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Begin with Why

 

Let’s begin with your dreams.

Allow me to guess a few easy ones for starters:

  • To be less stressed by work and enjoy more time with your friends and family.
  • To be fitter, perhaps lose a bit of weight, maybe run a marathon, or work up to a big adventure.
  • To spend less time online, envious of what others are up to, and more time having experiences that you’ll remember a year from now.

Imagine the life of your choice. Tell me, what would it be like? What would be different?

Now notice the barriers that buzz annoyingly to the front of your mind and cloud even your daydreams as you ponder what it would take to get there. Life is frustrating, complicated and compromised for almost everyone. It certainly is for me.

Think about the problems and the pitfalls and the “yeah, but” stuff that comes to mind when I ask you to imagine the life of your choice. I reckon that microadventures can help with lots of these problems, some directly, some resulting from a change of mindset. Hear me out, give it a go, then punch me if I’m wrong.

I do not want to belittle people who are genuinely struggling. The stuff I do with microadventures is aimed, really, at people who simply have got ‘stuck’. I started doing my own microadventures to help me with that feeling, so I know that they help.

The point of microadventures is they are so small that taking the first step is unavoidably easy. After a bit of planning and preparing, often only excuses remain in your way. So too with most life changes, hence my fondness for the idea of the doorstep mile.

This summer why not choose a microadventure as your first step in the direction you would like to go?

“How we spend our days,” I quote Annie regularly, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” You do not have to be the person you were five minutes ago. Make a tiny resolution then, to change direction, right now.

Dreaming of a big challenge? Pick a microadventure that will push you physically. Yearning for some stillness and peace in your schedule? Leave your phone at home and go watch the stars and listen to the birds from a hilltop bivvy? Summoning up the nerve and the energy to change your job? Go swim in a cold lake and learn to be bold. Keen to wean your kids off a culture of Angry Birds, McDonalds and endlessly buying crap? Pack some marshmallows and take them to climb trees, cook on fires and run wild.

Less obliquely, if you would simply like to spend more time in beautiful wild places close to your home, but without spending too much time or money, then microadventures are perfect for you. On a summer’s evening would you rather be indoors in a town or breathing in the fresh air in a beautiful place you have never been before? Hills, beaches, rivers, sunsets, stars, friends… these places are within an hour of where you are right now. Surely we all want more of them in our lives?

I can already hear the excuses and the questions and the problems pouring in! I’m not the right guy to help with life’s big burdens. But if it’s the usual “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money” stuff then here are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about getting started with microadventures. I have made it as easy as I can for you to make a plan, pack your bag, get out into the wild, and still be back at work on time in the morning.

The main thing to emphasise is that you should just ignore all the bits that you don’t like or don’t work for you, and just get out there and do stuff that suits you.

Head out into nature and do something fun, challenging and worthwhile. That’s all that matters.

It might just be the first tiny step in the direction towards where you want your life to be heading.

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Comments

  1. Peter Reilly Posted

    I have never regretted an MA…Like I have never regretted a run [saying that I have got a place on the Autumn 100!]

    The UK is a beautiful place!

    Great to see some blogs being posted Al!

    Reply
  2. Explore magazine of Canada had also covered Al Humphreys and best spots of undertaking Microadventures in Canada.

    I have taken 2 microadventures with my dog (he wears his own backpack) and will be going for many more.

    Reply
  3. I love this piece. I have been thinking a lot about the kinds of excuses that keep people from getting outdoors. I wrote this before reading AH’s piece but the thoughts are really similar. Basically don’t let the fantasy of some epic trip stand in the way of getting out and doing something:

    http://www.alltogetheroutthere.com/acceptably-awesome-adventure/

    Reply
  4. Definitely, definitely – going on regular Microadventures has had such an impact on my life – I’m more courageous – I don’t run from risk anymore, I’m more creative – there’s something about sleeping out with no tent where inspiration will just strike in the midddle of the night, and I”m more curious about what life has on offer and less accepting of what normal life looks like, and so much more connected to nature, the season,s the landscape and wildlife. Ditch the TV and duvet for just one night – see what impact it has on your world!

    ANd if you are looking for buddies to try out your first microadventure and live in South West England, do head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bristolmicroadventurers – its friendly, inclusive, practical and positive place to get inspired, pick people’s brains and find like minded folk to plot a great adventure together – no microadventure too small! H x

    Reply
  5. Really like the idea behind this and it’s something I’ve been doing for a couple of years – the term micro adventures suits it really well! Weekend breaks have a lot of variety and flexibility and the more you do, obviously the more you see. Sometimes that’s better than a long trip in one place. Thanks for writing!

    Reply
  6. Mollie Parsons Posted

    Absolutely. But the resistance is so strong and I’ve found it hard to not become frustrated at times by it ( because that is pointless). Our local group has a LOT of members, maybe only 10% of them appear to be active. Occasionally some put their hand up to join in with a challenge and then go quiet when the planning happens and I wonder what happened.
    It is easy for Microadventures to slip from being micro to something that becomes too big to fit into a busy life, adding more and more to the plans and getting increasingly obsessed with the gear, so that newer people feel it’s out of their reach.
    A woman joined our group recently, wanted to try a micro “this week”, like almost…now. She couldn’t get out till after 9pm, needed to be gone by 6am. Would someone come with her? Could anyone lend gear”.
    Us more active members didn’t leap forward, myself included, used to going out earlier and making more of an evening of it..and it was v short notice
    But then was reminded that what this woman wanted to do was precisely what Microadventures is supposed to be. Simple. Small. Able to be squeezed into small spaces. We nearly all go to bed right? So, go to bed outside.
    So, we did go out, and it was beautiful. It rained a little. But it was still worth it.
    And, as someone above said, I’ve never regretted a microadventure!

    Reply

 
 

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