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Too Busy? Microadventure.

When you think of adventure, you usually think of some grandiose time in your life when you pack everything you need on your back and traverse across great expanses in some distant country. I’ll admit, that sounds pretty damn nice, but most people don’t have time for that.

What else can we do? Go to a campground for a weekend? Sure, but there will be a lot of people there. Why not go on a microadventure? “Microadventure? What’s that?” A microadventure is something that people have been doing for years, but have risen in popularity recently with Alastair Humphreys and his own microadventures. If you happen to be a hammock camper, upgrade them to winter hammocks with an underquilt and then you’ll have no excuse.

So what exactly is there to a microadventure? I talked with microadventurers Jamie Bowlby-Whiting and Alastair Humphreys to get some feedback from them on what they’re all about.

James Kennedy: Why did you decide to do a microadventure?

Alastair: I continuously encountered people who appreciated adventure and loved it vicariously but who never had thetime/money/oomph to take on an adventure of their own. I decided to simplify adventure, to reduce it to its essence, in order to eliminate people’s self-imposed excuses for not overcoming their inertia.

JK: What are the best places to look for a microadventure in one’s backyard?

Jamie: You are limited only by your imagination. If you cannot find a microadventure, you simply aren’t looking hard enough. I genuinely believe that wherever you go in the world, whether in your backyard or not, there is some form of adventure to be found.

AH: Nobody lives very far from somewhere wild. It does not need to be large: I have slept in woods only 200m across. I’ve slept on hills that look down upon orange sodium streetlights. You can find wild places. You just need to open your eyes and look.

JK: Any tips for a microadventure on a limited budget?

microadventure 2JW: Walk, cycle, swim, hitchhike. Many of the best microadventures don’t require huge sums of money. Instead of paying someone to facilitate your activities, experience them for yourself by using your own body to get wherever you are going. Quite often, that is half of the adventure.

JK: What is the biggest snag that you’ve experienced on a microadventure.

AH: Rain! I cannot pretend that camping in a bivvy bag in the rain is much fun. It’s certainly enhanced by good weather.

JK: Should you set your expectations high or low?


AH: I’d set them low and just go do it. Only once you are home and dry-again, warm-again, well-fed-again are you in a position to look back and wallow in the joy of retrospective pleasures…

JW: Aim high, expect nothing. Enjoy the ride.

JK: Anything else that we should know about a microadventure?

JW: It depends. What are you doing tonight? Or this weekend? Nothing special? Then you should know that you can go out and have a microadventure. You don’t need an excess of time or money to do this, so there is nothing to stop you. Do it now!

AH: Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools. Use all this as a guide, by all means. But ultimately go and do whatever excites you and challenges you.

By James Kennedy


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