Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The anticipation of adventure

Summer or no summer it seems that in ‘magazine land’ the sun always shines as the latest issues try to seduce us with stories of epic road trips taken and ultimate adventures had.  Indeed, if the twitter tales are to believed, journalists are literally tripping over each other in the remotest of locations to bring us vicarious moments of loch side sunsets savoured and classic descents negotiated, in a bid to capture the essence of true mountainbiking for those left sitting at home. 

Sometimes it can feel like there’s a never ending diet of riding aspiration being served up on glossy pages, pricking at the globetrotting trip ambitions of the select few, or keeping the faith with - ‘never mind you can still find adventure in your back yard’ - features, for the people for whom austerity was a way of life long before it became popular policy parlance.

But - no matter where you sit on the spectrum of ‘adventure potential’, as mountainbikers there’s just something innate and undeniable that happens when the spirit of ‘what could be’ is ‘floated’ whether on the magazine pages or over coffee with friends. A passing thought or the kernel of an idea only needs to be batted back and forth a few times, in the moment or over a period of days through electronic wizardry, before it starts to take root and grow in minds and hearts. 

Maps, guidebooks, route planners, kit lists, often these elements are seen as hurdles to get over - the planning stuff is after all just a precursor to the action part when the real adventure gets going. But to me, the faffage, rummaging for kit, ordering maps, hunting out route descriptions from long lost blog pages – these are actually some of the best bits.  Why?  Because these are the key ingredients of anticipation.  

Anticipation is often relegated in the adventurers’ mind as the period before the good stuff happens. It gets demoted in the scheme of things because of course everyone knows that it is in the visceral moment of the experience itself that the real memories get burned into the cortex.  If this is you, rushing headlong into your adventure, then you might be interested to know that science has shown that the expectation of something can actually enhance and extend the memories of it, long after the event has happened. Anticipation, it turns out, isn’t delaying your path to adventure and its subsequent treasure trove of memories; it’s actually ensuring a more vivid and long lasting experience. 

So, take your time planning, especially if your windows of escape are limited and your adventures are long earned, and hard won. Enjoy the anticipation of what will be, because this way the pictures and the feelings you create for yourself will have a richness and a longevity that means you won’t be needing the magazines quite as much, to keep the fire alive. 


Anonymous said...

Great post, I'll be thinking about what my next adventure might be all day now! Nicky :-) x

Ruth said...

Maybe one with wheels and paws, I'm thinking!