There’s a craze sweeping London town at the moment. It’s not Mini-skirts, it’s not Wayfarers, it’s not Space Hoppers it’s …. Microadventure. What on Earth is she on about? Allow me to enlighten you. To take you through the keyhole of a secret ever growing underground community of outdoor rebels... In the words of Mr Schwarzenegger: “Come with me if you want to (really) live…”
We all know the routine. It’s the end of a long day in the office. You shut down your laptop – probably 30, 45, or 50 minutes later than you intended to. Your eyelids are heavy. Your stomach is grumbling (clearly you didn’t eat an NB bar in the afternoon). So you get in your car or on your bike. Perhaps you board the train, to dribble on unsuspecting fellow passengers and unintentionally fall asleep against the glass (again), almost missing your stop. All the while there’s a thick Gray cloud hanging in the back of your mind. An uncomfortable weight across your shoulders. “I’ll be doing this all again tomorrow.” Sigh.
What if you don't go home?
Hold the phone. Here’s an idea. What if you don’t go home? How about you shut down your laptop 30, 45 or even 50 minutes earlier than you intended to and you head for the hills? What if your backpack doesn’t contain that book you’ve been reading one page a time on the daily commute, but instead a Bivvy bag, a waterproof jacket, a sleeping bag and stove? Will you be back at your desk in the morning? Yep, you’ll be there. But you’ll have slept on a hilltop, just far enough away so that civilization is a distant twinkle of lights. You’ll have woken up to fresh air, and rashers of bacon cooked on your stove. And you’ll feel more alive than you have in weeks.
Ladies and gents, meet the Microadventure. Something that I have to say I can’t take any credit for. That goes to one inspirational British adventurer called Alastair Humphreys. He’s proclaimed 2013 as the year for reckless escape, and is encouraging people not to live for the 9 to 5, but instead for the 5 – 9. The point is, you don’t have to have big bucks or heaps of equipment to break free. Adventure is a state of mind, he says, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Now, we all know that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So I've been trying out Al’s wise words myself for the past few months. And I have to say – that puddin’ is goooood. Throw me some maple syrup on it and bring me out another serving. It doesn't always have to be a short midweek escape, of course - although there’s something quite forbidden about this kind, and it leaves you giggling like a school girl at your desk the following morning. It can be a weekend thing, a public holiday or even a lunch time.
One of the best Microadventures I had recently was a mountain biking trip to the beautiful South Downs Way. A friend and I took a bivvy bag each and spent two days in the British countryside. The result? A complete and utter disaster. We got muddy, smelly and cold at points. We ate emergency chocolate for breakfast, broke our bikes and walked for 12 miles, eventually only making one third of the distance we’d set out to. But Boy-O-Boy was it fun, and I’d do it all again in an instant.
So, if this has left you even slightly intrigued to give Microadventuring a go. Here’s 3 golden rules:
- Go now: there’s really no excuse. Got kids? Get a babysitter for the night, leave them with your folks. Or better still – pick them up from school, take a tent and take them with you.
- Be random: how about you just shut your eyes, point at a map… and go?
- Be free: don’t over-plan, don’t over-pack, that’s not the point. Be prepared, be sensible, and keep ‘stuff’ to a minimum.
The simple fact of the matter is, life’s better when you’re outside. So get out there, and let me know how you get on,