5 Truly Inspiring Outdoor Adventure Documentaries on YouTube

The truth is, I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration and outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube are a great place to start. At the same time, they are also disappearing fast as Netflix and the platforms purchase the rights to the best videos in order to sell them back to viewers.

Anyway, here are five of my favourites videos and the most inspiring outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube.

Inspiring Outdoor Adventure Documentaries on YouTube

Deep Water

A vastly inexperienced Donald Crowhurst enters a Round the World Yacht Race.

 

When Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to sail solo around the world in 1967, the United Kingdom was gripped by sailing fever. In the wake of his record breaking journey, the Sunday Times advertised the first Round the World Yacht Race.

Eight seasoned sailors signed up for the competition and Donald Crowhurst, a struggling electrician with dreams of defying both the odds and competition.

Some think of Donald Crowhurst as an unlikely hero, others as an irresponsible prat. I prefer to appreciate the sense of adventure in this journey and a time when the world was gripped by the simplicity of outdoor adventures.


The Road from Karakol

An enthusiastic Kyle Dempster cycles across Krygistan while climbing first ascents.

 

The Road from Karakol is arguably the most interesting start I have ever seen in terms of outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube. In many ways, this is also what I found so appealing in the Road to Karakol, for Kyle’s enthusiasm has a tendency to grow on you.

While the camera work is often shaky and lacking in quality, this is one of the few times when the story and search for adventure overshadow everything else. I found it especially interesting when he happened across an unexpected police checkpoint where he was forced to join them for vodka and ended up sleeping off his hangover in a nearby cave.

Kyle went on to become quite a well-known climber in the years following this outdoor adventure documentary on YouTube but sadly, he died tragically in a climbing accident last year.


Into the Empty Quarter

Two intrepid adventurers attempt to drag a cart across the Empty Quarter desert

 

Alastair Humphreys is responsible for pioneering and promoting the concept of “Microadventures”. However, he has also taken some absolutely insane long distance journey’s around the world. Indeed, so too has Leon McCarron – an adventurer and filmmaker from Northern Ireland.

Anyway, this is possibly my favourite of all the outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube. I might be wrong but I believe this is also a trimmed down version of the original which was initially a pay-per-view movie.

There were as many times I laughed out loud in this one as when I felt inspired,  and while their experience for facing adversity shows, their inexperience in other regards is often the highlight.


Touching the Void

A remarkable true story about two climbers and a desperate situation in the Peruvian Andes.

 

If you have yet to watch this one, put the kettle on and get ready for an incredible story.

Having run out of fuel for cooking on the ascent, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates decide to descend the mountain. However, as bad weather approaches, Yates is required to lower his climbing partner down over the North Ridge. They had tied to 150ft ropes together but the join could not squeeze through the metal belay leaving Simpson hanging in mid-air.

In short, Yates is faced with an awful decision and decided to cut the rope. The rest is now part of climbing folklore and it makes for one of the most gripping outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube.


I Want to See the World

Iohan Gueorguiev cycles to the Arctic Ocean

 

Amateur camera work and a fine piece of storytelling in this outdoor adventure documentary on Youtube. I remember watching this and thinking “I want to do this” but in reality, this must have been a rather miserable place for long periods on Iohan’s trip. Either way, I love this story and especially for the fact that he did not realize it was possible to cycle to the ocean. That is, the freeze during winter means that the rivers turn to roads which allowed him to travel so far.

What am I missing? Do you have any favourite outdoor adventure documentaries on YouTube?

Please let me know in the Facebook comments below!

What Was the Meaning of Frodo’s Trek in Lord of The Rings?

Did you know that Frodo hiked 2,172km on his journey to take the One Ring back to Mount Doom? That’s almost half the length of the Pacific Crest Trail in America and the equivalent of walking the entire length of Ireland three times over. 

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018

While there was no ring involved, hiking the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland is the longest distance (350km) I have attempted until now. At that time, the trek was intended as practice for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but in truth, I also wanted to ascertain if thru-hiking (long distance hiking) was even something I found enjoyable.

And I knew this practice hike was necessary. You see, on my cycle across Africa, it took just a few hours to fully realize a distinction between drawing lines on a map and riding a loaded bicycle for twelve hours every day. In short, one of the above is either exciting or fun, while the other is often an encounter with pain, misery, and relentless questions.

Now, you might be asking yourself; with so much pain and misery involved, why even bother cycling this far? or why hike more than 4,000km on the Pacific Crest Trail?

Well, let me use Frodo to explain this one.

When Frodo Hiked 2,172km to Mount Doom

When Frodo and friends set out to take the One Ring back to Mount Doom, they embarked on an outdoor adventure of epic proportions. In fact, this long distance adventure involved camping and hiking through forests, mountains and beautiful landscapes with the occasional spot of bother in between.

As seen on this journey and other folklore or fairy tales, there are often theories regarding the greater purpose of these adventures. For example, when Dorothy left Kansas to seek out the Wizard of Oz, the ensuing story was an analogy of life and a representation of the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Cambell.

The Heros Journey and What it Means

In short, the Hero’s Journey is a famous claim that almost every myth or story is created in the same format. That is to say, each of these stories will begin in “the world of the mundane” and then finish with a triumphant return with many trials and tribulations in between.

Sounds simple, right? Kinda.

More specifically, the main characters in these stories are often bored or disillusioned with life even in spite of there being no pain or suffering. At this time, they receive a “call to adventure”, a moment in which someone or something introduces this character to a new world or a new way of life.

In the past, the character has often refused this calling for various reasons, mostly pertaining to various fearful questions.

How will I survive? What if it doesn’t work? What about the money?

However, sometimes or at some point, the character decides to cross this threshold and step into a world of uncertainty. From this moment onward, they undergo a series of trials and encounters with endless fears and temptations. At the same time, on this path, they will also find friends and possibly even a mentor who will help them on this journey.

In the end, the character has embarked on a fulfilling and meaningful adventure. Furthermore, they learn that the destination of their journey is actually the insightful knowledge that they gain from this new world and the understanding that they now have about their true potential.

And not just Dorthy but also Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Shrek, and Neo in the Matrix.

Anyway, the Hero’s Journey is also meant as an analogy in a sense that people can often feel bored with some aspect of their life. Maybe this relates to a particular career path or a college course, or possibly an unfulfilling relationship.

Either way, this theory illustrates how the meaning of these stories is often the same and relative to the world in which we live.

 

 Back to Frodo and the Meaning of his Adventure

If I take one more step, it will be the farthest away from home, that I will have ever been.” Sam, Lord of the Rings

With the above in mind, we can see the precise moment when Sam finally “departs” and crosses the threshold on his journey. We witness the realization of potential as the ring is cast, once and for all, into the fires of Mount Doom. And we see Frodo choosing how to spend the rest of his days when he sails across the high seas with Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins.

It would also seem that I am not the only one who often yearns for rhyme and reason on a journey. After all, Lord of the Rings fans and enthusiasts are always quick to obsess over the finer details of this cult movie. For example, one Reddit user calculated that Frodo traveled 2,172km for six months through the wilderness to reach Mount Doom.

Sure, that’s a lot of hiking and camping which was surely deserving of an epic finale. However, I think it wrong to suggest that every outdoor adventure requires a divine purpose. In fact, my own perspective of this movie is simply that the journey itself was beautiful and worthwhile – nothing more. Indeed, as pointed out by someone on Quora, while the ring is a corrupting object made by an evil immortal being, the metaphor is not really important in Lord of the Rings and the magic of this movie is the adventure itself.

At the end of the day – it was just another story, and you enjoyed it for what it was.

Isn’t that enough reason to embark on another?

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