Years ago, sea kayaking in Scotland, I asked our guide, Tony Hammock, “How do you define adventure?” His first response was laughter, “I’m not sure I’ve ever bothered.” A perfect response from a professional adventurer. For those of us with computer hands, a subscription to Outside magazine, and unlived lives within us-we want to know.
I pressed him, warming him with my curiosity. While setting up his rainfly, a day’s paddle from his driveway, he began his muse. (Listen to the full podcast from 2015)
How do you define adventure?
I think it’s about being somewhere special and it being some challenge to get there and the feeling of being a bit out on a limb.
So when you’re there, when you’re in that special place, there’s always that, well, are we going to be able to get back? Are we going to be able to get back on time, or is it going to be a bit hairy on the way back? And then the Hebrides and the islands (west coast of Scotland) around here happen a lot. You quite often get there thinking the weather forecast will give you a window to get back and then find yourself fighting the elements on the way back.
So I think it’s where you are, and the nature of the journey to get there and get back again defines it for me.-Tony Hammock
When you say “to get out on a limb.” What does that do to the rest of your life?
It very much changes your perspective on the rest of life. Things that seem significant and crushing and very important to you and in your real life-Your real-life where you’re earning your living.
When you get out into a landscape like this and realize the age of the landscape and feel your part in it and participate in that journey, it gives you a longer view of your real life.-Tony Hammock
I used to be involved in the automotive industry. And I can remember during the week we would be obsessed with the vehicle evaluation score, our quality measure, and then I’d get out of the weekends, and I’ll be out with the seals (sea kayaking) and gannets (birds), and on the landscape and you think, ah, “it’s not so important (work and stress).” Then you get back to work on a Monday, and you’d find out that it damn well was and everybody else made sure that you knew it was.
But it still gave you that chance to drawback and take some bit of peace to look your life from a distance.-Tony Hammock
A tip of my cap to Tony Hammock for this wisdom
“I’ve been a paddler since the Beatles made the White Album and I got my first coaching qualification the year that Bill Clinton became president!
I topped out on qualification with Level 5 Coach status in 2012, but I still feel like every paddling day is a new experience and I feel very lucky to live and work in this world-class sea kayaking area.
As a level 5 coach and 5 Star leader, I can guide and coach pretty much any aspect of sea kayaking in anything from mirror like conditions to Force 5+ and strong tidal flows
I seem to have become a bit of a specialist in:
Sea kayak safety
Long term development
Moving seawater and tide-race paddling
Converting pool rolls to real rolls
Sea Freedom Kayaking UK