I recently came across National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Alistair Humphreys. He pioneered the concept of microadventures in an effort to encourage people to get outside and out of their comfort zone and has set up a business travelling and speaking about adventuring. Bravo to him. Here’s why I reckon you should seriously give one a crack…
A microadventure is an adventure close to home, cheap and short. It’s simple. When they’re simple, they happen. You don’t procrastinate.
Me, I do flanneries.
Or I do simple weekend excursions. I catch a train, do a hike, stay somewhere overnight and then train back to work the following morning. I also like doing short mini-breaks to regional areas where I can do a few hikes and check out local food.
* Try this: Sleep in your garden. On a work night.
It’s about stretching yourself, mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you don’t normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability, says Alistair. I’ve written about the benefit of simply doing what you don’t normally do and how it’s a super effective path to happiness. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be micro to get the same benefit.
* Try this: Find the closest river and go for a swim.
Microadventures stop procrastination. Alistair says the people who can benefit the most from a microadventure are those who say they’re too busy/don’t have the money/don’t have time. He advises this:”Whenever you find yourself saying ‘I can’t’ – I can’t afford it, I can’t spare the time, I can’t climb a hill – just try replacing the word ‘can’t’ with ‘choose not to’.”
* Try this: Walk to the furthest place you can see. Just because.
Microadventures make you happy. I’ve written before about how experiences make you happier than things. Studies have shown that humans are hardwired for adventure and are programmed (with lovely dopamine rewarding) to pursue it, for obvious survival purposes. When we make unfamiliar choices, our brains reward us by releasing dopamine, a key neurotransmitter effecting positive emotions.
* Try this: Catch a train to a country pub. Stay the night. Come home.
Microadventures are allowed to be crappy. They don’t have to be a big deal. As Alastair says: Start rubbish, get good! Small wins reaffirm our belief in ourselves and give us confidence to try again. And again.
* Try this: After work, stay on the bus to the end of the line and walk to somewhere quiet.
Do you microadventure? Give me some of your ideas and I’ll share mine and yours in a post shortly.