We can all use the excuses of work, money, kids and lately the pandemic restrictions to feel we are not able to go off and have an adventure with a little imagination, and a bit of planning, you can make the most of those snippets of time that you do have, to inject a little sparkle back into your life.
What is a Microadventure?
Alistair Humphreys, a British Traveller and Author who was voted the Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic, coined the term ‘Microadventure’ in 2011. He had been travelling all over the world, participating in many big challenges but as his life and circumstances changed, he still wanted to carry on having those adventures even if they were scaled down and were closer to home.
For me, it’s about making the best of the time you have and mixing it up a bit. Perhaps setting mini goals and challenges for yourself to have an experience or achieve a target. Something to make you smile after a shorter time period of a day, evening or perhaps overnight and a memory to bank. It might just mean deviating from your routine commute by choosing a different mode of transport or perhaps going the scenic route home…or following a way that you have often seen people going and thought ‘I wonder where that leads?’ Well check it out, explore, you may have an adventure on the way!
Here are nine ideas I have come across that you could use as inspirational starters. Why not try one or two and adapt them to your home situation accordingly.
1. Journey around your home
This was a suggestion from Alistair Humphreys, where he mentioned that many people would say there is nothing interesting around their home. His instructions were to draw a circle around where you live and then walk to the edge of the circle and then follow it all the way round. (Apparently a 2 mile radius will make a walk of 16 miles) You will end up in places you have never been before and therefore exploring! If you live out in the countryside then he suggested to take some gear perhaps a bivvy bag and camp out, making an overnight stop for some extra adventure.
2. Seek out water
Find some open water whether it be a local river, lake or the sea. Take a swim or dip! The calming, yet invigorating feel of plunging into cold water is amazing. Make sure you are fully prepared with warm kit and a hot drink for after and don’t stay in too long. You can build up your tolerance to the cold with cold showers with the aim of getting out into the wild to complete your adventure mission.
3. Change your 9-5 to a 5-9
I love this one of Humphreys’ as it really makes use of the time that you may just fritter away normally. Make the effort, make a plan and be ready to head straight off at the end of your working day and just go for it. Do something really special in a matter of a few hours. Catch a train, climb a hill, camp out, cook over fire and get back in time for the start of the next day. Campsites are often quieter during the week. Guaranteed to push a few boundaries and awaken the senses.
4. Test your navigation skills and ‘Get lost’
This is a bit of a game you can have with your kids. Take a trip out in the woods, fields, beaches or parks locally. Get to a certain place and then announce that you’re lost…!! This one you can dramatise as much as you want to set the scene with the kids. Leave them in charge of finding the way home. (I could do this with my adult sister as she has a terrible sense of direction). Perhaps help with land marks for them to pick out. You may need a little more time than usual and might not get back the quickest way but it will be a new experience perhaps and push them out of their comfort zone in a safe way, testing their navigation skills. You may find places you’ve never been to before.
5. Follow an arbitrary route
Humphreys suggested this one as he planned a route and cycled from where his mum was born to where his dad was born. The point is to choose the destinations that mean something to you and that could be otherwise random. Choose places that are nostalgic or historic to help you keep going when you are tired to uncover some hidden gems on the way. How far apart you pick will obviously affect which mode of transport you choose but try and stay out of the car
6. Camp out / sleep under the stars
This can be done as close to home as your garden. Through social media, I’m seeing many kids and adults missing camping so much at the moment that they are pitching tents in their houses! For kids, it’s still an adventure, a bit of fun and something that wouldn’t happen often. Try and get outside and even under the stars. Who doesn’t love a bit of star gazing, sitting by a fire telling stories or toasting a few marshmallows?!
7. Climb a tree
Humphreys decided to climb the same tree as an adult – once every month for a year. He made it his mission to make time to do this every month – getting to know the tree, perfecting his route wanting to feel in touch with nature. You can do this with a favourite spot anywhere but great if you can add the challenge of a climb for example. I have my favourite seat situated up on a hill where I can view the sea but still being in the forest. I go there on my runs and build in some reflection time. Now someone has built a swing there so it’s not as quiet and tranquil as it was but still a beautiful spot to hang out and just ‘be’.
8. Create a Fitness Test Route
Most of us have a fitness watch but you can use a normal watch to time yourself. Why not make a set route from your regular run or cycle and add a few exercise stations for a challenge. Create your bench mark stats, train in between and see how you have improved over a set amount of time. This could also be adapted for kids outside or just in the garden as a fun obstacle course. Make sure you take pictures to set it up the same for the next time round!
9. Try some map art
We have done this for a challenge with our work team @Rockley. The aim is to make some sort of interesting shape whilst on your activity and uploaded to maps on Strava, Garmin Connect or whichever app you have. It’s fun and creative and adds another element to where you choose to go for your activity. Even with the kids they can use your phone to try and write their name or draw an animal. Not as easy as you think!!
At Rockley, we now have a new land based site opening very soon with acres of open space, woodland, walking tracks, a lake and three campsites for you to come and pitch up a tent. We can provide a host of activities to keep you entertained such as archery, a climbing wall, tomahawk throwing, a zip line, bush craft games and many more. We are prepared for groups and families to come along and have a succession of microadventures daily.