May 7, 2022


My book is complete and in its seventh draft! The story has come a long way and evolved so much. I'm forever indebted to the readers who read each draft and shared their feedback. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The manuscript sits at 27 chapters and about 82,000 words. I've begun the slow process of pitching to agents, and inquiries are of course welcome. Contact me at tonypiff(at)gmail(dot)com.


Ridiculously Low-Key Adventuring:

A Dirtbag Handbook and A Midlife Memoir

By Tony Piff


“This isn’t what I signed up for!” I thought at age 34, staring down the barrel of middle age. “Why oh why didn’t I adventure more when I had the chance?” I fantasized about quitting the rat race, living in a van, creating a life of travel … only to be reminded of my responsibilities, my children and my debts.

Unbeknownst to me, the life I'd thought I'd been building was about to be turned on its head. I wouldn't end up living in a van. But I discovered, to my bewildered surprise: Middle age had not marked the end of my adventuring years. Middle age is when adventuring starts getting good!

In Part I: A Theory of Gear, I tell the story of my failed marriage and failed career and the shattering of my identity and deepest core values. Out of this rubble an unexpected life chapter took shape, more fulfilling and rich with adventure than anything I could have imagined. And amidst this breakthrough, I discovered a zealous belief in the power of “gear” as a sacred well of joy and meaning.

In Part II: A Theory of Adventure, I continue the story of my new evolving adventuring life. On the road and on the trail, I gained countless practical insights (mostly lessons learned the hard way) and forged a new relationship to adventure all my own. As I recount the humiliating mishaps and miseries collected on my extensive dirtbag excursions, readers will find themselves informed, entertained and inspired to tap the ridiculously low-key ethos and manifest their own dirtbag adventuring visions, transcending the regimented constraints of routine grownup life.

Part III: Adventure as Pilgrimage concludes the narrative arc with a single milestone adventure tale, undertaken at age 40 with my kids and my ex-wife.

This is a handbook about adventuring, but it’s also a very personal memoir, exploring my own assumptions about adulthood, responsibility, marriage, family, happiness and fulfilling my potential.

At the back of the book is the Gear Appendix, which details the stuff you need, whether you’re packing for a self-contained backpacking trip, a roadtrip, or just loading your pockets for everyday preparedness, as well as a rundown of various adventuring vehicles. There’s a satisfying, intimate, elemental relationship between gear and adventure. Drawing on my own experience and nerdy obsessiveness, I identify the essential items needed and the features to look for to maximize this satisfaction. I’m not seduced by expensive, high-tech, ultralight gear for its own sake, and you won’t find much of that stuff in these pages, although I encourage you to seek it out if that inspires you. My goal is to demystify and to motivate, to get readers out and adventuring, in the spirit of the ridiculously low-key.