As a boy I loved adventurous stories such as Famous Five and Swallows and Amazons. I envied their adventures: sailing dinghies to small islands sounded like paradise.
Here’s the thing: it still sounds like paradise to me. Perhaps I haven’t really grown up. Or perhaps being “grown up” does not mean that our yearning for adventure and wilderness abates? Maybe it is actually adults – short of time, short of patience, full of ambition, full of frustration – who can really benefit from a night away from it all?
My first microadventure of the year argued the case for the three-hour microadventure. That three hours away from your desk will not harm your productivity, but will improve it. This second microadventure continues that idea. We began at roughly 3pm and were home, warm and dry again, before 10 the next morning.
Inspired by the spirit of Swallows and Amazons, Tom, Ferg and I decided to sleep on an island for a night. To keep the equipment and logistics as simple as possible, and to maximise the sense of challenge and adventure, we decided that we would swim to our island (with a packraft to carry our gear / rescue us if we were about to die). This would have been a very good idea, had it not been a very, very cold February day…
But whenever you think, “this is an exciting idea” and immediately follow that by thinking, “this is a very stupid idea” then you know you are on to a good thing and that you will surely regret it if you wimp out.
So we swam.
We squealed. (At least, I squealed. The others were more stoic). The water was extraordinarily cold.
We lit a fire.
We cooked meat. We drank wine. We chatted and laughed. Stepping back from your life, if only for one night, offers perspective.
We lay in bivvy bags, looking up at the stars through the gently swaying trees until we fell asleep.
The swim back to shore in the morning was harsh and brutal and a bloody severe wake-up.
And then we returned to the real world. I jumped on a train and began answering emails.
But I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this microadventure. How simple it was. How cheap. How un-time-consuming. How important it is to hit the “refresh and restart” button on our busy lives now and again.
I urge you to give something like this a go. The worst thing that can happen is that you hate it and realise that actually you love normal life and a warm, comfy bed. And that’s no bad thing to be reminded of.
Far more likely is that you will treasure the microadventure whilst simultaneously getting a better perspective on and appreciation of your normal life, the “real world” that lies off your island and across the cold, clear lake…
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And if you do go on a microadventure of your own, please do let me know!