New on Sidetracked:

Volume 15

The 15th Edition of our Printed Journal

The Beautiful Hardship of Adventure

We’re not designed to spend our lives nesting and resting. However comfortable we may be in our homes, on our sofas, it’s when we leave our sanctuary that adventure begins, and we discover things about ourselves we might never have known otherwise. In facing the challenges needed to reach our destination, armed with both spirit and resilience, we can begin to feel the depth and complexity life has to offer. It is here, where comfort is not, where hardship is both harsh and beautiful, that satisfaction is found. But there are risks.


There is something to be said for the age-old adage of ‘risk versus reward’, yet, sometimes, that reward element is missing. Sometimes we need to take risks just to survive. In such situations do new paradigms unfold. The unexpected is part of a life spent with adventure. And when luck deserts us, devastating consequences can ensue. Quinn Brett’s heart-wrenching story about healing illustrates this perfectly. Sometimes risk is simply a matter of damage limitation. To take the other side of the coin, the reward might offer a welcome surprise, coming in an unanticipated form as Ben Page discovered when he sought out big ski lines, but instead found a shared journey of friendship. Or Lilly Tjeng, who when facing up to her biggest fear, water, found a life partner in both ice freediving and another freediver.

Carmen Kuntz, long-time advocate of the Balkan River Defence, suggests that exploring and adventuring within a given natural environment does not an environmentalist make. Only action can do that. Carmen and her team’s work accept certain inherent risks – political, cultural, and physical – in order to seek an immeasurable reward: significant progress towards protecting Earth’s natural places. Similarly, across continents, Kelvin Trautman uses his spectacular photography/art to highlight the impact of critical water scarcity in Cape Town.

Adventure takes us away from our nest. It carries inherent risks that, even if mitigated, can rarely be avoided. Yet sometimes, risk is a necessity. We hope the stories we offer in this issue persuade those who read them into active movements for change – in themselves, their localities, or in helping create awareness of global issues. There’s little more empowering than knowing you can, if only you choose to.