Everyone should inject a bit of adventure into their lives. Discovering adventures was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ve become more confident, have new friends and gained a wealth of memories to call my own. The best thing about them though is they don’t have to cost a lot. In fact, they don’t have to cost you a single penny. Looking for a free adventure? Here are 6 ideas how:
1. Do a mini free adventure from your doorstep
Learning the art of wild camping (or stealth camping) will open up a whole world of free adventure opportunities. Wild camping basically means finding a quiet place where you pitch your tent, hammock or bivvy bag for the night. It’s free of charge and gives you complete flexibility to be alone in nature. Check out my step-by-step guide for wild camping if you’ve not done it before.
The first night you try it can be a little daunting so I would suggest joining the Yes Tribe Facebook group. They regularly organise free wild camping nights and have the added bonus of meeting some cool people.
Once you’ve tackled wildcamping, you are set to take on a weekend challenge. Use what you already have and hike, bike, swim or row. For some inspiration, have a read of Alaistair Humphreys micro adventures.
2. Make the budget part of the challenge
If you want to take on a bigger challenge, starting without any money can be part of your challenge. I think you have to be really brave to take on this kind of free adventure, but I’d love to challenge myself to do it one day.
These adventurers all took on an adventure without any money:
….Tom Allen took on the same challenge but with just a bike and no money in his pocket. He even built his bike on a tiny budget beforehand
….Students Tom Langhorne and Cameron Hyde, hitchicked a 650 mile journey without spending a penny
…Tim Moss climbed the equivalent of Everest using nothing but his work stairs and his free time
…Laura Bingham crossed South America with no money
….Alastair Humphreys spent a month in Spain using only his terrible violin playing skills to earn his keep
3. Find other people to help fund your challenge
Another way to take on a bigger adventure when broke is to make use of scholarships available or to ask for in-kind sponsorship. In 2016 I completed the London Loop on a scooter. I managed to get the equipment sponsored and also won some funding from the Next Challenge Grant which covered the costs entirely making it a free adventure.
Before approaching other people, I recommend taking some time to see where you can cut costs in the first place or, if you need equipment, to see if you can borrow it. This method is a lot quicker.
If you are looking for a really big adventure, you can also consider trying to get corporate sponsorship, a hugely competitive and time-consuming task usually saved for world-first and epic expeditions. For more information, RGS has an excellent free expedition funding guide.
For a full guide on funding and scholarships see, How to fund your adventure.
4. Get your adventure fix through volunteering
There are lots of ways you can volunteer your time to help others while also being more adventurous. If you enjoy working with children, you could help out with the Scouts, Youth Adventure Trust or a similar organisation that run regular adventure camps and activities.
James Borrell has put together a great list of volunteering conservation groups that look for volunteers happy to work in the outdoors. I would also add Raleigh International who are always on the look out for adventure leaders who can commit to a couple of months away.
5. Turn adventuring into a job
Working towards a suitable qualification could see you not just getting a free adventure but actually being paid for it. Passing the assessment for the Mountain Leader Award opened up a world of opportunity for me. I now regularly work as an Expedition Leader taking young groups of adults on adventures overseas. There are a number of companies that offer this kind of work including World Challenge, British Explorers and Outlook Expeditions.
I always look out on adventure job sites to see if any interesting work comes up. With the right qualifications you can also start working as a freelance leader. You could lead groups in the mountains or teach adventure skills.
Of course all these qualifications cost money to obtain but they usually pay for themselves pretty quickly. If you can’t afford them you should also look into funding options as there are a number of scholarships and bursaries available for training, especially for regular adventure volunteers. Plas Y Brenin list funds for training.
Or just join the reserves…they have lots of adventure opportunities!
6. Be support crew or join an expeditions
It is my goal to one day join an expedition as a team member. These expeditions vary in size and the big ones often require an equally big commitment fundraising, training and giving talks. Some expeditions will require you to pay, but I have seen lots of opportunities where sponsorship is already in place. Occasionally a team member drops out and someone is needed to step into their shoes.
A good place to search for these opportunities is on The Royal Geographical Society (you can also be added to an ‘interested in expeditions’ list) and Explorers Connect. There are plenty of opportunities to join as support crew which gives you an opportunity to travel, meet cool people and gives you a good insight into the adventuring world.
I would also start following adventurers on Facebook and twitter as they often share opportunities they see on their feeds.
You might also be interested in reading: Adventure opportunities to shake up your life.