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Inspiration

Emperor Penguins by Paul Nicklen / National Geographic

Emperor Penguins by Paul Nicklen / National Geographic

Some arresting photography from the World Press Photo Awards 2013 photo contest. The entrants and winners are all gorgeous, and run the gamut from inspiring to the dispiriting and terrifying.

The above photo is one of many in Paul Nicklen’s prize-winning gallery for the story “Escape Velocity” in National Geographic.

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Alastair Humphreys is an author, motivational speaker, and adventurer. In 2011, he made a resolution (actually, it was more of a manifesto) to spend a year seeking out “microadventures.” These were all adventures that he could find in his own backyard, without completely abandoning his life and becoming an adventuresome vagabond.

“I started to think that it was possible to have an adventure anywhere,” he told National Geographic when they recognized him as an Adventurer of the Year 2012. ” That it was really just a state of mind, committing to get off your backside. If that were true, I figured you could do this anywhere.” He continued:

I decided to do the most provocatively mundane adventure that I could think of—the M25, the highway that goes around London. It’s filled with traffic. Everybody hates the road. I walked a lap of the M25. I set off in January. It was cold. It was snowy. It was physically challenging. I saw new places. I saw some beautiful places, which I hadn’t expected to find at all. I met interesting people. That week ticked all of the boxes that my four-year bike trip around the world ticked. I came back buzzing. It was quite stupid and silly, but it had been a genuine adventure.

That M25 hike inspired Alastair to embark on his year of microadventures, which he documented on his website.

I’m lucky enough to be able to live and work in Portland, Maine, a small city on the southern Maine coast. It is still, however, the largest city in Maine, and a whole lot larger than the small rural town I grew up in. The city honestly seemed quite daunting and metropolitan to me when I arrived (what with its trash pick-up, public transportation and ferry terminal). Small as it is, Portland still isn’t the country, and it’s good to have a reminder that adventure is just a few miles away.