The Transformative Power of Adventure: Sea Kayaking in Scotland Episode #30

Aaron McHugh


In this podcast, you will hear a series of NPR like recordings captured while chasing adventure sea kayaking with my brother near Oban, Scotland. Listen to the story that gave us the original inspiration Paddle For Whiskey Podcast.

I love Adventure.

Let me say that again, I have a love affair with adventure. My soul has an insatiable curiosity about what’s around the next corner. Now at age 43, I’m beginning to understand that adventure is part of my unique DNA. I’ve driven the Alaskan highway from Seattle to Anchorage and eaten ptarmigan road-kill stew (only I have the secret recipe) on the hood of an SUV. I’ve climbed frozen waterfalls squeezed into the cold veins of towering red rocks. I’ve ridden bikes with my son imagining that we were The Goonies while we searched for geocached-buried treasure in our neighborhood.

Whiskey camp
Whiskey camp

What power does adventure poses for a change?

By experiencing adventure, I receive new installments of courage that I can take back and apply to my real life, my relationships and my work. Adventure puts me off kilter. It disrupts my life’s foot placement and my comfort-driven center of gravity.

More than in any other podcast, I’ve vulnerable narrated how the adventure is one of my wisest teachers. Consider this. I am offering this podcast to you my friend like a good scotch, to be sipped and not gulped.

For those of you who live at 1000 RMP’s, (and I have for most of my life) and you want the gulp version of this blog (cliff notes), you can cruise through the podcast highlights below.

Stopping for fuel
Stopping for fuel

Click to Listen The Transformative Power of Adventure: Sea Kayaking in Scotland

Quick Podcast Highlights:

  • Understand how adventure gives us greater confidence to tackle life’s challenges
  • Learn why special, difficult-to-reach places in wilderness help us gain perspective on our life back at home
  • Appreciate how adventure helps us lose control and “be out on a limb”
  • Accept that adventure is a choice and is available outside our front door every day
  • Receive practical ideas on how to take your kids on your own adventures
Getting lost in the bigness of the whole
Getting lost in the bigness of the whole

Now for you my friends, who love a small sip of a single malt scotch, let me tell you a few stories about adventure.

Our will needs a strong opponent

The type of adventure this podcast explores is only found in Wilderness. The Westin Hotel isn’t going to teach us about ourselves like the wilderness can. We can control and influence most things in life. Wild places force me to encounter a set of inflexible rules that do not heed my wants, desires or needs. After listening to this episode, I promise you will want you to grab a sleeping back and bivouac in the back of your car. Yes even if you live in Omaha, NE, Singapore or North Wales (I appreciate you guys listening).

Who taught me about wilderness?

I first learned about these governing laws from my college professor, Dr. Buddy Gilchrest preached

“The mountains don’t care.” 

His sermon’s message was the Wilderness cannot be tamed. Dr. G was teaching me that the collision of the two forces:

My desire for a great trip with perfect weather and a successful summit. When met with the laws governing the wilderness (Darwinist-Jack London-esque) the rules of the wild always win.

He intended to install a conviction about my own fragility so that I would never underestimate the unrelenting power of the wild. He taught me that I am small in scale and my mastery, my control, my wishes and my hopes become subservient to wilderness’s ancient untamable rhythms.

Adventure's Invitation: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Adventure’s Invitation: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Adventure’s calling

In the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller plays a predictable, safe, reliable, boring, adventure-less, photography manager for Time Magazine. Sean Penn plays the ghost cat adventure photographer who invites Walter to leave his boring life of predictability and security. Below is Life Magazine’s motto that Walter embraces as he sheds the shackles of his old life and discovers the true essence of what life is about. Adventure is his teacher.

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer,
to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

Tony Hammock giving Matt a download of wisdom
Tony Hammock giving Matt a download of wisdom

Resources for Podcast:

Favorite inspirations for adventure:

Special Thanks to:

Andrew Toddhunter (Adventurer, author, journalist), Tony Hammock (Our guide and co-owner of Sea Freedom Kayak UK) and Scotland’s Department of Tourism.