My girlfriend’s brother, Madoc, recently took a sabbatical from working at Kids Company. In amongst leading various expeditions in Kenya and Tanzania he has also started organising small adventures in the UK – initially mainly with friends.
He took a bunch of us cycling up the Lee Valley in the Autumn. Just outside the M25, just before midnight, ten of us swam across a lake to an uninhabited island where we lit a fire and slept under the stars.
A proper microadventure.
Subsequently he decided to experiment with taking strangers on short-term adventures. Would people be up for it? Would he enjoy leading them?
Recently he told me that he had started a Meetup group called Secret Adventures – “Our plan is to get muddy, cold, wet and enjoy the sun, the stars and to get lost.”
Tapping into the vast Meetup network was smart. I was fascinated to learn that within weeks over 300 people had joined (the group is now at 446 members). The adventures have all been selling out and people are absolutely loving it.
I’m going on “The Night Kayak On The Thames” on 8th April, If anyone else is signed up – let me know – I’m massively looking forward to my first proper Secret Adventure…
Why is this relevant to Escape?
It struck me that Mad has started a community (and potentially a business) without touching a line of code, building a website, or spending much money on getting going. He simply started the Meetup group and linked the adventures to his Paypal account (to take payment).
I love the idea of starting something as a side project, an experiment, or just for fun – without it necessarily having to be The Thing that constitutes your long-term, viable, future career plan.
That’s how Escape the City started… a simple anonymous blog from the safety of our corporate jobs – an outlet for our frustrations and an experiment to see if anyone else felt the same.
And, of course, adventures (even small, without-quitting-your-job, adventures) are always an excellent way to get some perspective, meet some new people, and shake ourselves out of whichever rut we may have fallen into.
Check out http://www.meetup.com/secretadventures/.
What’s your side hustle?
[PS. The reference to a “Side Hustle” comes from Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Work Week. Madoc may not even want to turn Secret Adventures into a big business. But, if he does (!) then perhaps he’d like to have a read of this – Six-Figure Businesses Built for Less Than $100: 17 Lessons Learned]
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