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An Impromptu Escape from the Office

A while ago I wrote about the idea of the 5 to 9 microadventure. Rather than feeling inhibited by our 9-to-5 working commitments, I suggested flipping it round. To celebrate instead the 16 hours each day when we are NOT desk-bound. (I know this is a gross simplification of “real life”, but humour me, please). I took a train to the hills, slept on a mountain, and galloped back down in time for breakfast.
It was a popular idea and helped persuade many people to take on a microadventure.
The trouble is, it doesn’t work too well in the winter time, unless you’re willing to do a trip purely in the dark…

So this time I’mm eating into the 9 to 5. Not by much. In fact, only by three hours over the course of two days. Mid-week microadventures are so invigorating, so good for the soul, that I am convinced you’ll more than make up for those lost hours with better quality work once you return. (Remember, incidentally, always to focus on how WELL you work, not how MUCH you work).

It seemed a pity for people to have to wait until summer to enjoy microadventures. Why not leave work two hours early, cycle out into the countryside, and spend a night out under the stars? Sunrise is late at this time of year. So you can enjoy a bit of a lie-in, watch the sun rise from the warmth of your sleeping bag, and then ride back to work. You’ll be an hour late and a bit smelly.
But surely that is a small price to pay?

What do you think about this idea?
And, as the film asks, what is going to be your microadventure resolution for 2013? Are you going to attempt a microadventure this year?
If so, please do share your idea, either below, on Facebook or using the hashtag #microadventure on Twitter.

What is your Resolution?

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  1. motorbike ride to Lantau island, explore the hidden places.

  2. Oh Alistair this is wonderful! I am 54 years old and not sure I am capable of sleeping on the beach any more but I will definitely pass this on to my rather lazy son in Manchester. Maybe it will give him the push he needs.

  3. Yes it is wonderful, and very inspirational. You can still sleep on a beach at 54, you just need a thicker Thermarest.

  4. Inspiring blog! made me realize I have to just do it and get out there! So will be kajakking and wintercamping for 3 days in our national naturepark “The Biesbosch” in the netherlands with 2 friends and 4 dogs this February.
    Thanks for your inspiration,


  5. leave work 2 hours early (plus say 30mins to get changed etc) ; arrive back an hour late next day stinking (so plus another 30 mins for shower etc) => p*ssed off boss!

  6. Guruswamy Posted

    I want to try… Inspired by your “walking through india”, i had small walk from karnataka to kerala, arbian sea around 225KM. Please have look at the photos here.

  7. While I’m on crutches this is horrific if a cracking idea and allows me to plan.

    What sort of tent and sleeping do you use. Clearly these micro adventures need some sort of weight dependant equipment!

    Any advise welcome.


  8. I love the idea of Micro Adventures. I’ve been doing them for years. Here is a link to one of mine:

  9. Park car, 20 minutes run to work. Leave work for 1 hour roundabout run back to car over hill and through woods. Feels like a microadventure every time!!

  10. Heart attack last year so wife not keen on my solo overnight bivvy bag outings at moment. But just to be afloat on the Helford estuary in my coracle is bliss. Or to paddle my SOT out into Falmouth Bay and a little fishing is great. These trips turn quickly into microadventures when the the wind and the waves pick up. Exciting but not that challenging on the sit on top kayak. Can be very exciting in the coracle though with its top speed of about 2mph.

  11. This year I intend to walk from the old Anglo Saxon town of Chipping Ongar in Essex following the little known pilgrims route of St Peter’s Way.

    Along this path I’ll be camping wild overnight until I reach the ancient chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall way out on the remote Dengie Peninsular where the land finally meets the North Sea.

    This microadventure can be started from the end of the Central Line out of London (plus a short bus ride) and is only around 45 minutes away from Oxford Circus! Perfect for a weekend adventure fix!

  12. Good idea Alastair, I’m a big fan of your microadventures idea, and have enjoyed a few over the last couple of years. I have recently started doing “nano adventures”. Basically, this is actually going out and using my lunch break. Most people just sit at their desks, eat a sandwich and maybe play some Solitaire. I put my hiking boots on, pick up a small pack, and head off for a 60 minute nano adventure. I thought it wouldn’t be possible as my office is in the centre of a town, but checking online showed me there are wild areas I can escape to. I walk, take photos, write notes, take a packed lunch and have some quiet time and exercise. Helps break up the day marvellously. Spotted a lot of wildlife, braved some nasty elements including rain, wind and snow, and had to navigate around things like fallen trees and flooded footpaths. Love the new website! All the best, Tony

  13. I’ve been a big fan of your blog and your attitude to life for a while Alastair and love your latest micro-adventure concept. It’s a great reminder that we don’t need to be ‘living for the weekend’ and life is for living. I particularly relate to your comment ‘focus on how WELL you work, not how MUCH’ – so true! Thanks for inspiring us all! I’m now off to brainstorm some micro-adventure ideas!!

  14. Libby Anstis Posted

    When my partner Neil and I didn’t have time for three day camping trips, we would do the same. We call them overnight picnics….

  15. Jack Clarke Posted

    Brilliant Al. G’day from Australia. Just discovered your website and have lost (happily) a day reading all about your magnificent adventures. I’m a frequent random micro-adventurer here in Aus and soon to be round the world. Everyone I know thinks it’s a bit strange until they tag along, then they are addicted. I guess I’m just saying thanks for setting up this site and letting people around the world know that adventurous spirit is alive and well.

    Lastly, any tips for camping for free in countries/places where camping is traditional frowned upon or charged for? I’ve found it tricky in India (so many people) and Australia (the law tends to hunt you down and ask you to move on), if you have any tips I’d love to hear them.

    Cheers on the site and your life in general. I’ve sent it to everyone I know. Love your work.


    • Alastair Posted

      Hi Jack
      Welcome to the website!
      I’m going to write a blog on tips for wild camping next week.
      In essence though:
      India: wait until it’s dark and everyone has gone home. Then slip into a field.
      Aus: be out of sight from the road / houses and you will be fine.
      I hope you continue to enjoy my site, even after you get whupped in the Ashes this summer.

  16. Hey Alistair
    Whereabouts did you head for this Thames estuary adventure?
    I’m a prisoner of the Big Smoke and craving a midweek 5-to-9 adventure!

  17. Jason Harris Posted

    Hi Alastair
    I just happened to stumble upon your website…..Microadventures….brilliant idea to get people motivated to enjoy the outdoors. So many people get tied into the mundane rigmarole of the dreadful 9-5, clock watching and wishing the hours away, never to enjoy the time that they actually have to theirselves…….maybe this will give them the gentle kick up the backside they need…….I know its opened my eyes to additional midweek enjoyment.

  18. Great site! Really inspirational!
    I just have one problem that need to solve…
    Not being British, I am unfamiliar with the local rules. Is there a chance I get kicked out by the land owners? Or get arrested?
    I understand that in Britain you cannot camp on any forest/field, can you? As opposed to Scotland, where you can do it. By following these rules I feel constrained to only camping next to the sheep of a farmer that charges £5-10 per night, or next to cars and caravans in a better established camp ground. Both of those options are okay, but I’d really like something a bit more OUT there, a bit more secluded and wild.
    If you can share any tips around this it will be great.
    Thank you!

  19. Any tips for female solo travellers, im 24yrs old, I’d love to sleep under the stars, I know I would rather do it alone and I know that this would terrify anyone I told. Can a woman travel like this so freely and be safe.

  20. Have you any tips for Kent? My 9 year old son and I (and our dog) cycled the viking trail along the cost in parts and we are keen on venturing more inland. Also, do you know of anyone or any groups who are microadventuring with their kiddos? Any inspiration really!



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