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Tuesday
Jul072009

Micro versus macro adventures 

Sometimes you need the prospect of a big adventure to get you out of bed and moving. But ask yourself first- do I want to do this for itself or because of the attention it will get me?

Climbing Everest and going to the poles sounds dandy but not if to have done is better than to do. Are you really trying to be ‘the kind of guy who has climbed Everest’, with that mountain like a kind of adventurer’s phd after your name?

I can talk because I’ve never climbed it, nor been to either pole.

What I can say is that a big adventure is a big idea and big ideas are inspiring. But the REALITY of a big adventure is lots of little adventures joined together. Sometimes a single micro-adventure can be more satisfying than a chain of such micro-adventures that become a macro-adventure.

An example from last week. I was driving through the desert and arrived at an oasis town 370km from Cairo. I had fuel for another 50 km. But the two stations in town had sold out. We would have to wait- days- who knew? But my pal Richard had a plane to catch the next day.

A guy in a landcruiser saw us dithering. He came over rather diffidently and asked ‘do you live on road 267?’ I do. It turned out his office was on the same road in Cairo and he’d seen my car. He asked if he could help. I told him we were out of gas. He phoned a friend in the oasis- who- get this- has a stockpile of benzine (gas) just in case of such emergencies. We were told to drive to an intersection on the edge of the oasis and wait for the friend.

As we drove Richard said, “This is amazing!” But I kept quiet and thought I’ll believe it when I see it.

Sure enough the intersection was deserted. A dusty triangle of roads going nowhere. We waited in the 40 degree heat. Luckily we had more water than fuel. Then behind us came a honk of a horn. A big old landcruiser pulled up and the driver smiled and opened the trunk. Inside: 4x 25 litre jerry cans of gas. Saved! He didn’t even want extra money! But we gave it to him anyway.

I’m not down on macro adventures, it’s just that micro ones are good too. You can have them everyday rather than once in a lifetime.

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