PK Podcast 017: Al Humphreys On Adventures Great And Small

by Paul Kirtley

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Alastair Humpreys on adventures great and small...

Alastair Humpreys joins me to talk adventures great and small…

Alastair Humphreys is well known for his concept of microadventures. This accessible form of adventure has captured the imagination of many, with the term passing into common usage (just Google “microadventure”).

Al explains “A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap, yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.” He cemented the concept with his own Year of Microadventure, which was first documented on his blog then, later becoming the basis of a book.

While Humphreys may now be best known for his microadventure idea, he has also undertaken a varied range of challenging macro adventures.

Al’s first large adventure was cycling around the world, which took him four years. Since then he has raced a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean, walked the length of the holy Kaveri river in India, rowed the English Channel with a paralyzed military veteran, completed an unsupported crossing of Iceland by foot and packraft, and rowed the Atlantic as part of a four man team. Al has also expeditioned on the Yukon River as well as in Greenland.

Al’s latest book is titled “Grand Adventures”. In it, he asks the question why do so many have dreams of grand adventures but so few actually do them? Humphreys argues that “real life” often gets in the way, that we have work commitments, family commitments, time constraints, financial constraints, fears of the unknown and lack of knowledge of how to undertake a big adventure. In his new book, he seeks to address these constraints and parameters, starting with the simple premise of saving £20 per week in order to build up an adventure fund of £1,000. He then goes on to show how grand adventures can be undertaken, including scores of interviews with people who have made adventures happen, showing how they did it.

I caught up with Al to talk about adventures great and small, what motivates him, how he chooses his adventures, the challenges of making a living being an adventurer and lessons learned from when things go wrong. This conversaion forms the basis of Episode 17 of the Paul Kirtley Podcast…

How To Listen To This Podcast

You can listen to this podcast here on my website by using the player above. Just press the play button.

You can download the podcast episode .mp3 file by right-clicking on the download link to save the .mp3 file down to your local machine/device.

You can also subscribe on iTunes and on Stitcher or via my podcast-only RSS feed.


Click here to read or download the transcript of Episode 17 of The Paul Kirtley Podcast

Al Humphries on a bike against a sunset

Al Humphreys took four years to cycle around the world – a grand adventure indeed! Photo courtesy of Al Humphreys.

The route of Al's round the world bike trip.

The route of Al’s round the world bike trip.

Two men pulling a cart across sand

Alastair Humphries and Leon McCarron hauling the infamous cart across the Empty Quarter Desert. Photo courtesy of Al Humphries.

Man pulling a pulk in Greenland

Expeditioning in Greenland. Photo courtesy of Al Humphries.

Al Humphries in Greenland - Grand Adventures book cover.

Another photo from Greenland, which ultimately become the cover of Grand Adventures. Photo courtesy of Al Humphries.

Red tent, green landscape in Iceland

Unsupported journey across Iceland. Photo courtesy of Al Humphries.

Al Humphries on an improvised raft

Rafting microadventure in the UK. Photo: Tom Allen

Connect with Alastair Humphreys

Alastair Humphreys on Twitter
Alastair Humphreys on Facebook
Alastair Humphreys on Instagram

Links Mentioned In This Podcast
Adventure Reading 101
1,000 True Fans
The Empty Quarter Expedition

Books Mentioned In This Podcast


Thanks For Listening!

Thanks for joining me on this podcast. If you have any comments about this episode, please leave them in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page. Thanks!

And Finally…

Finally don’t forget to leave an honest review & rating on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of this podcast and I read each and every one of them.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

PK Podcast 009: Leon McCarron & Tom Allen On Making Meaningful Journeys, Off The Beaten Track

Enter A Virtuous Circle: Take Your Bushcraft Skills On An Adventure

Fjelltur: A Norwegian Adventure

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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nika Jane

No matter how hard travelling is you always have the chance to enjoy every moment. I relly love your photos. Thanks for sharing.


Gavin Henry

One of your 1000 true fans here.

Really excellent podcast. One the best for me explaining getting things done and realising lots of procrastination similarities 🙂

Thought I’d mention this book too

Talks about true fans.


Paul Kirtley

Hi Gav,

Thanks for your comments on this podcast. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Also glad to have you amongst the 1,000 😉

Warm regards,



ANDY Martyn

Really enjoy your podcasts . The last two have been really great. Could you do a podcast with Lars Fält .
Glad to be a part of the 1.000


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