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Welcome

Adventure Organising - Edition 8

Hello, and welcome to our eighth Edition! 

In an individualistic culture, adventure stories usually form around individual people or small crews. Supreme athleticism and daring feats are tempting hooks. Individual people are also often pursuing change through adventure - something we’ve featured plenty of. 

But real change, in adventure and life, comes through collective power. This is why this Edition is curated with an organisational lens. It contains pieces around how people can come together through adventure - whether as businesses, social enterprises, campaigns or other collectives - to help build a better world.

This Edition is the first since we launched our Adventure Uncovered Patreon. We explain our thinking behind this here. Most importantly, 100% of Patreon revenue is going straight to paying Editions contributors. Although our Patreon is a long-term project, it is already bearing exciting fruit thanks to our generous early supporters ...

Photo: Lombok Plastic Free

Two paid pieces this week report on initiatives in Asia: Bindu Gopal Rao writes about the collective model underpinning a guiding company in the Great Himalayan National Park, and Stephanie Conway reports on the surfers spearheading efforts to outlaw single-use plastics on the Indonesian island of Lombok.

We also feature an organisation from the mountain Mecca of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada. Zero Ceiling uses skiing, mountain biking and a range of other adventure sports to support young people at risk of homelessness. Their work is an excellent example of how the thrill of adventure sports can, when combined with other support structures, help change people’s lives.

Our conversation with Adrian Kowal also addresses the question of how adventurous experiences can support young people. Adrian is involved with a number of nature-based education projects, often with a more radical slant than the conventional outdoor-education programmes we might envisage. His work and outlook on life are deeply thought-provoking.  

Other organisations are relatively informal but no less powerful. Two examples are Black Girls Hike and Steppers, both of which focus on diversifying the outdoors by creating spaces for communities to build positive relationships with the outdoors. We asked Cherelle Harding, who is involved with both, a few questions about this vital work. 

New media platforms are particularly critical to a changing adventure culture. How we tell stories is how we evolve. One of the most prominent such organisations is Melanin Basecamp, which produces coverage of the outdoors by and for people of colour and other marginalised identities. We were delighted to speak with founder Danielle Williams about the evolution of Melanin Basecamp and what the future holds. 

Adventure organising isn’t always easy. Using North Face’s new collaboration Gucci as a springboard, Em Hartova’s essay reflects on the difficult question of how we respond to outdoor brands’ environmental claims, both as consumers and media organisations reliant on partnerships. These are important questions, especially for platforms like Adventure Uncovered. 

Campaigning is an essential and powerful form of adventure organising. We round out this week’s Edition with two pieces on this note: a reflection on adventure activism by POW UK’s Daisy Maddinson, and a list of some excellent examples - past and present - of adventure-related campaigns by our very own James Wight.

Photo: Cherelle Harding, Steppers UK

As ever, we hope you enjoy this Edition and would love to hear your reflections and feedback. 

Our May Edition will celebrate and discuss local adventures. We’re still looking to commission some paid pieces, so get in touch with ideas at [email protected]. You can find all the info on pitching here. How much we pay, and how many pieces we can pay for, will depend on our Patreon. If you are able to support (we have some fantastic rewards!) or share with others, thank you so much. 

Before May we will also be publishing a number of pieces, so be sure to keep a lookout while you enjoy all this spring of renewed hope has to offer.

The Adventure Uncovered team.

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We hope you enjoy this Edition. To help us improve them moving forwards, we recently launched a Patreon. We explain our thinking here, and you can offer support here in exchange for an array of rewards. 100% of revenue will go directly to paying Editions contributors. We don't keep a penny.

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Cherelle Harding

Cherelle Harding

Cherelle is a Youth Worker from Coventry, and didn't know much about 'The Great Outdoors' when growing up, but has always been a person that loves adventuring and exploring new places. It wasn't until her early adulthood after a trip to Wales that her love for the great outdoors began. Cherelle remembers climbing her first mountain around aged 23 thinking 'Ah, this hiking stuff is alright'. She then found herself regularly on google maps looking for anywhere that looked green and would travel to different locations exploring on the weekends.

Adrian Kowal

Adrian Kowal

Adrian is passionate about the wellbeing of the whole. He is a social entrepreneur and community builder. Adrian himself pines for a healthy mix between adventure (doing) and slowing down (being), both of which he brings into the retreats and expeditions that he runs. Adrian deeply enjoys supporting the balance in people’s personal holistic well-being, working with men’s groups and also guiding adventures and expeditions. Adrian lives off-grid in southern Tuscany, Italy, where he is growing an intentional community. He is the co-founder of Way of Nature UK and is impassioned by the alchemical reaction of combining deep relaxation processes with Rites of Passage nature connection practices. He has trained and assisted in facilitating programmes with John P. Milton, and has been leading wilderness programmes for 7 years. Adrian is also a co-founder of The Visionaries, an organisation that creates nurturing school communities that support young people into healthy adulthood. Adrian co-founded and runsEvolve, a centre for growth and wellbeing in London, for 10 years and has deep knowledge of both urban and nature-based wellness practices. He works on a host of other businesses and projects that involve being of service, supporting the emergence of a better world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren and having a great deal of fun and connection along the way.

Em Hartova

Em Hartova

Em is a 24-year-old grad student and environmental advocate, based between the Czech Republic and the U.K. Em is Intrinsically drawn to cold places, and happiest outside - or, for the sake of honesty, tucked away in a cafe reading about climate policy.

Danielle Williams

Danielle Williams

Danielle Williams is the Founder of DiversifyOutdoors.com and the Senior Editor of blogging platform Melanin Base Camp. Her love of adventure sports began in 2006 when the Army threw her out of her first plane. Danielle graduated from Harvard in 2008 and spent the next 10 years in the U.S. Army with deployments in Iraq and the Philippines. In 2018, she founded Diversify Outdoors, a coalition of outdoor entrepreneurs, activists, influencers and non-profits leveraging the power of social networks to promote racial and gender equity. #DiversifyOutdoors® has been used over 88K times on Instagram.

Bindu Gopal Rao

Bindu Gopal Rao

Bindu Gopal Rao is a freelance writer and photographer from Bangalore who likes taking the offbeat path when travelling. Birding and environment are her favourite topics and she documents all her work on her website: www.bindugopalrao.com

Stephanie Conway

Stephanie Conway

Stephanie is a freelance writer whose work has been published in the Telegraph, Metro, Independent, and Newsweek. She has lived in the US, Indonesia, and Switzerland for over a decade before returning home during Covid to the UK. She runs Symphony VA which provides marketing & PR support for SME's and she also currently studies law. When not working, you’ll find her exploring new hiking hotspots, trying to surf, and petting friendly dogs.

Daisy Maddinson

Daisy Maddinson

Daisy is a writer, content manager, and outdoor enthusiast based in the French Alps. When she’s not advocating for climate action and adventures, you’ll find her outside on her skis, bike or at the local crag.

Sam Firman

Sam Firman

A freelance writer exploring the links between adventure, travel and social progress with a background in social innovation. Recently moved from London to Vancouver for access to the mountains.

James Wight

James Wight

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.