Hello, and welcome to our first 2021 Edition!
First up, Happy New Year! We hope you stayed as safe, happy and non-bloated as Christmas allowed.
We’re stoked to be back with stories showing the power of adventure in light of the challenges we face. This year we will be publishing an Edition every two months - March, May, July, September and November - on the first Thursday of that month. Far from scaling back, this is to free up time to produce better Editions and other types of content, to be announced in due course …
This Edition consists of nine pieces, each corresponding to a New Year’s Resolution we’d love to see the adventure community - including us! - uphold this year.
Photo: Palmer Morse of Spruce Tone Films
Demand more radical adventure brands
To demand this, we must demand more of ourselves. So here at AU, we have been reflecting on the values and goals that will help us be a better, more impactful organisation. We’ve outlined a whole bunch - including some hints at plans to come - and will report transparently on our progress every quarter. We’d love for you to help hold us to account.
Value urban adventure
Adventure is often equated with ‘the outdoors’, with urban environments - teeming with life and social issues - typically omitted. This should change. We spoke with photographer, parkour practitioner and builderer Andy Day about the potential of these modes of urban exploration to reshape power relations in contemporary towns and cities.
Encourage local adventure
One silver lining of lockdowns has been our reacquaintance with local places. We hope this continues, for the sake of our planet and our local relationships. This Edition features a piece by Frankie Dewar who, feeling the absence of older adventure role models, embarked on a cycling tour of the UK to speak with older womxn living adventurous lives.
Explore how adventure can support environmentalism
Responsible adventure is one thing, but we can do more by actively supporting the fight for systemic environmental change. Kurtis Baute is a YouTuber and environmental activist in British Columbia with a penchant for playful experiments and adventurous direct actions, from sealing himself in a biodome to occupying a treehouse. We went on a socially distanced walk to chat about his work, direct action and how to support change.
Value the adventure perspectives of artists from inside and outside the adventure community
We think some of our most thought-provoking pieces in 2020 involved artists and thinkers who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves as ‘in the adventure community’. To continue this line of enquiry, we interviewed Booker Prize longlisted author Diane Cook about her novel The New Wilderness, which follows a community of research participants living in society’s last remaining wilderness.
Learn more about Indigenous perspectives on adventure and the environment
One of our favourite films from this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival was Water Flows Together, a portrait of Navajo river guide Colleen Cooley. It reminds us of the valuable but often marginalised perspectives Indigenous communities have to offer on the natural world. We reached out to Colleen to learn more.
Promote political adventure
Adventure is always political. Yes, we often use it to clear our minds and ‘escape’, but the idea that adventure is somehow removed from society is dangerous. Nevertheless, some adventures are more political than others, and intend to platform adventure discussions that are directly, explicitly political. Accordingly, Hannah Parry’s piece introduces us to some of the refugees making their way to Europe, and asks why their journey is so stigmatised despite sharing many characteristics we typically celebrate as adventure.
Celebrate communities coalescing, as well as pioneers pioneering
Celebrating pioneering adventurers from marginalised communities is vital work, but so is celebrating those pioneering adventurers forming strong, sustainable communities. An awareness of this evolution reminds us that stories of determined individuals is never the final chapter. A superb example of community building in this sense is the UK’s Women's Trad Festitval. We chatted with Hetty Key to learn more about how the team thoughtfully designs the festival to foster inclusive community.
Pay more attention to masculinity and adventure
There has been increasing gender discussion in the adventure community in recent years. This is a welcome, but discussions of masculinity are often absent. No conversation around gender and equality is complete without this, so we think it deserves more coverage. To get the ball rolling, we put together a list of seven(ish) things to watch, read and engage with as provocations and conversation starters.
Photo: Hetty Key from the Women's Trad Festival
We rounded off this Edition by doing as we often do for Editions, and asked people from across the adventure community - including the authors and interviewees from our twelve favourite AU pieces of 2020 - to propose resolutions for the adventure world. Their responses take all shapes and sizes (as ever, we offered no prescriptions) and are full of wise words.
As ever, thank you for reading. Your support means everything, and we can’t wait to grow by your side through this year and beyond.
The Adventure Uncovered Team.
Our first 2021 Edition features pieces corresponding to New Year's Resolutions we think adventure should uphold, featuring buildering, treehouse activism, a Navajo river guide and more. Enjoy!
Read all of Edition 7 below...
Andy Day is an internationally published photographer specialising in adventure sports, travel, architectural and landscape photography. He has been photographing physical interaction with the city since 2003. With an MA in Photography from Goldsmiths, he also speaks, teaches and writes about visual culture and the sociology of urban space. You can find his work at https://www.andyday.com/. Photo credit: Victor Andersson (http://grafikeriet.se/)
Colleen grew up wandering the sandstones, mesas, and washes in Shonto, Arizona (located on the Navajo Nation). Her curious mind and innate connection to the lands and waters led her to earning an M.S. in Climate Science & Solutions from Northern Arizona University in 2012. Colleen is an advocate and river guide on the San Juan River, a community organiser, a facilitator, a researcher, an amateur photographer, and a volunteer and recent board member with the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival.
Hetty Key is a keen outdoorswoman who loves adventure, endurance and data! Hetty runs Women in Adventure - an independent research company championing women in the outdoors. She is also a director of Women’s Trad Festival, and Operations Director of One Run - the first truly global running event every human can be part of. When she’s not staring at spreadsheets or deep in event logistics, you can find Hetty faffing with climbing gear, swimming in icy rivers, or falling off her mountain bike.
Hannah Parry is a journalist, blogger, volunteer aid worker, and musician. She has seen, first-hand, the atrocities committed by authorities, and she has met the most interesting, kind and friendly people. A break from work in London as a church organist led to the creation of her travel blog Hannah the Traveller [hannahparry.co.uk]. Opening her eyes to the world meant seeing the bad as well as the good and she has been involved in humanitarian causes ever since.
3,175km around the UK, on a second hand bike, with absolutely no idea about cycling! A lover of adventure - climbing, hiking, camping and fun - in lockdown Frankie started biking, with very little experience, on a squiggly loop of the UK. She interviewed people along the way, talking to outdoorsy folx older than her about how they kept the adventure alive, showing that you don't have to "do it whilst you're young." Frankie is sharing the conversations she had as a podcast at ExtraordinaryOrdinaryWomxn.co
Diane Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature and the novel The New Wilderness which was a finalist for the 2020 Booker Prize. She is a former producer for the radio program This American Life. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. You can find her work at https://dianemariecook.com
After finishing my MSc in Environmental Science and becoming a full-time science YouTuber (with over 10 million views), I'm now focused entirely on the issue of climate change. On my channel I've sealed myself in a DIY bio-dome to demonstrate how we interact with the atmosphere, spent seven days living in a tree blocking the path of an oil pipeline talk about what we must do in order to stop the biggest threat our species has ever faced.
Soraya Abdel-Hadi is an award-winning writer, artist and advocate for women and diversity in the UK outdoors. She believes in taking a holistic approach to making the world a better place, and writes about sustainability, nature and adventure travel. She is particularly interested in how you can integrate more mindful choices into your travel and how individual decisions can make a positive impact on our planet. Soraya is Lonely Planet Sustainable Storyteller 2021.
Julian is a former world-record holder for the world's fastest bicycle circumnavigation. He has won the Stanford Dolman Award for 'Interstate' an account of a hitchhiked journey from New York to San Francisco, and his latest book, 'Fifty Miles Wide', records a thousand mile journey cycling through Palestine & Israel.
Tim is the founder and curator of Adventurous Ink, the book club for outdoor folk. He quit his day job during lockdown to concentrate on inspiring more adventures and helping people reconnect with the natural world, by harnessing the talents of a host of creative adventurers. Learn more at www.adventurousink.co.uk.
Jini Reddy is a travel writer and journalist. She was born in the UK and raised in Canada to parents of Indian descent (who were raised in South Africa). Her second book, Wanderland, charts her search for the magical, unorthodox and Other in the British landscape, and was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize. Her first book, Wild Times, showcased extraordinary experiences connecting with nature around Britain, and won the book prize at the 2017 British Guild of Travel Writers Awards. In 2019 Jini was named one of National Geographic’s Women of Impact. You can learn more about her work at www.jinireddy.co.uk.
Michal Iwanowski is a documentary photographer. He grew up in Poland but has been working and living in Wales since 2001. In 2018, for Go Home Polish, he walked 1900km from his flat in Wales to his mother’s village in Poland, exploring what it means to be at home in response to the Brexit debate and some xenophobic graffiti he had seen in Wales. You can learn more about Michal’s work at www.michaliwanowski.com.
Nick Hunt is a writer, storyteller and editor whose work explores the relationship between society and landscape. He is best known for two travel books. In Walking the Woods and the Water and Where the Wild Winds Are. Nick also continues to edit the journal of The Dark Mountain Project, a cultural movement in search of stories that can help us respond to the climate emergency with a 'hope beyond hope'.
Kristin J. Jacobson is a Professor of American Literature, American Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Stockton University in New Jersey. Her latest book, The American Adrenaline Narrative (2020), identifies a new genre of travel and environmental literature and examines the genre’s significant tropes from an ecofeminist perspective.
Frit Sarita Tam
Frit is an adventurer and loves exploring the outdoors in as many ways as possible: climbing, hiking, skiing, cycling, paddleboarding and wild swimming. As an adventure filmmaker and photographer, she’s happiest when she also has a camera in-hand, shooting underrepresented adventure stories for her film studio, Passionfruit Pictures. She is regularly fuelled by crisps and chips.
Dr. Kate Rawles is passionate about using adventurous journeys to help raise awareness and inspire action on our most urgent environmental challenges. A former university lecturer, she now works as a freelance writer and activist. Her ‘adventure plus’ journeys include The Carbon Cycle, from Texas to Alaska by bike exploring climate change; Gyre to Gaia, a sailing journey with Pangaea Exploration exploring ocean plastic pollution; and The Life Cycle, a ride the length of the Andes on a hand-built bamboo bike exploring biodiversity loss. Kate currently lives in Cumbria with her partner Chris and Carter, a rescue dog from Spain. She is a keen sea kayaker, hillwalker and bookworm as well as a cyclist. See www.outdoorphilosophy.co.uk for more info. Kate is on Twitter and Instagram as @CarbonCycleKate.
Jen Gurecki is the founder and CEO of Coalition Snow, a women’s snowsports company designed to deconstruct the status quo. Simply stated, Coalition makes women’s skis and snowboards that don’t suck. #sisterhoodofshred She also founded Zawadisha, a social enterprise whose mission is to provide small loans to rural Kenyan women to finance their livelihoods. Zawadisha’s model is soundly pro-poor, pro-woman, and pro-environment. #investinwomen In 2018, Jen cycled across the continent of Africa, where the idea for Sisu Magazine was born. Jen serves as the Editor for Sisu, a quarterly mag whose mission is to uncover the untold stories of the outdoors. #gritandguts Jen has a master’s degree from Prescott College and dropped out of their PhD program when she realized that being a CEO was more productive than being a grad student. She’s been featured in Outside Magazine, Huck Magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs. She spends her evenings recording the podcast Juicy Bits and reminiscing about the time she turned down an offer from Bodie Miller to buy Coalition Snow on the television show Adventure Capitalists. Learn more at www.coalitionsnow.com, www.zawadisha.org, and www.sisumagazine.com.
Co-Founder of Adventure Uncovered, James is an ex-Marketing Director, part-time photographer, volunteer, and writer, spending as much time as possible in the ocean or on mountains. He's obsessed with cabins, sustainability, and enjoys the intersectionality between human and environmental stories and challenging the status quo.