For today’s adventure, I took my dog for a walk through Portglenone Forest. I recorded my walk by taking photographs of things that caught my eye and then used the images to make a short film.
My dog didn’t like all the stopping ; he was very keen to get on. The “Sparky Effect” is evident in some of the pictures (the ones which are a little blurred are the ones where Sparky was pulling hard on the lead, and I was having a little trouble keeping still!)
I’ve kept in all of the pictures, and I’ve maintained the sequence too. This way, you get to experience the walk as I experienced it. Watching the film, I’m amazed how much there is to see in a forest at this time of year.
Today I woke up with a cosmic adventure in mind! For my 105th adventure, I watched the live-streaming of the total lunar eclipse. At 08.45am UK time, I watched the eclipse pass into the “totality” phase. This morning I saw my first “live” blood moon. This morning I saw red hot dragon’s breath enveloping the moon. This morning I shared the celebrations, and awe, of those watching live in the Griffith observatory in California. This morning I welcomed our moon safely back home. This morning I felt connected to this small, wondrous corner of our universe. This morning I felt connected to all the people watching this celestial event. This morning I felt connected to it all. (I have the feeling that my adventuring is waking me up to the aliveness of my experiences. In fact, I am feeling more alive!)
You can hear more about my experiences, and my thoughts on the benefits of adventuring, in today’s video. You can also watch a time-lapse version of today’s eclipse on CNN here. I have also popped a copy of an Adventure Report from 2012 (talking about the Venus transit) below the video ~ I think it may make you smile 🙂 .
Adventure Report June 2012 ~ Stalking The Venus Transit
Can anyone remember all that kerfuffle at the beginning of June 2012 about the Venus transit? Sky-watchers around the world were excited about witnessing a cosmic spectacle : this was an extremely rare opportunity since only six Venus transits have been observed since the invention of the telescope more than 400 years ago.
Transits happen when a planet crosses between Earth and the sun. After 2012, we won’t see another transit of Venus until 2117. If you are reading this, it means that the transit on the 5/6th June 2012 was your last chance! And that’s what I thought when I heard about it – this is my chance to witness something that I’ll never have the chance to witness again. And the really magic thing about the whole transit was this : the very last place on Earth it would be visible would be Northern Ireland (where I live!).
Morphing myself rapidly into a cosmic geek, I trawled the internet for information. I found out where the transit would be visible, I made sure I knew precisely at what time the sun would rise (the time at which the transit would be visible), I researched how to view the transit safely and I got myself rather excited about the prospect of getting up at 3:45am.
When the alarm went off, I felt like Indiana Jones. With adventure practically boiling in my blood, I leapt (okay, it may have looked like crawling to the untrained eye) into our van, hauling my half-asleep partner with me. Wooly hats firmly on, flasks of tea brewed and all cosmic tracking equipment stowed safely, we set off for Murlough Bay (one of the recommended viewing sights).
As we drove towards the coast, we could see the glimmer of dawn in the sky. Nervous anticipation built the closer we got to the sea ~ a Starsky and Hutch-style evacuation of the van ensued as we hurried not to miss our chance. Ian put up the projector screen and unpacked a set of 1950s binoculars. We were to hold up the large end of the binoculars to the sun and watch the transit on the screen.
Secretly I was thrilled about the fact that no-one else was there ~ that we had this beautiful place all to ourselves. Eventually the glimmer of light grew into the glare of dawn : it was the most awe-inspiring sight you could imagine. Still waters, a clear view over to the Mull of Kintyre, Ailsa Craig and right around to Islay and the Paps of Jura. Scotland looked a pebble’s throw away and the force of the cosmos felt like it was growing under my feet.
Eyes fixed firmly on the projector screen, we saw nothing .No transit. Just the passing of a few clouds. And yet there was no disappointment. Why? Because I felt that I had fully seized the day; I had embraced the moment that the day had presented and I had enjoyed the excitement of the whole experience. I had felt like an intrepid explorer.
We packed away our equipment and stored this experience with all the other “glad we gave it a go”experiences.
Funny thing is ~ it turned out we were 24 hours early for the cosmic event! We would never have seen it on the day we went : we did get up and do the same thing the next day but it was white-out conditions with nothing to be seen at all (and not half as exciting as the previous day’s experience).
The lesson this adventure taught me was this : it’s not just important to seize special opportunities ~ it’s important to seize every opportunity, to seize every day. In the act of seizing, you can experience life in its fullest force (regardless of what is happening). Venus transits maybe special but they are not a patch on the possibility that every day brings to us humans. Every day holds life-affirming adventure for all of us : now go and find it J
I’ve been living in Northern Ireland for 2 and a half years now and I’ve learned a whole new language in that time! For today’s adventure I’m going to see if I can speak for a minute using words from the local dialect 🙂 .
The language in the area in which I live is heavily influenced by Ulster Scots and many of the words you’ll hear me speaking find their roots in the Scots language. There are also words which find their roots in the Irish language.
I’ve put a translation key below the video (and you can follow the link here for more etymological details. Just scroll down for a table of words and their roots 🙂 )
Ray Mears is an expert in wilderness bushcraft and survival. Today, I am going to make Ray proud by trying my hand at learning a useful survival skill : using my watch as a compass.
You can see that it’s rather a grim day here in Northern Ireland today. Fortunately, I could just about see the sun!
You can see how I get on in the video (and I’ve put some explanatory notes below the video just in case you want to try it for yourself 🙂 )
How I’m doing it works in the Northern Hemisphere. Use 1pm for bisection in Daylight Saving Time. When you bisect the angle to establish the N-S line, North is the direction heading away from the sun. For full instructions (including for the Southern Hemisphere), look here.
Don’t you think that there is something about this time of year that encourages us to turn inward? It’s almost like the dark Winter nights have their own voices : whispering at us incessantly , urging us to remember something really important , trying to awaken us from our life-drowsiness.
It turns out that sooner or later you really do have to stop and pay attention. As December 2013 marched on, the whispers became louder and eventually I decided to take a look at what was calling me.
I got to thinking about the kind of life I am living now and the kind of life I want to live. I got to remembering all the really adventurous things I used to do – and how alive adventuring made me feel. I got to realising that for the past 2 years, I’ve let adventure fall by the wayside.
So this is me standing up and answering the call to adventure. Today I’m declaring 2014 to be my year of adventure, the year I’m going to reconnect with the spirit of adventure , the year that I create the opportunity for adventure wherever I am. I’m going to adventure every single day for 365 days.
And here’s me on my first adventure today, starting off at basecamp :
And reaching the summit :
So there you go, I’m the first person in the world to achieve this mighty feat. How cool is that? 😛