Home-grown Exploration – Adventures around the Corner

“Some wish for adventure, some actively seek it, but the true adventurer is usually in the midst of them”

This site is about travel and finding adventure and now I am going to make an exception and advise against travelling, well at least not too far, not beyond your own neighbourhood.

Doorstep exploration; A winter scene in Clowes Park in Salford on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Winter in Clowes Park, Salford

Thinking about adventure often has our minds wandering too far off destinations, especially those which are well known as activity centres of the World. Certain outdoor pursuits will most likely spring to mind, mountaineering, diving, high-altitude trekking, hot air ballooning, via-ferrata or ski touring.

Continents, countries, cities can all illicit thoughts of adventure Africa, the Antarctic, the Himalaya, New Zealand, Canada, Colorado, Queensland, and Marrakech. They all promise excitement, different opportunities to explore as adventure comes in many forms.

They also have one other thing in common they will likely cost a substantial sum of money, travelling is generally not a cheap form of entertainment. Booking agencies, transportation costs, visas, accommodation, guiding fees and possibly specialised equipment where required will certainly help empty bank accounts.

Wildlife exploration; Heron in my local Clowes Park, Salford, Lancashire on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Making the most of a wildlife

“consider a ‘local’ adventure”

The subject of an attitude in adventure’ has been discussed in a number of articles on this site. This attitude is what makes for an adventure, it does not matter where it takes place, what activities are being participated in it is a state of mind.

Many of us do not look in our own neighbourhoods for adventure; many of us do not really know our own localities. Even if we do consider a ‘local’ adventure it is still likely that it will require a couple of hours drive to any particular area or attraction.

It is easily done, easy to forget that all that is needed is to throw a small daypack over a shoulder and spend a few hours exploring a few streets that have not been walked down before.

It is likely plenty will be discovered of interest that was previously unknown, local parks, green belt areas, museums, small theatres, some areas will have so much to explore they will undoubtedly surprise.

Set off with an open mind, allow sufficient time to really have a good explore, at least a few hours should suffice, ideally a whole day off will work even better. Walking is the best option but possibly jumping on a bus or train and taking a short journey to a part of the town that is not familiar will also work well.

It is very possible that the surprises in store will really inspire to discover more of the neighbourhood and town. It may become a regular feature of your free time and possibly something that eventually may also interest family and friends, especially children. They already usually have a healthy attitude for adventure, they do not need to travel great distances in their quests, but unfortunately this mindset does not stay with all of us as we reach adulthood.

Once the close locality has been extensively explored extending our journeys of discovery to further locales is the natural progression.

Sunset in Salford, Lancashire in the United Kingdom on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

A quiet corner of Salford

“communities play nice together”

My own neighbourhood is currently Salford, in North West England, next to Manchester and with a long industrial history. It is quite multi-cultural with English, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Jamaicans, and Polish amongst a few others.

Not all of these communities play nice together, there is quite often a little trouble and the police have cause to visit the area a little too regularly.

However even this little piece of heaven on Earth has its attractions, taking a stroll within a thirty minute walk of the house there were so many discoveries to make. It can feel even more exciting to find something new close to home where it is least expected it than when discovering a destination on the other side of the World with a totally alien culture to our own.

Doorstep exploration; The Imperial War Museum North on Salford Quays, Manchester on Mallory on Travel, adventure, adventure travel, photography

Salford Quays

“People escape here”

A particular gem was finding a green belt area within a twenty minute walk of the house. It is a deciduous wooded area with a slow moving river flowing through it. There are still some sporadic residential areas within this little piece of tranquillity including a couple of high rise buildings. However they do not really detract from the overall feeling of a small piece of rural countryside slap bang in the middle of the big bad city.

People escape here, walking their dogs or maybe to spot the herons that line the banks of the river sometimes it is a haven away from the grime and the unpleasantness of life in a city.

I visit quite regularly now; it is always different and especially good to see how it changes throughout the seasons. It is particularly attractive in autumn with the trees putting on their spectacular annual display of colour, but every time it appears to have changed. Although the entry point is usually the same, the way out seldom is. I have followed the riverbank, walked through fields both cultivated and otherwise and found plenty of isolated small copses.

Other trips of exploration have resulted in the discovery of a Jewish Museum, a small theatre and music venue and yet still know there is plenty more just waiting to be found. There is so much more to be explored and so many adventures yet to be discovered.

If you like me have not really checked your own territory and are not really aware what is around the corner do yourself a favour and next time there is some free time available and the weather is looking good grab that daypack and become a local area explorer.

Doorstep exploration; The greenbelt of Lancashire's Salford, United Kingdom Copyright © by Mallory On Travel 2011 adventure photography

Autumn in the greenbelt


Comments 10

  1. Alison

    It’s true that you don’t have to go to the other side of the world to have an adventure. At the moment, I would call myself a ‘doorstep traveller’. I can’t afford to travel to exotic places so settle for trips home to Liverpool and around the Lincoln area where I live. There are always new places to discover. Would much prefer travelling somewhere faraway and exciting though, but, as you said, it aint cheap 🙂

    1. Post

      Thank you Alison I hope you manage to travel further afield in future but in the meantime it is great you are managing to enjoy your locality on our wonderful country, maybe you will be able to mix and match between travel abroad and at home.

  2. Cheryl

    I feel the same and haven’t done much to explore my own city of Berlin and … it’s such an amazing place! I’ve seen more of Budapest and Barcelona since moving here. Trying to change that! Good article and tips. 🙂

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  3. Nancy

    Great post, Iian! I’m with you – make every day an adventure. I always advise would-be travel writers to start in their own backyard. I’ve found so many hidden treasures just by taking off in a new direction in my own neighborhood.

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      Thanks Nancy glad to hear you give out souch good advice not enough of us take that advice, I have often been based somewhere and not taken a look around my neighbourhood enough. Doing something about it now.

  4. Tyler

    Hey Iain, great article. Shoot living here in California there is soooooo much in our back yard that staying local just makes sense.
    Of course being in the USAF I was able to travel the world, but sure do like hanging around the state now.
    Keep it up and see you around on Twitter!

    1. Post

      I already had a feeling that California may have a little more to offer to explore than my own backyoard here in Salford. I’m sure you had a blast in the USAF but it must be great discovering what Cali is all about.

  5. Sai Krishna

    Travelling is not only about discovering new places, but it also helps to discover yourself. It will give us a wonderful experience and peace of mind. That is why I love to travel.

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