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What’s Your Favorite Microadventure?

Buzz Poole
11/15/2011 - 00:00

National Geographic has nominated Alastair Humphreys for Adventurer of the Year 2012. According to the magazine, Humphreys “has ridden his bike 46,000 miles around the world, crossed Iceland’s rugged glacial highlands on foot and set his sights on the longest unsupported journey to the South Pole.” But these are not the accomplishments that have resulted in the nomination. Over the course of 2011, Humphreys has not left the UK, choosing instead to fill his days with “microadventures.”

We’re all guilty of saying we couldn’t get around to doing something because we were too busy. Humphreys’s microadventures, like hiking the traffic-heavy M25 road that circles London and swimming the Thames River, are meant to remind us all that adventure awaits right outside our front door. As Humphreys states: “It’s not really about what people do, just that they do something. It’s great to pause and slow, to think about what’s going on in your life or about the environment. All adventure is a vessel for getting to the more important things in life.”

During 2011, Humphreys has suggested microadventure ideas through short videos. The first one was to enter a race; he then went on to propose eleven more easy-to-do adventures, like sleeping on a hill or following a river to the sea. In discussing the qualities of these excursions, Humphreys says, “Each trip ticked all the boxes of adventure. It was cold. It was physically challenging. I talked to people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.”

This is a great concept, which I’m really glad to see being promoted by such a high-profile outlet. While I’m the first person to relish the thrill of long trips to new places, exotic scenery, different food, the disorienting exhilaration of an incomprehensible language, the fact is that time, not to mention money, often does get in the way of being able to head out on a three-month adventure seven time zones removed. What Humphreys champions is the idea that we can find, and create, adventures close to home. This can mean anything: check out an unfamiliar neighborhood or town; hike a local nature trail; venture to a weekend flea market; try a new cuisine. The key is that you recognize getting out of the house and doing something different is far more interesting than sticking to your routine.

Do you have a favorite microadventure?

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