Around the Campfire: Go On a Microadventure

Climbing Mount Kilamanjaro, backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, traveling by sailboat through the Greek Islands for a summer: most of us can only dream of these experiences.

Sometimes it may seem that our life has no room for real adventure.

But adventure can be a “state of mind” as Alastair Humphreys writes in his book, Microadventures.  “Adventure is not only crossing deserts and climbing mountains; adventure can be found everywhere, every day, and it is up to us to seek it out.”

Many of us get stuck in the rut of the same old thing.  Weekends turn into a time for errands and tackling our to do list.  Or maybe, it’s a weekly outing to the same local café.

But turning small chunks of time into little adventures will change the way you experience life. 

When we do new things, our senses are heightened.  Our brains are at their most aware: taking in the differences, processing, and learning new information.  Dopamine courses through our veins as we anticipate and follow-through with new experiences.

In our perception of the length of time, doing something new makes all the difference.  Microadventures can change the way we experience time.

If you commute into work the same way every day, it’s quite likely that each commute will blend into the next.  There’s nothing to distinguish one commute from another.  And so, in your memory, all of those hours of commuting blend into one single hour.

Spend your time doing something new, on the other hand, and time expands.  Every adventure is distinct from the next and as such, it occupies its own unique place in your memory.  Life feels richer.  Your time feels, ironically, longer. 

So now, as life begins to get back to normal, plan an adventure.  Go for a short hike on an early morning before work.  One afternoon, climb down a beautiful shady riverbed and finish up with a family bonfire in the woods.  Or just take a walk somewhere nearby, at a time of day you never walk – make it a point to identify five flowers as you go.

It’s no trek along the Great Appalachian Trail, but even small forests and woods can feel like an escape into another world.  And these doorways to magical experiences are all around us.

Look past the trees on the side of the highway, and you’ll notice new hiking trails everywhere, just sitting on the side of the road waiting for you to explore.  The next time you’re near the coast, borrow a snorkel and bring it along.  You’ll be amazed at the incredible diversity and beauty of life that’s taking place underwater, only a few meters from the shore.

Making it a priority to take micro adventures changes how we experience life and time.  We are not too busy to fit in the curiosity, enthusiasm, and excitement that these small adventures bring.

On a microadventure near Hadera. – Photo credit: Elliot Berkovits

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