Palindromic motivation

This week: Days of Adventure - purple cow HELP! - and cryptocurrencies versus the climate...

Happy Friday!

And welcome to edition 262—coincidentally, like 1991 and 2002, a palindromic number. There is, of course, only one palindromic year every century, so we are the first generation in a millennium to live through two.

It is conceivable that there is at least one woman, born in 1991, who will survive until 2112 and live through a record-breaking three palindromic years. Pleasingly, on 21/12/2112, this lucky human will themselves be 121 years old.

My favourite English language palindromes are deified, racecar and detartrated. My favourite educational sentence palindrome is ‘A man, a plan, a canal—Panama’ and this is my favourite word-unit palindrome:

Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

Written in 1772, but surely inspired by 1771, Joseph Haydn composed a palindromic minuet for the third movement of his Symphony in G Major.

Meanwhile, brave souls have occasionally constructed entire novels and poems in palindromes. These works are scarcely readable, but then insanity is a common theme, as in Demetri Martin’s Dammit I’m Mad.

Insanity is next to comedy and, of course, a palindrome of Bolton would be Notlob.

Now, on with the show!


100 Days of Adventure: Equinox Update

Way back, you may remember, I resolved to aim for 100 Days of Adventure in 2021. In the spirit of accountability, I thought I’d better report back on how it’s going. So here’s my Spring Equinox DOA impact report, starting with THE HARD STATS.

Cumulative Days of Adventure so far: 1 (one)

No surprises here: I am well behind schedule. It’s been a frighteningly quiet start to the year in terms of adventures—primarily because, here in the UK, we are still under a ‘stay at home’ order. As a result, I have been staying at home—not the most adventurous of places, unless you count my daring habit of wearing the same shirt four days running.

My single day of adventure this year was a cheeky visit to the New Forest for an afternoon of drawing. I didn’t want to have nothing to report, but, to be honest, I’m not even sure it counts as adventurous under my own definition:

Did I spend a significant chunk of the day outside on an adventure?

It did feel significant, but maybe that was because I hadn’t been further than five miles from my house in months. If I’m stuck on 99 come 31 December, I’ll count it.


April is looking much more optimistic. The ban on staying overnight somewhere fun in the UK is lifted on 12 April and so on 12 April, all being well, I will go to Dartmoor for a week of walking—possibly even with friends!

This kind of excitement has been unheard of since December, so I am indeed excited. I’m following Dartmoor with my first weekend of outdoor instructing work and then immediately going into a five-day bushcraft course.

Without wanting to tempt fate, I spent a happy five minutes sketching out how this year might look, if I were to meet my goal of 100 Days of Adventure:

  • April: 12 (already booked!)

  • May and June: 12 each

  • July and August: 20 each (hopefully cycle touring)

  • September: 12

  • October, November and December: 4 each

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that everything will go pear-shaped and we’ll spend the next six months honing our indoor adventure game. But it’s also perfectly possible that, confined for so long, this could be our greatest year of adventure ever.

If you’re hoping to be more adventurous this year, I’d love to know—how are you getting on? Anything planned for unlockdown?


I need a purple cow adventure name

I’m preparing to launch a new website to play home to all my writing about outdoor adventure. After much journaling (prompted by Alastair Humphreys’ excellent notebook), I pinned my niche to the page:

Flight-free adventure + good mental health.

The only remaining barrier to getting started is committing to a domain name. There are two schools of thought on naming:

  1. Get something relevant, AKA the obvious approach

  2. Get something irrelevant, AKA the Seth Godin approach

The irrelevant school has a lot going for them. By being irrelevant, the name will, oddly enough, stay relevant. Apple, for example, could go into almost any niche and the name would still work. The same is not true of Dunkin Donuts. Irrelevance would mean I can stay flexible and change my niche if it’s not working. That’s a good thing.

Irrelevance also means that I can focus on dreaming up a short, memorable domain name, rather than limiting myself to a narrow stable of relevant domains, most of which have already been bought up. Furthermore, it’s very hard to find keywords that capture the concepts of both flight free adventure and good mental health.

However, on this occasion, I have succeeded: grounded. Planes grounded, feet grounded, mind grounded. It works. I love it.

Of course, is not available to buy—and also doesn’t capture a spirit of adventure. So what I’m looking for is a very short word that suggests the adventurous outdoors and that can be tacked onto the beginning or end of grounded.

I have a few suggestions and I’d love to know your thoughts, either by commenting on Substack or replying to this email:

  • (Context: bear was my nickname in school and bears are outdoorsy!)




  • (a bit long and .com is unavailable)

  • (.com unavailable)

Bonus points for new suggestions. And if you have any ideas on how to come up with irrelevant domains—I’m listening.



Can cryptocurrencies save the world?

With investments rocketing five-fold since October, everyone’s asking: ‘How do I get into Bitcoin?’ But, given that climate change is forecasted to reduce average global incomes roughly 23 percent by 2100, we should be asking a more fundamental question: ‘What impact do cryptocurrencies have on the environment?’

To answer this question (and many more), I spoke to some exceedingly clever people and typed their insights into a couple of articles for Global Landscapes Forum.

So, if you’re thinking of getting into Bitcoin or wondering how blockchain might change the world (if not save it), then I heartily recommend you grab a cuppa and do some reading.

Part 1: Can cryptocurrency be climate conscious?

tl;dr: Yeeeees, but not Bitcoin. Or most others. Sorry

Read Part 1 on GLF

  • How bad is Bitcoin for the environment?

  • Is there any way of using Bitcoin without having a negative impact on the environment?

  • What if Bitcoin only used renewable energy?

  • In the grand scheme of planetary challenges, just how bad is Bitcoin?

  • Is there a greener alternative to Bitcoin and “proof of work”?

Part 2: Can cryptocurrencies help the planet?

tl;dr: Yes! By changing wealth distribution, reversing inequalities and countering ecological degradation.

Read Part 2 on GLF

  • Crypto helps increase climate-conscious and democratic control of money

  • Crypto helps reduce financial inequality

  • Crypto helps restore degraded landscapes

  • Crypto helps decouple reserve assets from the oil-hungry military

  • How you can help the planet by using cryptocurrency


Any more for any more?

PARTY: End of the Anthropocene

ENDOTA is a clever idea: two parallel series of parties that celebrate milestones on our way to climate change mitigation—or total annihilation.

Defined by scientific predictions taken from current studies, the dates will continually shift as we either accelerate climate change, or manage to combat its effects.

The first two parties are Primal Gentrification, a wake for the last Sumatran Orangutan that is currently scheduled for August 2027, and Black Dust Gone, a party for humanity’s last ever coal-fired power station, currently booked for August 2022.

PODCAST: Grounded with Frankie Boyle

I found Louis Theroux’s podcast with comedian Frankie Boyle surprisingly thoughtful.

And the stories from Frankie Boyle’s childhood growing up in Glasgow are frankly terrifying. I don’t know about you, but the worst thing that could happen to you at my school was being chucked into a Grundon bin. Not your alcoholic dad chopping your head off.

FOOD: No one cooks alone

Project Armonia, a refugee-run kitchen and restaurant on the Greek island of Samos has launched a cookbook. No One Cooks Alone is packed with recipes written by refugee volunteers from the Central Asian steppe lands to the West Coast of Africa. It costs €30 and all proceeds go straight back into serving hot, healthy and nutritious meals to the most vulnerable members of the refugee community on Samos.

BOOK: Atomic Habits by James Clear

It’s worth saying again for those of you who missed it first time around: Atomic Habits is an excellent book for understanding and implementing good habits. Full of mind bombs. Like this one:

Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.

I’ll leave you with a word of wisdom from Rosie Watson, who is running to Mongolia and telling new stories about climate change. This is her answer to the question ‘How do you stay motivated?’

Weird that people ask this now, but don’t ask it to people who sit in an office all day. … Motivation came a lot more easily in the 7 months of running than any other time in my life … If you think something is important you can either worry and feel hopeless and apathetic, or you can act—and that is motivating in itself.

Have a great weekend!

Big love,


Hello, I’m David Charles and I’m a UK-based writer and outdoor instructor. Say hello by replying to this email, or delve into 500+ other articles on

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