Adventurer Tim Moss enjoys a challenge. He's completed mountaineering expeditions in Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia and Russia. He's walked across Patagonia and the Wahiba Desert. And he's cycled 1,000 miles on a rickshaw and run the length of every London Underground train line.
In 2009, he started
The Next Challenge, a website on which he helps others set out on a life of adventure (big and small).
"I didn't really think I knew much, but realized that having done a few expeditions and charity challenges, even the little I knew could actually be really helpful to people," he says.
Today, his goals are two-fold: to offer help and advice to anyone planning an adventure, and to encourage people to live a little more adventurously.
Tim recently answered a few questions for us about his biggest adventures and offered some thoughts on planning your own expedition. Here's what he had to say:
Why do you think making time for adventure is so important?
I think it's important to make time for adventure to provide a break from routines and as a reminder that there is so much more out there in the world than what we encounter in our daily lives. If we all spent our lives traveling and living outdoors, then I'd probably run a blog encouraging people to try living in a house and sitting still for a while. But most of us don't. The effort has been removed from normal life, which is generally a good thing; but once in a while, I think it's really good for the soul to remind ourselves about some basics: cooking on a fire, swimming in a stream, sleeping under the stars.
What would you tell someone who says they don't have time for adventure?
I would tell them to Google "microadventures;" and if they really can't spare even one night, then I'd tell them to Google "everyday adventures" and see what they can manage on their lunch break.
There are few better adventures that this world has to offer than spending a night in a bivvy bag sleeping on a hill. Pretty much any of us can manage that. It's cheap and quick and requires no expertise beyond the ability to fall asleep when tired.
Some of my favorite adventures have been completed on weekends. That includes running the length of every Tube line in London and even crossing a desert on foot.
What's one of those you've-gotta-try-this-at-least-once-in-a-lifetime adventures?
The three things I would recommend to everyone are:
1. Wild swimming - it feels so alien, even a little deviant, but lowering yourself into a pond or river for a quick dip is one of the most soul enriching things you could ever do.
2. Bivvying outside - as mentioned above, get something cheap to cover your sleeping bag, head out into the woods/hills, roll it out and get your head down for a real night under the stars.
3. Going on a cycle tour - if you can ride a bike for 20 minutes or more then you are capable of doing a bike trip. It's cheap, easy and low skill but offers fantastic opportunities.
Where do you find inspiration when planning your travels and adventures?
Inspiration for travels and adventures usually just comes from staring at a map. It might be a world atlas on which you find a country the right size to cycle across, or a mountain range you've never heard of before; or it could just be Google Maps on your phone, working out where your nearest lake is for a
wild swimor how long it would take you to walk to the coast.
What are some of the most memorable travel experiences/adventures you've been on?
I've recently been re-telling a couple of memorable encounters from my recent round-the-world bike trip with my wife. Like the time we nervously crossed the Iranian border at 3 a.m. and found ourselves being tailed by a suspicious car. It eventually pulled up alongside me, its window began to wind down, and a man appeared and shouted, "Hello! Welcome to my country! This is my wife, this is my son. You must come to my house for tea!"
Or, the occasion on which we arrived at a host's house in deepest, darkest Texas, were welcomed inside, offered a cool drink after a day's hot riding and spent a good couple of hours talking to our new friend - all the time in a living room filled with machine guns. There were guns, bullets, barrels and all sorts scattered around the place. As Brits, we were typically reserved and generally horrified by the idea of having a gun in the house; but a few hours later, we were gamely firing shotgun and automatic rifle rounds into a bank of sand.
What adventures have you been on that you wouldn't be eager to repeat?
I mentioned dangling from a rope in Kyrgyzstan. That was my first proper expedition. We were attempting first and first-British ascents in the Tien Shan Mountains but were in over our heads. We had the most fantastic time and it filled me with enthusiasm for exploration, but it went way beyond what I'd currently consider to be my safety threshold.
I fell unroped into a crevasse, tumbled down several snow slopes before managing to stop myself with an ice axe, and slipped off steep ice only to be saved by a last-minute ice screw placed by my friend. We also ran out of food, our stove stopped working (meaning we couldn't melt snow for water), and we spent a night sleeping outside above 5,000 meters terrified that if we fell asleep we would fall down the steep slope on which we were perched.
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