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Personal Updates

My Perfect Kind Of Sport

I’m on my way back to Armenia, but not in too much of a rush. This morning I woke up, had breakfast and headed out with nothing less than an epic mountain-bike ride in mind.

I climbed quiet, steep mountain roads through cool and fragrant pine forests to the upper slopes of the Austrian Alps, near the Italian border, and decided to go for an extended loop of the valley. I rode rocky, rooty single-track trails past high alpine meadows of brown and white cattle, scorched down the mountainsides on dirt tracks through shady woods, stopping only to water the occasional tree, and eventually ending up back at the village, five hours after I’d left, feeling utterly invigorated.

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Mountain-biking is my ideal pastime, really. It’s got a little bit of everything I want from a sport. Today I climbed a thousand vertical metres along around 40km of off-road trails. It was fantastic and made lunch taste a hundred times better than normal. It also helped me come to an agreement with my body about my current level of fitness, which I’ve been struggling with since I stopped dragging 50kg of bike and luggage around deserts for months on end, and it re-ignited my appreciation for off-road mountain-biking; arguably the one thing that got me through university and out the other side with a decent degree!

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Microadventures

Hitching Armenia to England — Ultralight Style

I arrived at my parents’ home in England nine days after I left my home in Armenia to try and hitch my way there. The trip began well, progressed through a lot of self-inflicted suffering, continued into ill health, and ended on a happy note. I have to be honest — it was a lot tougher than I’d thought it would be. It was also a lot further than I’d imagined.

My first lift in Armenia

I embarked rather spontaneously on this micro-adventure, carrying nothing but a toothbrush, a poncho and a knife (as well as my wallet, passport, and a cameraphone to record the journey). Hitching is something I believe is worth reviving. Last year I wrote an article for MakeTravelFair to promote the idea.

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Personal Updates

Have Micro-Adventures For Better Weekends

Sunrise over Yerevan and Mount Ararat

I recently came across a new meme by way of Alastair Humphreys’ blog, which I’ve been reading regularly since I read his great travel books while preparing for Ride Earth.

The idea of a ‘micro-adventure’ strikes a very relevant chord in this post-ride phase. City life isn’t really my thing. Noise, pollution and a feeling of enclosure nag at me constantly. The countryside isn’t on my doorstep like it was back home. Over the last couple of months, I’ve come to the conclusion that these so-called ‘micro-adventures’ might be the tonic to keep me on track while I prepare for next year’s ride.

So what’s a micro-adventure?