10 minutes with Alastair Humphreys
Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, author, and all-round interesting character. He’s best known for the conception of microadventures - which are short, local adventures aimed for those wanting to live more between 5 - 9, and less between 9 - 5.
This week, Cat and Aidan caught up with Alastair over a cold beer to kick off our inaugural 10 minutes with.
When we jumped on zoom, Alastair was sitting in his shed on a cushion with his face printed on it, with a large cardboard cutout of himself hanging to his left. Bizarre.
The concept is simple, our guests have 10 minutes to answer 10 weird and wonderful questions. It’s all about having a laugh, chatting with friends, and sharing some advice over a 0.0% beer.
1. Right, Alastair, Pale Ale or Lager?
Alastair: So I’m drinking a Days 0% lager, which is nice. I think I prefer the Pale Ale but it's good. It’s clean, crisp and sessionable. And, given it’s lunchtime a 0.0% beer is perfect since I'm currently meant to be writing a book.
2. Nice one. Cat’s on the Lager and I’m on the Pale. Okay, first big one. Who’d you love to have a beer with? It can be anyone in the world, past or present.
Oh man. I don't know if I am verging into current affairs, but right now I am loving Volodymyr Zelensky - Ukranian voiceover artist for Paddington now giving Putin a good kicking as President of Ukraine. Comedian turns president. Yeah, I'd definitely like to raise a glass to him.
In my adventuring world, probably Ranulph Fiennes. And then in my lifetime span of heroes… Captain Scott. I could just tell him a few things and he wouldn’t die. Oh and, Bruce Springsteen.
3. That’s some line-up. You’ve covered music, current affairs, and adventure. Now we’re in the pub, it’s called The Shed, and you’re the landlord. What’s the first rule you’re putting in place?
Oh, easy, no phones. Yeah, I really would. I also really hate bars with wifi codes.
4. That was Aidan’s too! Right, it’s Friday night in the shed, what’s the first song up on the jukebox?
Seeing as Bruce is in attendance, I think we’d need a Bruce tune to get the mood going. Well and perfectly linking in, Born to Run!
5. Love it, he could even do it live. Right, quick career change. You’re now a high fashion designer, what trend are you bringing back?
Maybe, socks with Crocs. I know in the summertime you’re meant to wear flip-flops. But I just find crocs more comfortable and practical for riding bikes and things and, to be honest, I've reached an age now where I don't really care. Sometimes I just like a little ‘sockage’ when I wear my crocs. So yeah, that’s what I am bringing back.
6. Enough chit chat, what is one quote or mantra that you live by?
I have one pinned over my desk here from Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, which is: “one day or day one, you decide.” And next to that, actually it’s torn out of a catalogue from Howie's - who I mentioned to you earlier, which is: “time, not cash.”
Em, so there are two which I guess I stand by because they're right in front of me. Oh, and there's a third one above my desk from Jung, the philosopher, and it says: “the life that I could still live, I should live and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.”
All of which basically come down to - get on with things right now.
7. Pork scratchings or lentil crisps?
Well, I'm a vegan. But pork scratchings are much, much nicer. How's that for a politician's answer?
Ha, so… which one?
I went vegan a few years ago, so therefore, we'd have to choose the lentil crisps. But I really, really love pork scratchings.
8. Time for a bit of a riddle. What’s the least important thing that's very important to you right now?
Hmm, the least important thing, that’s very important to me. That’s a hard question. I’m going to take up most of my 10 minutes to try and understand it.
Yeah, quite often, there's some small thing you need to do that's just a blockage in the system and once you get that ticked off, whatever it is, it frees up your head to just go and do fun or creative things.
What is that for me right now? Well, for me at the moment I'm finishing the editing of a really boring book. And I just wanted to tick that off. Which isn't a good sign as I’ve written the book. Nah, I need to give you a better answer.
Okay, actually, just outside my shed here, I've planted a bunch of trees. And this morning, I noticed the very first green shoots on a very little twig. Every year winter drives me nuts, I think I can't take it any longer.
THEN you get to the day when you see the very first green shoots and suddenly that fills me with hope that sunshine, spring and summer is on the way. So I'll choose that green shoot outside my shed.
9. Quick update, you’ve got 3 minutes left on the clock, with two questions to go. Anyway, I’ll quit eating into your time. What is your go-to activity when you need mental headspace?
Tree-climbing. I climb a tree once a month and it’s always the same tree so that you can see the seasons changing. I find that a very good mental health detox.
It's 20 minutes off your emails, 20 minutes of being silly, playful and moving your body. And I think that's a really good thing that I'd add for the mental health aspect. Go out in nature and climb a tree.
10. Ok, last question. Actually, it’s more of an order. You need to go away and do something in the next 24hrs, that you’ve never done before. What are you doing?
I will cook a Nigerian meal and share the recipe with you guys.
There you have it, 10 questions with the inspiring, endearing, and slightly curious Alastair Humphreys. If you want to check out more of Alistair’s work then we’d 100% recommend reading both The Doorstep Mile and Microadventures, as well as signing up for his newsletter, Shouting From The Shed.
…& the recipe you’ve all been waiting for. Big thumbs up from Alastair.