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Review: The Doorstep Mile


The Doorstep Mile by Alastair Humphreys – live more adventurously every day

Are you feeling discombobulated by lockdown uncertainty and the move towards more freedom?

Do you want to make small changes in life going forward but don’t know where to begin?

Do you want to live life a little more adventurously after lockdown?

If you feel weird, worried or worse about lockdown, then this book might be for you (as well as all the online inspiration offered here at Kids of the Wild of course!) 

This is not a publisher review, our copy of The Doorstep Mile was was one of several generously donated to our Scout troop by Alastair Humphreys himself, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, author of 12 books, blogger, speaker, film maker and, by all accounts a great British eccentric – his own website includes this quote: – “Humphreys is clearly slightly bonkers and this is a wonderful thing” – Geographical Magazine.

The Doorstep Mile by Alastair Humphreys

Caroline’s copy was promptly requisitioned and I quickly realised it’s a useful read as we all move out of lockdown. 

The Doorstep Mile book on table with mug, teapot and chocolate with blue book review banner
Why not pin to read later

The Doorstep Mile is a motivational self-help book of sorts, inviting us all to live more adventurously every day. Alastair doesn’t mean just physical or epic adventures like rock-climbing or canoeing the Amazon (though he’s done his fair share of those), he’s talking about small ways to live more adventurously each day; get out of our comfort zones, feel alive and – that old chestnut – feel the fear and do it anyway.

 

The First Step is the Hardest

The book title ‘The Doorstep Mile’ alludes to the difficulty of taking that very first step on any journey, be it an adventure, a challenge or a new job etc. It comes from the Norwegian ‘Dørstokkmila.’

The book is full of ideas and inspiration to make the best of our ‘one wild and precious’ life, (as Humphreys quotes Mary Oliver)

Smartphone Reminders to Go Adventuring!

My favourite piece of Alastair’s advice is that he sets a monthly diary reminder to go and climb a tree! Fantastic, bearing in mind he’s 40-something and married with children. 

And that’s what The Doorstep Mile is all about; doing little things to put the fun back into every day life.

For Teens to Adults with Families

Aimed at adults who’d like to reignite a long-lost spark (indeed any kind of spark) in their lives, the books also sits very well (it’s sub-text is ‘how not to lose your sense of adventure’) with teens and young people. So it’s great for Scouts as well as for frazzled parents!

And by adults, Alastair isn’t only talking to twenty-something singlies with lots of money, time and thirst for adventure, he’s also talking to you and me. Adults with families and children, with ‘normal’ jobs and everyday responsibilities. Adults for whom the days of wild adventures may seem long past.

Which is why I love his tree-climbing advice.

Step-by-Step Suggestions

The Doorstep Mile encourages us to dream big but start small, with that first tiny step. Here’s one of many great (and humourous) suggestions; “You want to become fluent in French? Eat some brie!” 

Close up image of bulletpoint list from paperback book The Doorstep Mile with glasses in corner

The book is organised in four sections: –

  • Dream (big)
  • Overcome (barriers)
  • Begin (today)
  • Do (more)

It’s an easy to read paperback, filled with anecdotes from Humphreys’ own experience of adventures big and small – when one major adventure idea fell through, he decided to busk around Spain with a violin even though he couldn’t play one! – which are inspiring and funny at once.

The pages are scattered with motivational quotes from around the world such as this Chinese proverb; ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now.’

So go on wild readers, get started. Buy the book, set that smartphone reminder, take time out and go sit in a tree to read. It’s not just for kids. Do it. And please let me know in the comments or on Facebook how you get on!

Woman girl and black dog sitting on large branch in a tree with field and sky behind
Mummy, daughter, bear and dog time in a tree!

Each chapter ends with a brief exercise for the reader to complete and includes quotes that real people have commented about their own lives and experiences.

I also love that the book is printed as though Alastair has apparently proof-read the manuscript and added handwritten notes all over the place, making it feel personal and authentic 👇 

Open spread of paperback book The Doorstep Mile on gravel showing handwritten text on the print

This is a great book to help learn how to start living more adventurously every day. Now who’s going to help us find out what we want to do?

Wild wishes for a life lived more adventurously every day!

Diarised tree-climbing – there’s a blog post in there somewhere…

(The first step is buying the book…)

Buy The Doorstep Mile & more by Alastair Humphreys 

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The Doorstep Mile

Great Adventurers 

Around the World by Bike

More Reading Inspiration

For more book and outdoor gear reviews browse Kids of the Wild’s reviews section.

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NB All views and observations are my own (and Caroline’s, aged 10)


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