Sunday, January 08, 2006

An Update

An update is long overdue. I need to tell you about my adventure, and why I've neglected my IWAA web site. It's hard to know where to start...

I set out with high hopes of spreading adventurousness, as well as wanting to waken myself up from a quite unsatisfying, un-challenging existence. Maybe it was all a bit ambitious? Maybe it was all a bit vague? I said I didn't know what 'an adventure was,' and although I had lots of ideas for adventurous stuff, I had little free time or energy to organise anything adventurous for anyone.

So I put up a post claiming I was 'Having an adventure.' When I wrote this post I felt a little deceptive, I didn't know what 'an adventure' was, but I claimed to be having one. What really happened was that there was lots of complicated life stuff going on, and this meant I couldn't give IWAA the time and attention it needed, and deserved. The 'complicated life' stuff has now calmed down a little, and surprisingly it feels that by describing this as 'an adventure' I wasn't far off the mark.

I had time to think, and now I have my own personal definition of 'adventure' sorted out in my head. Although I accept that this definition might not suit everyone. To me an 'adventure' is... (don't laugh!) anything that makes you feel like you could be in a movie! So anything dramatic, funny, exciting, romantic, tragic, anything that makes you 'feel' big-time. Of course it's likely that the type of adventure you like depends on whether you see yourself as the star of a comedy, an action movie, a thriller, whatever... Unfortunately most of the time I want to be the star of a funny film, which means I find it very hard to take anything very seriously. It also means it's highly likely that this stuff I'm writing is complete bollocks. If I was the star of a clever art house film then IWAA might have some chance of making sense!

Recent events in my life did feel like an adventure, but not at all the sort of adventure I wanted. They were dramatic, challenging, emotion-charged, life changing... But not much fun to be honest.

The sort of adventure I really crave is something silly that would make me laugh, like a giant, real food fight. Wouldn't you just love to slam a big gooey cream cake in someone's face? Or a jelly!

And a food fight fits my newly found definition of 'adventure.' It's 'something that could happen in a movie.' It's silly, it's fun. And it's possible that this is an adventure I can arrange.

I understand a flash mob group organised a pillow fight recently. My sort of adventure!

But perhaps not yours..?

I feel a responsibility to the many people who emailed me to say 'I want an adventure!' I feel like I let these people down.

I know I didn't promise much, and I know that adventures aren't easy to come by. But I don't want to give up, I do still very much want to help people find their own personal adventures. Strangely, I'm not so sure that I really, truly, 'want an adventure' right now. I feel like I might like a break from adventures for a little while, although if the right one came along I think I'd change my mind..!

I do miss stickering. I can't help it, I still look at every tube poster nose I see. I know I won't see an IWAA sticker there now, but I do see plenty of chewing gum noses. Every time I see a chewing gum nose I think of adventures... The magic Up escalator at Oxford Circus is still special, often every poster nose is chewing gum decorated. Once the magic Up escalator was closed and I was forced to take an alternative escalator and I was very glad I did. Someone had decorated a poster here with a home made sticker. This was a very special moment. It was a rather abstract design with some initials, 'N P'. It didn't matter that they'd decorated the wrong escalator, in fact it was actually a good thing! It was as if the magic was spreading, both Up escalators at Oxford Circus were special for a little while.

Just a little while...

I still pass one IWAA sticker on my way to work each morning, it's now very faded and slightly tattered. It's on a poster for 'Oakley' shades at Oxford Circus tube. I worry that I might cry when that little flagship for adventure is no more. I hope I can sticker some more before it disappears.

I'd like to print new stickers with 'mini-adventures' on them. Stickers that directly make people think 'adventure', and challenge them to act on the sticker message. But if they don't that's ok. It would be good just to make people think, and perhaps to wonder, 'What is an adventure...?'

I hope I can find the time and energy to make this happen. I also hope to redesign this web site, I'm not sure the 'blog' format works. I have my own 'personal' blog that I enjoy writing, and keeping this updated takes time enough. I'd like the IWAA web site to be more about other people rather than me. As I said, I'm not even sure I'll go adventuring for a while.

But having said that, stickering, and helping people find adventure, could be a small adventure in itself? I hope I will update you soon with some more news, but if I don't, I hope you find 'adventure', whatever it means to you...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Having an adventure!

There have been a lack of updates to this blog in the last few days, sorry about that. It's because I'm having an adventure! This means I've been a bit busy and preoccupied, but I haven't given up on my IWAA site and I hope there will be me more news for would-be-adventurers in the near future. I'm afraid that I can't any reveal further details about my present adventure, except to say it's Top Secret. It's also very exciting! I will be back soon...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sticker Hide and Seek

It was a day of many minor adventurous challenges, I said 'Hi' to lots of people on the way in to work, mixing it up with lots of 'Good Morning's too. I hope this is allowed? 'Good Morning' somehow seemed less confrontational, and a few people said Good Morning back! Even when people 'looked at me funny' it still felt good to try to smile and be friendly at 7am on a rainy Monday morning.

In my lunch hour I hid lots of 'make your own sticker' kits on the second floor of Borders bookshop. If you want one you have to go and play sticker hide and seek amongst the books! Each envelope contains, a blank sticker, a pen (assorted colours), an IWAA sticker (I hope this will be stuck somewhere also) and instructions to 'draw or write something on the sticker and then put it on a poster'.

I was hurriedly filling all the envelopes as I munched on my sandwich, cutting up the instructions with a little pair of scissors in the cafe. It might all look a bit amateurish, but I don't think this matters too much. I just hope that someone will find one of these little packs of goodies and think 'Hmm... what should I draw? And where should I stick it?' I'm not sure that it's genuinely an adventure, but I hope that it is fun; if so that's no bad thing.

I printed out the instructions for this this morning in the office. I was waiting for them to turn up on the printer, praying that no one else would use the printer at that time and see. When the printout didn't materialize I suddenly realised what I'd done - by accident set them to print on the marketing department printer! Panicking I had to rush to that department hoping my marketing colleagues wouldn't find out that I was encouraging people to create homemade stickers in the name of adventure! Sometimes their job involves tube poster ads, and they might have been cross that I was getting people to deface tube posters. I don't know what I'd have done if they'd found them, I would have been so embarrassed! But I got away with it.

Another challenge today was the chocolate bar mission. I know I said I'd do that last night. I did buy a bar of chocolate from our local shop last night, and I was ready to put a 'Just for who wants it' bit of paper on it, only the street was quiet and I wanted to see someone find the chocolate. So I just ate it. Sorry.

Today I bought another bar, it was Galaxy, and I left this on the train on the way home. No one picked it up before I got off at Tooting Bec, but I hope someone will find it and enjoy it. Someone 'who wants it', as my note said.

To round off this day of many challenges I smiled on the tube all the way from Tooting Bec to Tottenham Court road, and all the way from Oxford Circus to Tooting Bec on my way home. It wasn't really an attempt to repeat my smiling challenge, I was just in a very good mood. I'd tell you more but it's secret. I think before I started IWAA if I was in a good mood wouldn't show it, people usually hide how they feel especially on tube train journeys. But my smiling challenge the other day made me think, 'why not?' Why not just smile if you're happy? And I smiled my genuine smile on the tube today and a few people did catch my eye and smile back. It was a good feeling, and it was a good day. I hope yours was too. And if it was, why not show it!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What's it all about?

Life is confusing sometimes, isn't it? And obviously so is this website. It's called 'I want an adventure', and I do! I do! I do! And so do lots of you. Unfortunately finding adventures isn't as easy as I first thought. Accepting that we all want adventure is a great start I think, and I believe that if we keep the faith adventures will start to happen because of this blog, a few yellow stickers, and most importantly people who claim, 'I want an adventure too! This thought cheers me up even when that life confusion stuff happens.

Perhaps you wanted an adventures as an anti-life-confusion device too? I think this reason is as good as any. Climbing a mountain, rescuing people, solving mysteries, doing something completely out of character, or even silly, any simple challenge can put problems in the background for a while; and if you're lucky even create an environment for change. I really struggled with that line I'll admit. I nearly even wrote 'personal growth' which would have been really wanky. Apologies, this post is getting a bit heavy, I'm nearly done now.

So... the bottom line, I'm feeling a bit low at the moment about life-confusion stuff, and this makes me think more than ever 'I want an adventure!'

Tomorrow I'll be hiding those blank stickers, in Borders, Oxford Street, London. Although I just checked my emails and there's one from someone in the Netherlands... The Netherlands? People in the Netherlands want adventures too!!! Forget life confusion, I'm smiling so much now!

'I live in the Netherlands, but I would love to have an adventure!!'

'Do you have to live in London to be part of IWAA? ' Of course not!

Her great email even said, 'As for the Hi-challenge, I used to do that when I was younger! It's really exciting! Almost everybody said hi back!'

And another nice email too, somebody wrote in to say, 'Heyy I want an adventure!! yesterday I have had a little adventure.. I buyed a chocolate bar at school and put a bit of paper on it; "Just for who wants it" then I've put it on a table in a corridor of our school. Ten minutes later I passed the table and saw two boys saying; ''huh?? aaahh chocolate there is a bit of paper on it''they were laughing. It was very funny.'

Yet another idea for the adventure database!

In fact, due to life-confusion I want an adventure ASAP. I'm going to buy a bar of chocolate in a minute and put a bit of paper on it. 'Just for who wants it' It should be fun! And I'll try the 'Hi' challenge tomorrow as well, as recommended by would-be adventurers in the Netherlands.

You see, life felt confusing, but not any more. All you need is an adventure.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Very Bad Photo, sorry

The winking faces were still there on the Magic Up Escalator at Oxford Circus. I tried to take a photo, but escalator's move, and my camera's never coped very well with moving things. If you want to see this wonderful escalator properly you'll have to visit it yourself, and maybe even draw a sticker of your own to decorate a poster there?

You could add more chewing gum to the faces if you prefer, but as I've already explained I don't really like chewing gum. Well for chewing I like it fine, but when you stick it on posters it goes kind of grey after a while. I don't like that. Who likes grey?

These hand drawn winking stickers have given me an idea. At Borders bookshop next week I will be placing special stickers in books. Blank ones. I may even throw in a pen too! This means people who are not committed to the whole IWAA concept, but who still like the idea of a bit of stickering, can get involved too! I wonder what people will draw on those blank stickers? And where they'll stick them?

Some good news (especially for those who doubt the IWAA concept) it seems that 3 people who responded to my emails are now a little closer to finding an adventure; simply thanks to a little bit of stickering, which was actually some sort of an adventure to me, so lets call that 4 people! I know that's not a lot of people in the scheme of things, but I really enjoyed the stickering, and as a side effect of a fun thing to do it is kind of nice.

I have a very long IWAA 'To Do' list and I have a few days off work next week, so hopefully I'll make some progress with the ideas I've had for this website, and for the amazing people who've replied to those yellow stickers.

I had an interesting response to my smiling challenge today, someone wrote in to say 'A similar idea -- if you are walking down the street you can say "Hi" to everyone that passes. (They do this in the countryside all the time.)'

Of course I now have to try this! To make life easier I'll probably do this on a day off when I'm in or around Tooting, as there would be an awful lot of people to say 'Hi' too on Oxford Street. Mind you, Tooting High Road can get pretty busy...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I must take a photo of those smiley winkey face stickers on that up escalator at Oxford Circus tube. They were gone yesterday, but were back again today. And there was some fresh chewing gum on a few poster's faces too. I'll take a snap for you tomorrow, hope everything's still there!

I tried smiling all the way from Oxford Circus to Tooting Bec on Monday night. I found it very difficult. I'd manage a few genuinely good smiles, but often when no one was looking. People really do avoid eye contact at all costs on the tube. I of course challenged a few people to look at me by smiling very directly at them. It worked to some extent, a Japanese couple smiled back at me quite cheerfully, perhaps they didn't know the 'no smiling on tubes' etiquette? But most people steadfastly ignored me, and I don't blame them. I probably looked like an idiot.

So it was frustrating, and a bit demoralising. Which isn't what smiling's supposed to be about. It's supposed to be fun! I tried my best to think of funny things, and when this worked it was good, but then those thoughts would fade, and I'd just be left with a fake grin on my face. A fake grin somehow defeats the object of this excercise. I wanted genuine smiles all the way home. Perhaps I simply wasn't in the mood?

I tried at least, and perhaps the people who gave me bemused looks had their day brightened by wondering why some idiot was smiling on a packed Northern Line train on a Monday night.

As we approached Tooting Bec I was feeling belligerant, and in full view of everyone I stickered gerbil's nose (not a real one, that would be cruel.) This made me smile at least.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The magic of the Up Escalator at Oxford Circus

I was back in the office today after a few days off sick, and there were delays on the Northern Line too, so I was feeling very 'Monday morning-ish'. I'd only managed to stick one sticker on the way to work, which wasn't very good at all. Although it was on Wallace, and I like him. But as I travelled on the Up escalator at Oxford circus I started to smile at what I saw, this was the escalator of chewing gum nose fame. The chewing gum nose posters had been replaced at the end of last month, most posters seem to be replaced monthly... (Useful info for would-be-stickerers out there.)

As I travelled upwards I saw that almost every poster on the Up escalator had a chewing gum mouth now! Or, and this was even stranger, some had a cheeky little hand drawn, smiling, winking face stickers! What was this all about? I had no idea, but it certainly made me smile to see so much stickering silliness all centered on one special Up Escalator.

I was pleased to see there was still an IWAA sticker on this escalator too, although one edge was slightly prised away from the poster. The sticker hadn't been removed, but I felt as if the mystery escalator stickerer's message might have been, 'I could remove this sticker if I wanted, but I will let it stay for now.' Thank you, mystery stickerer, if you're reading this!

I am certainly going to go to the office via Oxford Circus tomorrow, rather than taking the Northern Line to Tottenham Court Road. I love the magic of that Up Escalator!

I'm still trying to work out those winks, and chewing gum mouths, what does it all mean? It must mean something surely? Was the chewing gum on the mouth supposed to say 'There's room for a sticker on my nose?' And those winks, well they were excellent! I like winks, er.. why not?

So I was still smiling, and feeling almost giggly as I headed down Oxford Street. And as I smiled my big smile I remembered that I was supposed to do my smiling mission on the way to work! I really had completely forgotten. I'd been preoccupied with a bit of a personal dilemma instead, ok, as you seem like nice people I'll share. I was wondering whether or not I was ready to start dating again. I felt strongly that the answer was 'No, I'm not'. But the question had been asked... and it was asked by someone I liked a lot, someone who always makes me smile... So I'd told him yes. And it was all still sinking in. So you see, I had a different sort of 'smiling adventure' to think about as I headed to work this morning.

Don't worry though, I will smile myself silly all the way home, and I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

I hid stickers in books at Borders, Oxford Street if anyone wants some. They're hidden in these books for no particular reason.I was in a bit of a rush in my lunch hour and looking for largish books that were unlikely to be disturbed.

The stickers are in the following books (relevant section of the store in brackets) -

Sex Lives of the Romans (Humour)
English Puddings, sweet and savoury, by Mary Norrak (Jamie Oliver)
The Cat Detective, signed. (Cats)
Louis Theroux, signed. (Travel)

Just find the stickers and stick them on poster noses, It's easy. And you never know, you may even make an escalator turn magic.