Middle aged, mortgaged and miserable


I remember reading a quote a while back about our human desire for adventure. It went along the lines of: “If you are looking for adventure, all you need to do is walk out the front door.”

That’s a great sentiment. Unfortunately, we all know that life in the 21st century is very busy, especially if you are a parent. We can be forgiven to think that life is a conveyer belt of work, bills and demands from your boss/children/spouse. Kurt Vonnegut put it very well when he said humans work so hard to be unhappy.

However I have come to believe that not only our obsession for accumulating as much stuff as possible is a pointless waste of precious time, but our passion for adventure is what the human soul craves for and needs.

Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul. (Jamie Lyn Beatty)

I am part of that somewhat forgotten group in society of middle-aged, mortgaged and miserable. A few years back I had started my own successful business and even though it never made me rich, it was bringing in enough money to pay the bills and have a holiday once a year. (Of course, it always seems there is never enough money, but that’s just our own confused perception. When you wake up every morning, you already have 95% of what you need.) But I wasn’t happy. Something in my life was missing, and it wasn’t something physical or tangible. Something was missing inside of me. I physically felt an enormous black hole in the pit of my stomach. It swallowed everything, including my passion and enthusiasm for life.

You know you are truly alive when you are living among lions (Karen Blixen)

My life had become a routine, that most evil bi-product of the 21st century. I wasn’t living, I was existing. I wasn’t experiencing life, I was trying to shelter from it. I wasn’t looking for adventure, I was waiting for something to happen. But waiting for something to happen means waiting for ever.

We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. (Joseph Campbell)

So I decided it was time to grab life by the horns. To cast my fate to the wind and suck out all the of marrow from life.  And so it came to pass the 24 hour adventure was born. Even with a business to run and two children to look after, I had one day a week where I had no responsibilities to work and no obligations to pick up or drop off my daughters. I would spend 24 hours actively seeking adventure. Getting as far away as I can from my little corner of England.

The only things that you really regret are the risks that you didn’t take. And God knows if you see a chance to be happy, you grab it with both hands and to hell with the consequences. (Grumpy Old Men)

These are the travels of Mark Keeble. My continuing mission to explore strange new counties, to seek out life and new communities, to boldly go where I was afraid to have gone before.


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