Micro-adventuring: Small vacations with giant results
When was the last time you came across an idea that lit you up? The last time you had an electric feeling as you nod along with each line of what you're reading?
This is how I was feeling recently after discovering Alastair Humphreys blog. For those unfamiliar, Humphreys is a travel blogger and good ol' fashioned explorer, having gone on some adventures so epic he won National Geographic's Adventurer of The Year award.
And while that is thrilling, what really struck me about Humphreys' story was something much smaller. It wasn't the grand backpacking voyages, but how he spent evenings and weekends near his home base, London. I was fascinated by what Humphreys calls 'micro adventures'.
Aware that most regular people can't just quit their job to explore Africa from top to bottom, Humphreys offers the micro adventure as a way to inject the benefits of travelling into your daily life.
But what exactly is a micro adventure?
On his website, Humphreys describes it as working your regular 9 to 5, but changing the focus of 'your 5 to 9'. How? Camping under the stars outside the city limits.
A night in the wilderness before returning to the office? I thought it sounded crazy- in the best possible way.
It got me thinking. How often do we dream of vacations we never go on? How long do we sit, ignoring all the amazing things around us? How many times have we waited for adventure to find us rather than going looking for it?
Even if you know your city inside out, even if you think your town is boring, why not take a page from Humphreys' book and see what's beyond the city limits?
Boyfriend and I did just that with a few family members recently. We had heard of the gorgeous coves surrounding Halifax and decided to pack the car and see them for ourselves.
We drove through bad neighbourhoods, boring neighbourhoods and slight suburban sprawl. As the houses thinned and the road began to wind, we knew we must be getting close. One pitstop to ask for directions and off we went, parking the car to see what lied beyond view on a nondescript footpath.
Walking past still-brown trees and slush that held the last memories of winter's snow, I questioned if we were even on the right trail.
Then, the path disappeared all together, absorbed by slick mud and rotting logs. We almost turned back.
But we could hear the ocean's roar in the distance. We were too close to quit now.
Around a curve, down a steep hill, and we were there: Rocks so old they looked like crumpled paper. Water so frothy and rhythmic it seemed to dance. Air so clean it almost hurt to breathe.
We sat for at least an hour in near silence watching the waves. The city and all the stress within it definitely felt further than a half hour away. My face hurt from smiling.
After a picnic lunch it was time to head home again. I kept looking over my shoulder as we trekked back to the car, amazed at what was hiding so close to home.
The disruption to routine left me so energized and alive-feeling that I knew this was the first taste of something bigger for me. I'll never give up my big travel dreams, but while I wait for them to come true I'll be chasing adventure in my backyard, one micro-advenutre at a time.