Too often we live just for the weekend. The stoke slowly starts mid-day Wednesday and increasingly gets higher until Friday afternoon for peak stoke lasting to Sunday evening when it’s “back to reality” for the “nine to five” for the week ahead. In which we repeat over and over until our two-week vacation mid-summer, and then again on repeat year after year living our lives on autopilot until retirement.
This concept is something I cannot understand (along with the many societal exceptions we are presented with that we “must do” to go through our lives. but that is for another blog post at another time). Why do wait until the weekend to enjoy our time, why do we wait until we are retired to live our best life, when we are fully able to enjoy it now? Time is not promised to anyone and can slip away at any moment. You are given one life, and it’s up to you how you want to live it.
We need to live in the now, to fully make the most of the time we have and this is where microadventures come in to play. And if you are anything like me and need adventure more often than not, or you feel like you will be on the verge of cabin fever and a freak out if don’t get outside like yesterday – microadventures are a great way to get your “fix” in right now. You do not need to wait for your weekend, or your two or three week annual vacation to do something. You can do something as soon as you finishing reading this post (or if you want to go RIGHT NOW and read the rest later, HAVE FUN! and do let me know what you did, I am stoked for you!) or you can go tonight, or tomorrow morning.
Microadventures are a great way to mix up the monotony of your week. If you are thinking that you simply “cannot” make time in your week for an adventure – maybe your priorities are not in the right place and you need to do some evaluating. You can spend less time in the kitchen, get out from in front of the TV and off the sofa, stop mindlessly scrolling through social media (check your screentime data on your phone to see how much time you are wasting). The laundry and dishes can wait. (My parents are probably freaking about the last statement and my endless pile of laundry I just brought over to their place.)
I am terrible at math, each persons situation is different, and the hours will vary – but let’s use this as an example: There are 168 hours in the week. You probably work 40 hours a week. Add an hour of commute time each way and an hour to get ready each day before work – you are only at 55 hours of time spent for the “nine to five”. This leaves you with 113 hours left to do whatever you would like in that time. Sure you have to sleep (56 hours if you sleep 8 hours a night) so you are now at 57 hours left to do what you want for the week. You could essentially drive across Canada (non-stop) in that time.
Think about that for a second…
Five thousand, five hundred and fifteen kilometers (or 3427 miles) of diverse landscape that you could experience in that time.
Now just imagine what you can do during this time (or even part of this time) experiencing microadventures close to home?!
Pretty unbelievable, right?
WHAT IS A MICROADVENTURE?
A microadventure is a simple, inexpensive, quick adventure close to your homebase. Alastair Humphreys explains it best (and it’s a coffee reference, so of course I am going to love it), that microadventures are “Like a shot of espresso. You get the taste. You get the effect. Maximum impact in the short, condensed burst of adventure.”
They don’t need to be a big grand adventure, and it doesn’t really need much planning. It can be as simple as a walk in your neighbourhood park, an early morning paddle, or even an evening mountain summit. Microadventures will look different for everyone, someone living in a city hundreds of kilometers from the mountains won’t be able to do a sunrise summit, and someone who does live in the mountains won’t get the urban experience. Do what you can, where you are – sans FOMO. Just getting outdoors to connect to nature to take in as much adventure as you can, and challenging yourself to break routine, step out of your comfort zone and create your own unique adventures.
HOW TO PLAN A MICROADVENTURE?
The hardest part is always starting, so start small. You don’t need to add an adventure into your life every single day, so do what you can and go from there, once you have decided what day(s)/time(s) fit your schedule, and what type of microadventure you want to do – “book” them into your calendar. Depending on the type of adventure you may not need much, but do be safe when you go. Check out my 10 Essentials Checklist to ensure you are well-equipped for any situation.
10 IDEAS FOR MICROADVENTURES
Here are a list of ten ideas for your microadventures. This list is by no means a complete list as the possibility for adventure is endless, but is rather a starting point for you to be inspired to create your own.
Get out there, adventure awaits!
1. WALK IN THE PARK
A simple microadventure that doesn’t take much planning. Head to the park in your neighbourhood, or be really adventurous and choose a park (or trail) in your area that you haven’t yet explored! (Or complete a trail in the opposite direction than you previously have for a familiar, but brand new experience).
2. BIKE RIDE THROUGH YOUR CITY OR TOWN
Choose to go to work, for a coffee date, head to the weekend market, or to pick up some groceries for dinner by bike rather than driving. You might explore parts of the city you might not have been in previously, and you might find new gems in your neighbourhood.
3. CAMPING TRIP
Yes, you heard me right. Head out right after work and come back in for work the next day. The campsite will be less busy/noisy – so you can get a restful sleep away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Pure bliss.
4. SUPPER AT THE LAKE
Not quite up to camping during the week? Day-use areas have picnic benches and fire pits, bring a quick and easy meal (hot dogs anyone?!) and bask in that beautiful evening light as the sun sets. Don’t forget the s’mores!
(Please only have a fire when/where permitted, check for local fire bans before lighting a fire and fully extinguish your fire before leaving your location)
5. EARLY MORNING PADDLE
There is nothing quite like getting in an early morning paddle in just as the sun starts to rise. The water is calm, the air is crisp and the world is quiet and it is so peaceful.
6. WATCH THE SUN RISE FROM THE HIGHEST POINT YOU CAN GET TO
Head out before sunrise and hike to the highest point you can get to whether it is a large hill, a mountain, the top of a tall parkade and watch the sunrise.
7. EVENING FISHING TRIP
There is nothing quite as relaxing as fishing. Head out to the river, local fish pond, closest lake and spend the evening trying to catch tomorrows dinner.
(Please obey local fishing regulations)
8. PICK A RANDOM SPOT ON THE MAP
Open up a map of your city, or of your general adventure location, close your eyes and pick a random spot and go. Decide how you would like to get there (walk, bike, skateboard, boat, etc) and make an adventure out of it.
9. SUNSET SUMMIT
Similar to #6 where you watched the sunrise from the highest point, head out to the highest point and watch the sunset and the stars peek out of the night sky. Don’t forget your headlamp on your way back down!
10. CREATE YOUR OWN MICROADVENTURE
Make an adventure unique to you.
Do you drive to work? Why not wake up earlier and take the scenic route by bike?
Hike between two personal important locations.
Venture through your neighbourhood in a totally different way than you normally do.
There are no limits on what constitutes as a microadventure. Get out there, and explore!
If you are feeling extra spontaneous, write down all the adventures you are willing go on, fold them up and put them in a jar. When the day comes (or the day before so you are at least prepared) pick one of the adventures out of the jar and go. No putting the adventure back, or saying no. Just go.
BUT WHAT IF IT’S RAINING / COLD / SNOWING OUT THERE?!
There is a famous quote, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” Suit up and embrace the weather! Some of my most memorable adventures were when the weather was slightly unfavourable. (See my Roadtrip Down The Icefields Parkway (rainy), The Magic of Troll Falls (winter and a bit chilly) and Hike Amisk Wuche Trail (rainy with an impending storm).
Looking for some more inspiration to get out there? Here are a few videos I love about living life fully, adventure and microadventures!
Leave a comment below on where you go and what you do on your micro-adventures!
Please leave no trace when enjoying the outdoors!