For Beau Miles, adventure is more than the physical act of walking in the wilderness and getting lost in a foreign city – it’s a way of thinking that can be applied to anything, whether whether it’s a garden makeover or a walk around your block.
If there’s one activity you associate with the extremity, it’s probably Beau’s has tried it – from running 650km through the Australian Alps to kayaking in Bass Strait. He is also the author of the book ‘The garden adventurer‘ and has produced a variety of documentary-style shorts which you can also check out on his YouTube channel. While adventuring for much of his life, he noted that dissatisfaction with the nine-to-five grind was the key that unlocked the door to all of the most incredible adventures in the world. life.
Beau savors the unexpected – a lesson in wisdom for anyone who has felt trapped and prevented from doing something that really excites them for the past few years. So with that in mind, we chatted with Beau about his philosophy on life and how he makes every day count.
You’ve run, hitchhiked and kayaked around the world. What has been your favorite adventure so far?
I don’t have any favorites – which I know sounds like a cop-out, but in reality my decades of travels are so varied and have distinct qualities, they really are a watery amalgamation of things and indistinguishable. My allergy to say the best, the hardest, or the most insightful is that an experience is never more than a design based on experiences that have taken place before it. Having an exceptional racing experience, for example, often goes against an exceptional paddling experience, with the race having been undertaken after 100 days at sea (and me wanting to feel firmness beneath me instead of liquid life ). So I can’t say that a particular race is the best thing I’ve ever done, because it only exists because I did something probably different before it.
I don’t like having goals that I aspire to too much because they tend to make the outcome one-dimensional (and you don’t tend to take that much). But as I was leading the Australian Alps Walking Track in 2011, I kept thinking about smelling wood smoke at the final destination point of Walhalla – a small historic mining town. I knew that smelling smoke from someone’s chimney would signal a long-awaited rest after traveling 700 km. Smelling the smoke was a deep and emotional response to my physical demise that is not only personal but very difficult to describe to people. Such moments are incredibly powerful.
Recently you decided to return home and continue your life of adventure in your beloved home in Victoria, what prompted this change?
Practicality first, then tapping into the very real notion of perception as being a powerful agent of change. Simply put, humans are wonderful at lying to themselves, even when we know it’s a lie. Attraction to people, or a particular type of job, or choosing a meal out is great evidence that we all have a personal set of wants, wants, and needs based on complex biological and behavioral biases. .
Based on this, if I think or want or desire that my homelands represent a world of potential adventure for me, then low and behold, it can be. It’s not an easy conjuration though (any more than beating a polygraph) and I have the great benefit of years of travel, college, and a long list of places and experiences to regurgitate. in counterpoint to seemingly familiar lands. The fundamental challenges that surround my homeland then become limitless. A commuting route, a tall tree, a childhood stream or a disused train line can become Everests, seas and exotic places. Being curious, optimistic, and open to not knowing where I’m going — not to the smallest detail anyway, are great at keeping things real, engaging, and tangential.
You recently published a book “The Backyard Adventurer” – what is it? How does writing a book compare to all the other extremes you’ve been through so far?
I like to sit, but not so much as to move. My big counter is that being tired of moving means sitting is a great place for thinking, which I turn into writing. Magazine writing and teaching turned into a PhD and college, which I loved, but coming back to my own turf without a full-time job and a life as an emerging writer and filmmaker was revolutionary. .
The backyard adventure is pretty much bang for your buck; reimagine places you think you know, be curious about the history of things around us, and put your own story at the forefront of your daily results. I could fill four lifetimes in the next few years with ideas – not all of them are good, but they seep in looking around me and thinking, “this could be doable, fun, insightful, difficult, crazy – I could do that”.
Speaking of extremes – you once survived 40 days on beans alone – do you see yourself doing anything like that again, or have you overcome any dietary challenges?
I returned yesterday from a five day canoe and scooter trip on Australia’s largest river where I only ate what had grown from the river itself which is harder than it seems like it given that much of Australia’s food comes from the huge watershed that is the beloved Murray Basin. My main calories for the relay were brown rice and olive oil, which I luckily like. I love the simplicity of food challenges in that they shake up my spoiled eating habits and make me question what I’m putting in my mouth. Eating is perhaps the most profound and life changing thing we do in many ways.
We love nothing more than freedom to play. But then, as adults, life hits and expects us to find jobs – you managed to find a way to seemingly turn work into play, it’s really inspiring. Did you have a plan for all of this to happen or did it just happen on its own?
I love the fortuitous nature of where I am right now, knowing that all the jobs, travels, relationships, dead ends and forks in the road have brought me to this place – to the bench of the cooking on a laptop and a cup of tea.
Life is very, very beautiful. I plan to be busy, challenged and physical which means most days are better than the last. It’s a mean life in which everything seems hierarchical, but it’s extremely rewarding and exciting every day. I certainly don’t script things – even though I have several dozen scripted ideas written as movies and books, my ideas and fun seem endless, which is a very pleasant space to be in when you get there. find. All that positive bluster aside, finishing my college work was the most timely, best thing that ever happened to me.
How do you fight self-doubt?
I don’t really doubt myself. At least, not like I had a nail box or a shed full of wood. You know when the times come when everything seems perfect, and all of life’s mysteries are irrelevant, and your controllable world is in harmony? I had a few of those moments, but I don’t worry about having more. Mysteries engage me, and things that I don’t understand or feel to be wrong or right become less worrisome to me. I get burned from time to time from environmental calamities or sick humanity, but for the most part my key coping mechanism – which isn’t as strategic as it sounds – is to control and act. on my immediate world. I’m actually not a good people manager for this reason, as I prefer to work alone on large projects.
Filmmaking has become a shared experience with my business/film partner Mitch Drummon – a good guy who is very different from me and compliments my failures. Self-doubt is only as deep as you want it to be. My theory on self-doubt is that the more selfish you are (in all a good way), the more self-doubt goes away since it’s a reflection of the expectation you assume of others. The happier and contented and busy you are with being yourself, the less you doubt yourself and have a platform to build on.
What advice do you have for people who want to break free from the conventional life they lead and pursue their dreams?
I suck at advice and try to steer clear of it – like I do when naming my favorite relative. But, since you asked… in the simplest terms; earn less and do more. I’m living proof of that now, going from a six figure college salary to a very low five figure salary and couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. Oh, and do more of your hobby, it could net you the meager paycheck you’ve always wanted.
What’s next for you? Do you have huge adventures or weird self-experiments in the works?
By the end of this year, the four-part Bad River series will be released, as will a multi-part film about running the McMillan Walking Track, a film about renovating a canoe during a marathon, a movie about the death of my favorite hat, a movie about the 100k run with my nemesis, and a movie about living on a small island with two foodies (which I’m not), and I started my next book that I can’t tell you about.
It can be difficult to break out of the daily grind. But people like Beau prove that sometimes diving headfirst to hunt for what you’re really looking for is sometimes the best way to do it – you can’t plan so much for the opportunity, so why not try something new now. ?