of being on the water in the morning. I spent many mornings smiling sitting in my kayak. It turned this boring and menial part of my life into this mini adventure which excited me every time. Yes, my co-workers would laugh as I walked in but at the end of the day I knew I had had a better morning than them. It was a new daily activity that made me feel like I was sucking “out all the marrow of life” (Thoreau).

I also discovered aspects of my home that I never knew about. At sea I was amidst all the fishermen. They would go out at sunrise on kayaks or small boats and spend the morning fishing. There was this massive community almost. I had never seen it before. It was something new. It may not have been discovering America, but it was something discovered. A little something learnt.

This is just my example of adventuring at home. It could be absolutely anything. It could be as simple as opening your eyes on the bus, seeing things you always missed. Big adventures take time and money – they aren’t always accessible. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have adventure in your life. Adventure at home. Apply the mindset. Your home may be as foreign as places on the other side of the world. You may just enjoy your day a bit more. You may just start to feel like you are living more fully. Adventure is about rejecting normality. Treat your home like its Wonderland.

All photos by Thomas Russell

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