I discovered the term microadventure only recently, when I stumbled across the hiking website Trail to Peak.
By definition, microadventures are just that – tiny, exciting and unusual experiences. The most important aspect of the microadventure is that it is (generally) cheap, (usually) local, and new-to-you.
A microadventure is more than just any new experience, though. It’s an experience that affects your outlook and that feels almost like a mini-vacation. It’s not reading a new book (unless you’re at the top of a mountain) or shopping at a new store. This is an experience that changes your life for the better.
Quoted from Trail to Peak:Alistair Humphreys is an adventurer, blogger, author and motivational speaker, and is the person many credit for coining and popularizing the Microadventure… 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”….I like to think I was a micro-adventurer before micro-adventuring was actually a defined thing. As kids, most of us probably were.
When I was in elementary school we’d ride bikes and scooters all around our little town to kill time - visiting the hidden pond, climbing the slate dumps and searching for blue glass bottles for my grandmother.
As I got older and moved around a bit I’d spend weekends finding new places to explore or new festivals to attend.
When we moved to Arkansas in 2012 the microadventuring days of my youth returned! That first year we visited a new part of the state almost every weekend. After 5 years we’re still out and about as much as we can be. Just last weekend a good friend said to me: I’ve lived here my entire life and yet I learn about all the cool places from you!”
It’s easy to fall into that trap, though – I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania yet never toured some of the most well-known sites and monuments. It’s easy to say “Oh, I can go anytime!”
And you can, until you can’t.
Microadventures are right outside your door. It’s doesn’t matter what you do or where you go.
But just in case you need them, here are a few ideas:
1. Go stargazing in the country. Find an area with low or no up lighting (like street lights, store signage or talk buildings), pack a blanket and enjoy the beauty of the sky. You can also buy star-charts, which are seasonal guides that will help you identify the constellations.
2. Go geocaching. This can be a family -friendly way to explore a new park or area and find buried treasure while you are at it. Find geocache locations in your area by visiting www.geocaching.com
3. Take the opposite direction. The next time you go out to hit the trails, change your starting location or head the opposite direction from the trailhead. Last weekend we hiked our favorite trail at Mt. Nebo – but in reverse direction. It was a completely new and different experience!
4. Watch the sunset in silence. Whether you find a local park or just sit on your own back porch, it can be very peaceful to view the full sunset without distraction.
5. Go on a digital scavenger hunt. Think of 5 fun, unique things in your community and split your friends or family up into teams and see who can come back with the most creative pictures. See this website for some good scavenger hunt ideas. All items should be found and pictured while the car is parked and not while driving.
6. Take your bike to a neighboring town and go for a ride. You can familiarize yourself with a new town and create your own bike tour.
7. Hike, bike or drive to the highest point in your state. The views are amazing and many states have a log at the point for you to sign in. The Highpointers Club is an organization devoted to education and promotion hiking to the highest point in each of the 50 states.
8. Find a historic state park or museum and go for a visit. These are easy to find and are often free or offered at a nominal price. A couple weeks ago we participated in a 1844 Trial by Jury Reenactment at Historic Washington State Park – I got picked to be a juror!
9. Take a free yoga class. Many studios offer a “first class free” to new members.
If you still aren’t sold on microadventures, head over to Trail to Peak where they discusses “5 Ways Microadventures Will Change Your Life”.