A Life Less Ordinary

is a collaboration between writer Mark Pawlak and photographer Julia Horbaschk.

It captures the spirit of people leading less ordinary lives through adventures and reveals what inspires them.

The project started at the Adventure Travel Film Festival and is heading off around the world in search of inspiring characters.

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Mark ︎︎
Julia ︎︎

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Laura & Steve

About Laura & Steve:

This UK-based couple are very much seizing the moment with a mobile home mega tour of Europe. For some people having a small child would be an obstacle to adventure; this couple are making it all part of the experience. 

Tell us about your current adventure

We’re doing 6 months on the open road around Europe in a mo-ho with a seven-month-old baby, Daisy, and our four-year-old dog, Biscuit. I’m utilising my year of maternity as an opportunity to be a family together and see Daisy grow up. I also don't want Steve to miss the first year’s milestones and wanted to embrace getting out of the norm of being a new mum and being on my own in the day while he was out at work.

We hope to work our way around Europe, but we may get to one destination we like and stay there for the whole time...who knows?

What is your first memory of doing something ‘adventurous’?

Steve: Going off to climb the biggest hill in the area where he lived aged 10-11yrs. Winter Hill was a few miles from home and I saw it in the distance and wanted to climb it, so I just went and did it.

Laura: I left home when I was 16 and lived with my aunty. After doing my GCSE 's they took me to Wales and my uncle and I climbed Devil’s Kitchen; it was hard work and when we got to the top it was so foggy but I was so happy we made it - and even more excited to tell my aunty about it when we got back down to the bottom.

How do you think your attitude to adventure was shaped at an early age?

Steve: Growing up in a busy house with five siblings prompted me to escape the chaos to search out solitude in wild places.

Laura: My aunty, who I lived with at age 16, had a son who was travelling around Australia. When he came home to visit I was in awe of his stories it gave me a feeling that I wanted to see more of the world. As I grew older I did care work and went on to become a nurse; seeing life and death everyday at work it made me want to live more, as one day I too will not be here.... never live with regret that you could of done something sooner.

What helps motivate you to get ‘out there’?

Steve: Because the world is a big beautiful place and we have so little time on it, I feel the need to get out and see these places through my own eyes rather than on TV or in a picture. There is nothing better than that sense of achievement when you pull off your own mini adventure.

Laura: Working previously as an intensive care nurse and now a hospice nurse, I know life can literary be snatched away at any time, or people can become so debilitated they need supportive care to help them with everyday tasks. This motivates me.... to get up, and get out there.

I do enjoy sitting at home and having a couple of chill days but I don't want to miss an opportunity of seeing and doing things.... things that some people just can’t. It doesn’t even have to be anything mammoth, a simple walk or bake a cake and take it to somebody.

When I reach old age I want to be able to say, “When I was 30, I trekked to Everest basecamp”. We are also very fortunate to have some amazing friends who like to try different things, so between us an idea pops up and we just go for it...if money allows.

Do other people’s adventures inspire you?

Steve : Yes they help plant the seeds of ideas for our own adventures. My wife and I have good teamwork: she thinks of the ideas and I get arranging plans.

Laura: My cousin inspired me to travel and want to see more of the world, and my dad encouraging me to go for it....his words were, "go and see, there is always a plane back home if you don't like it”. I also love going to the Kendal Mountain Film Festival; such inspirational stories of people getting out and doing unbelievable adventures gets my tummy excited and me thinking…. it only takes that one idea, one moment of determination and adventure can happen.

What could young families try if they want to introduce children to outdoor life?

Don't be afraid to wrap up warm and go and explore a field, woods or the beach; you could collect bits and bobs such as sticks, leaves, stones, sand or insects. And don't be afraid to get dirty or chat to people you meet. Go and jump in puddles! The best type of learning is getting out there and seeing, feeling, smelling and enjoying.

Do you have any advice for couples venturing out for the first time?

When you’re preparing you should think about what you are going to do, this will dictate what you need to take, or how to prepare. Always make sure you’re cosy and take a treat for a surprise. If you get lost a phone will have Google Maps to get you to safety and be prepared for changes in weather if you’re going up higher ground. It’s also useful to join a group for support if you’re not feeling confident.

The main thing is to enjoy.... the funniest stories and the ones you talk about are the near death experiences, and the arguments you have when getting a motorhome stuck down a dead end street with nowhere to turn!

What does adventure give us that regular, and increasingly digital, life doesn’t?

With digital life there is no sense of real feeling: you can look at a picture and go ‘wow!’ or look at that same picture with your own eyes and not only have a ‘wow!’ moment, but also a sense of achievement, satisfaction, determination, and best of all, a sense of feeling alive.