MICROADVENTURES: WHEN SIZE DOESN’T MATTER.
“A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding."
This is a quote from Alastair Humphrey, a British adventurer, author and keynote speaker, who developed the trend ‘microadventure.’ The idea of a microadventure is that it’s a movement to try to be in the moment – a form of mindfulness. A microadventure is easy, in front of our doorstep and we can do it today:
“As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, busy, and stuck in front of a screen, microadventures offer a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia. The appeal of microadventures is that they make adventure accessible to people who may have very little outdoor experience.”
We all know the feeling of needing a change. The everyday routine sits above us like a dark cloud and we ask ourselves: what can we do to flee this situation? We get stuck in daily routine, with our heads full of work issues or family related things. But we don’t have to wait or prepare for the perfect moment for an adventure. We can go outside and do it today.
Yes, we know the excuses that will come up right this second: The kids are too little for adventures, we have no appropriate equipment or no annual leave days left to use. Time has always been the biggest issue in making excuses to do things. But taking a microadventure does not have to be that hard.
The most important thing is to ask: What would a microadventure be for myself? There is no general rule on what to do that can be applied to everybody. Everyone has their own comfort zone with their own microadventure ideas. There can be ‘rules’ such as taking a time span of six hours for a microadventure or using no vehicles such as cars or planes, but in general, Alastair Humphrey recommends taking a small adventure in your close surroundings that doesn’t need a lot of time or money. Simply move outside of your own comfort zone and embrace the uncertainty.
Saying this doesn’t signify that we should make a challenge out of a microadventure. There is no need to always go higher, for longer or to travel further away (especially at the moment, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in many areas). Instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others’ adventures we should see what is important to and will benefit ourselves.
A first step to a microadventure could be to spend time outside during the night. We can leave the house as soon as the sun sets and go for a walk without any explicit goal. We simply walk and decide at each corner which turn to take. Preparing a meal on the camping stove outside could be a great end to a night walk. But microadventures can be all sorts of things. We can spend a night in a hammock, drive our bicycle instead of our car to the next town or help the farmer next door. We can climb a tree, sleep in our backyard or hike up the highest hill in our town. Let us sketch our view from our balcony or make our microadventure about ‘making a difference and leaving no trace,’ by going for a walk and picking up all the rubbish we find along the way. Alastair Humphrey offers some of his ideas online or we can mind map together with our families. Keep in mind that microadventures are about ‘firsts’ and also about doing regular things differently. Let us break our routines!
Microadventures are fun when not everything is planned beforehand. Goals make us move and leave the house, but we should try and loosen them along the way and be prepared for spontaneous changes by simply embracing the way.
Adventure shouldn’t be dependent on a destination. Fleeing thousands of kilometers away by flying to the other end of the world will bring us right back to our doorstep eventually. But with microadventures we can transform our daily life in a sustainable, exciting and fun way.
Microadventures help us grow and teach us to live without constant stimulation. We can even go on our own and accept the silence on our own doorstep.
We all engaged in microadventures as children, but don’t let being an adult stop you from venturing out of your normality zone and exploring what surrounds you with fresh eyes.