Everyday Adventures Talking Point Why Adventure?

Will You Please Turn Out the Light?

Samoa Moon
Written by Stuart Wickes

Talking Point: Will Someone Please Turn Out the Light

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I am sitting at my desk, in the dark, wearing a headtorch, typing this post with the lights out.

Why? Because the lightbulb in the office has blown.

It’s been three months now and I still haven’t got around to changing it.

Torch in the Night

Darkness is transformative and a simple way to add adventure

Isn’t that a bit lazy?

Well… yes. But I like to call it energy saving. The truth is I’ve really just adapted to these new circumstances. It’s a bit like having jam on my bagel; I’ve formed a new habit and become accustomed to a darker version of reality.

Anyway, despite the gloom I have enough light from my headtorch and screen to make me feel like a 21st century Dickens. Or do I mean Scrooge?

Look you’re not churning out great literature..

No. Just this drivel; I don’t aim high. But darkness is a masterpiece in itself. Like the best literature it’s a transformative experience.  It takes something familiar and gives it new texture, new meaning. It casts things in a new light; a dim but differently nuanced one. Darkness is an adventure we can all embrace; everyday, if we choose to. You don’t need to wait for your bulb to blow.

So writing in the dark is your idea of adventure?

Well, I’m getting into it now. At first it was an inconvenience but once the elastic of the headtorch squeezed my head I felt a twinge of explorer spirit and began to pay attention to the experience.

How often have you sat in the dark and really noticed what it’s like to be in darkness, even in familiar surroundings? Have you noticed what colour darkness is? What you can and can’t pick out in it? Have you noticed how your other senses are heightened when your eyes can’t do all the detective work. How you feel different in the dark?

Night Hike

Everything is different in the dark. On a night hike for the Queen’s Jubilee.

Have you ever had a family evening at home, in the dark? We did it last year for Earth Hour and spent a happy evening playing games by candlelight in an atmospheric bonding experience that was educational and part of a wider pattern of collective action. If you want to join in, Earth Hour is this weekend, 23rd March at 8.30pm, although you don’t just have to do it for an hour.

But sitting inside in the dark is not a real adventure is it?

No, you’re right. Who wants to stay at home? So take it one step further and go outside. Write your diary at the bottom of the garden with the light out. Or go on a night hike. You don’t have to go far. We strapped on head torches for a mile or so night hike to our local Travel Lodge, just for the fun of it. How different the canal, footpaths and fields are at night, when swans become sea dragons, sheep eyes glow and hedgehogs crawl out to attack.  Mind you that was child’s play compared to the time we took a canoe out on the River Wye after dusk.

The sea and the moon

A ripple can sound like a rapid in the dark

Why would you do that?

That’s what my 73 year old mother asked as she waited all night in a dark lay-by to pick us up. It may be unconventional to paddle a river at night and you need to choose your water carefully but boy can it make a tame stretch of water feel deliciously daring.  Normal wildlife chatter becomes the sound track of a horror film and it’s hard to navigate or know where you are when you can’t see landmarks. Riffles of water take on the significance of giant rapids in the silence; in fact you can easily scare the pants off yourself. Kirstie was convinced we were about to go over Niagara Falls at one point. All of which turns it into an adventure. An easy, cheap, very different kind of adventure. With bats. If you are lucky.

Bats are not lucky

No. And thankfully there are no bats in the office. Just me, my computer, a broken light bulb, a head torch. And a now…this talking point.

Talking Points

Have you ever had an adventure in the dark?  Have you ever joined in Earth Hour? How was it for you?

Join the Conversation

Talking Point is our series of short Photo Friday posts. Each week we pick a photo and post a talking point and invite you to join the conversation. Do leave a comment with your thoughts.


About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!


  • We’ll be joining in for earth hour but I’m afraid that’s as adventurous as I get. I’m too easily spooked to go exploring outside in the dark – mind you there are so many street lights here that it’s quite difficult to actually find dark anymore.

    • Finding real darkness is harder these days. It makes earth hour all the more significant, it’s quite dramatic to see large buildings and areas of cities just switch off. Makes you think how possible it is to switch stuff off when there’s the will. One of my kids asked why the power companies don’t just turn off the power stations for an hour so everyone has to join in!

  • Well, I jog in the forest at night, whenever I do (which is far too rarely, but that has nothing to do with the dark). I bring a torch, but I never need it – the forest is never really dark, not even with a new moon. But I guess that doesn’t really qualify as an adventure.

    When I was sailing with my parents, we usually sailed in the daytime but had a few overnight cruises, which did really get quite adventurous, almost each of them. That was in the days before GPS navigation, and once we missed an island, going out into the open Baltic. Now the Baltic isn’t an ocean, we had little chance of discovering a new continent, and we wouldn’t have fallen off the earth disk either, but hours turned to almost-days, and we had a dog with us who was so strictly shipbroken he was about to explode. In another night cruise on the river Elbe the only unlit buoy between Hamburg and the Kiel Canal zipped by us in the darkness some 10ft away. Those are solid steel things that would have made a not very satisfying thud and a mighty hole in a tiny fiberglass hull.

    So far we have done very little darkness adventures with the kids, though. I remember standing outside a tent in the countryside with them oncem though it was probably only for going to the toilet – still, the Milky Way is something you can never see in the city, and it was quite spectacular.

    • Thomas your comments always take me right into the heart of your experiences – thank you. Oh those halycon days before GPS when one could drift past buoys and head in the wrong direction with nothing beeping at you, and being none the wiser until sometime later.

  • My night time darkness adventures are camping ones. The stars really steal the show camping in Australia. We will turn off our lights and go for a walk along the Strand.

  • Love your post! Being night owls, we love the dark. Night hikes, stargazing, observing local wildlife, we even try each month to make a full moon canoe trip on our local river! It does seem completely different than during the day! Of course, in Texas during July and August, after dark is the BEST time to be outside!

  • Canoeing in the dark sounds cool – never on the ocean though, that would terrify me. I like evening candlelight too, it makes everything feel more special.

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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