Thursday, 7 March 2013

Spirit of the Microadventure!

Ever wondered why some people have bundles of endless zest, energy, enthusiasm and passion?  How they always seem to be off doing exciting things, having adventures?  How, for them, the mundane just never seems to apply?

Even breakfast can be exciting, all you need do
is find a spot and lay the table with an old blanket!

I reckon they've learnt the art of the microadventure, and there are lots of people out there doing it.  It’s the easiest way in the world to change your life, even if for a short time.  It doesn’t cost much, it doesn’t take much time, it doesn’t need any skills.  Just a state of mind.  Anyone can do it.  The adventures are out there for the taking.

The founder father of the microadventure, the indomitable Alastair Humphreys (my hero, by the way), is a great adventurer.  Some of the expeditions he has conquered, most of us can only dream of.  Alastair Humphreys I am not, but I like to think I could row across the Atlantic (if I wanted to, which I don't) or cycle around the world (which I do), maybe one day we will, but, for now, it’s the microadventure and everything it stands for.

Recently Alastair Humphreys left work early one Friday afternoon, on his bike with his tent and pedaled off for the weekend.  In early February.  It was freezing.  It was even snowing.  And yet I found myself wistfully yearning to be in his place and eating his fish and chips that night.  But it wasn’t just the fish and chips.  

My hero

I could have gone down the chippy and bought some (actually, I couldn’t. I live in Italy where there are no chippies).  But it’s the whole experience that goes before putting that first big fat steaming juicy salted chip into your mouth.  There is nothing more amazing than hot fish and chips when you’re cold, tired, wet and hungry.  The pleasure is immense.  I know, I’ve been there.  

A miserable ride, and still a looooooong way to go.
But still we smiled.  Just.

Sitting on a harbour wall in the rain one night, on my own, just me and my bike, deflated and close to tears.  After that first hot chip, suddenly everything was alright and I grinned from ear to ear, knowing exactly why I was there doing what I was doing.  That is the spirit of the microadventure.  Removing yourself from all that is familiar, warm and  cosy, throwing yourself into an alien world, feeling fear, discomfort, cold and uncertainty.  And succeeding.  Realising the discomfort will go, the fear will pass, the warmth will come, and the uncertainty really doesn’t matter.  Big lows, big highs, big energy, big zest.  I know for a fact that when Alastair Humphreys returned to his desk that following Monday morning he was buzzing.  Energised.  How many of us can say that on a Monday?  Yet he spent little and didn’t go that far.

Dire conditions

Even the sheep didn't get it

But we still had a great weekend

Another one I read about recently, made me realise how you don’t even need to go that far.  How to spice up your travel.  A microadventure in a day:  7 ways to experiment with travel   

Visiting a city, forget the monuments and “must sees”, just get an A-Z and follow the streets.  In alphabetical order.  As many as you can in a day.  I can guarantee you will be amazed by the sites you see, and learn so much more, without a single museum in sight.  You will find great places to eat, great bars to drink at, great parks to wander through.  Or why not pick a number?  Get on the number 12 bus, get off at the 12th stop, eat in the 12th cafe you pass, pick the 12th hotel in the 12th street, and so on.  

The Olympiad, Barcelona

But my most favourite of all, is to find your partner.  Not in a singleton get a new partner sort of way, I’ll leave that to dating agencies, but find your partner.  The one you came with.  Split up and see if you can find each other.  Go to the sort of places you expect them to go, do the sort of things you expect them to do, travel in the way you expect them to travel.  Is it possible to immerse yourselves in a city, separately, and find each other?  No idea, but it sounds like great fun trying!

It’s not just for the grown ups either.  Families can do it too.  Have a read of this to inspire you:  It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s cheap, and the kids will love it!  

My two, camping under the stars on one of our many microadventures when they were little!


  1. I love your pics!

    1. Thank you Hoang! Glad you enjoyed them - Jaqs

      Kokopelli Camping

      Beaches, Mountains, Wilderness
      Hiking, biking, climbing, chilling

      Serramonacesca, Abruzzo, Italy
      Tel: +39 333 4636075