I’ve received a few questions in the past few months from people asking how I do so much each month. It usually starts with “I wish I could do that, but…”, “I’d love to hike, but…”, you get the idea. You see, people love the idea of getting out and making the most of their lives until it comes time to actually doing something. I think the big problem is people get overwhelmed and feel anxious by the prisons they create for themselves. So many people I know bog their lives down with all sorts of unnecessary mental chores. They waste insane amounts of time in front of their phone, computer, or television, and make chronic procrastination a deadly habit. I work a M-F, 8-5 job like most, and I think that optimizing the weekend is the key to maintaining balance in life and maximizing happiness. I choose to do so through outdoor activities, but the options are endless.
Alistair Humphreys is an adventurer, blogger, author and motivational speaker, and is the person many credit for coining and popularizing the Microadventure. If you follow some of the outdoor blogs online, you’ll have seen articles about microadventures on National Geographic, New York Times, Outside Online, and countless other places. My favorite description is from Outside Online where they describe a microadventure as “quick outings that offer something different, something exciting—but cheap, simple, short, and on your doorstep. Spontaneous weeknight campouts with friends. Running your ten-mile commute instead of getting in the car. A full-moon hike on your favorite trail.” As you can see, anything can be a microadventure, and it doesn’t require long distance travel, expensive accommodations, or copious amounts of planning. You just need to get out and do something! I try to plan one microadventure for each weekend. It’s usually a hike or camping trip, but I also love going to museums, running, playing fetch with my dogs, and just about anything else that sounds fun at the time. Below, you will find my 5 reasons for why I think microadventures will change your life, just as they’ve changed mine!
1.) Microadventures Make Every Weekend Feel Like A Vacation
My favorite thing about microadventures is the way they always feel like a long vacation. It’s amazing how a weekend trip to a new place can feel like a week away from home. My most notable weekend trips this year were a three day weekend on Catalina Island and a standard weekend of camping and hiking on the Central Coast. Neither trip required I take vacation time or miss any work, both were within driving distance, and neither trip cost very much money. If you feel you’re in need of a vacation, but don’t have the time, plan a weekend microadventure!
2.) Microadventures Help You Explore and Experience Your Surroundings
Having been born and raised in California, I wasn’t aware of how little I actually knew about the state until I started taking microadventures each weekend. In one month, I can visit the desert, the mountains, and the beach. Most importantly, I have endless access to mountains and trails without having to drive more than an hour. Before I started hiking in 2010, I had no clue these trails even existed. I just thought the mountains made for a nice backdrop for the cities below. The same goes for museums, ghost towns, art galleries, and dog parks. I can’t even count the number of times I would sit back and think “what is there to do?”. Once I turned that mindset into “I’m going to find something to do”, the entire area opened up into a land of possibility. If you often find yourself bored on the weekends, try something new by getting out to explore your surroundings!
3.) Microadventures Encourange You To Spend Time With Loved Ones
It’s a common complaint I hear from friends that they don’t get to spend enough quality time with their loved ones. It’s a difficult situation. As adults, we work all week, and when we’re not at work we’re competing with social media, television, sleep, and other individual pursuits for quality time. Microadventures are great for creating a beautiful environment conducive to long conversations and quality time with the ones we love. Whether you’re discussing art at a gallery, critiquing your meals at a food truck, or enjoying the silence of a remote campsite, you’re going to be enjoying the company of your travel companions without the distractions you find at home. If you’re feeling stretched for time, and would like to interact more with your friends and family, give them a call and start planning a microadventure!
4.) Microadventures Make You Feel Like A Regular Traveler Without the Expense
I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of travelling in my life thus far. The experiences and stories I’ve accumulated throughout my travels have made me a richer person. I learned very early that it was experiences and not possessions that gave me the most satisfaction in life. To this day, I love meeting fellow travelers and hearing their stories. It’s sad to say, but people who go nowhere and do nothing outside of their daily grind tend to come off a bit dull and lacking in curiosity. A joking line I’ve heard a few times is that there are few crimes greater than being boring! The problem is that travel can be expensive, and many are lacking in the spare time or disposable income to take an international trip. Luckily, that’s not necessary. With microadventures, anyone can have great experiences and accumulate all kinds of adventure stories. When I think of all of my most memorable travel experiences, quite a few have occurred right here in California.
5.) Microadventures Help You Develop, Fine Tune, And Master New and Old Hobbies
One of my favorite aspects of my microadventures is the opportunity to take photographs. So often I’ll meet people who do a ton of research, buy a great camera and lens, go on vacation, and then never use the camera again. Just like running, hiking, coding, painting, or cooking, photography takes a lot of practice. Photography is also something I really enjoy. I’ve never taken a class or lesson, but educating myself has been something that keeps me busy. I’ve also developed a lot of unique skills while hiking, lightweight backpacking, tracking weather, hiking with dogs, outdoor cooking, and many other weekend activities. Every time I plan a microadventure, I find more things I want to learn. I ask myself things like “why can’t I name any of the flora in an area?”. When I return home, the gears in my head start moving as I want to learn more, and more microadventures come into play. If you’re a curious person who likes to learn, make sure to start planning microadventures, as they’ll open you’re mind up to learning things you never thought possible.