Adventure ideas - anyone else struggling right now? COVID-19 has now made her way across the world - flights have been cancelled, international travel has ground to a halt and borders have been closed.
For all us wanderluster seekers out there, times are tough. Our itchy feet don’t know what to do with themselves and our adventure ideas have been thrown out the window…
Or have they?!
Despite the severity of the situation, we must look for the beauty within it. We are being forced to slow down, reflect and connect with ourselves and our loved ones on a deeper level. Community love is beaming through, all over the world and with tourism at a halt, the planet is regenerating. In more ways than one. The water found in the Venice canals is not only clear for the first time in years, but shoals of tiny fish and multicoloured plant-life can be seen and NASA's satellites have captured a dramatic drop-off in pollution over the major Chinese cities. With factories powered down and vehicle traffic at a halt - we have finally allowed the skies above China to return blue.
This is a really poignant reminder of our impact on the world and why sustainable travel and tourism is so important. But it is also forcing us to think outside of the box. Not only are gym classes, singing groups and workshops moving online, but we are seeing more and more people creating adventures from their own backyard.
With my international travel plans on hold, but adventure still in my heart, I have started embracing my very own mini and micro adventures (I use these terms interchangeably).
I hope this article inspires you to do the same.
Micro adventures - What are they?
A micro adventure is a short, simple and cheap adventure close to home - essentially an adventure in your own backyard. But if you get a little creative, micro adventures are also fun, rewarding, exhilarating and challenging.
The king of micro adventures is Alastair Humphrys and he gives amazing advice about how to get started on your own micro adventure. His website has everything you need to learn more about micro adventures and he has been so influential to me during the time - given our current situation. Isolation has never felt so good!
What is the appeal of mini and micro adventures?
As our world becomes increasingly busy and chaotic, micro adventures offer the perfect respite. They offer a realistic (and cheap) escape away from the hussle and bussle and back to nature. There is no need to jump on a flight and find adventure abroad, it is right under your nose. You might just need a little help to find it. And the best bit?
Micro adventures are accessible to everyone, even to those people with little outdoor experience.
There is also a massive environmental plus point to micro adventures. With no need to catch flights or travel far, your carbon emissions for your adventure are dramatically reduced. And if there is anything we have learnt from COVID-19, it is that the planet is regenerating from the space we are giving her. By creating local adventures, you are helping just that little bit more.
Mini adventure ideas: 7 ideas to get you started:
This is completely dependent on you and what you are comfortable with, but here are a few ideas to get you going on your mini adventure:
1. Take a walk in nature:
It doesn’t have to be very far but create your own mini adventure out of a nature walk. To make it a little more fun, don’t use your phone, take an old school map with you
2. Go for a picnic close to a body of water:
Pack a delicious picnic and go on an adventure to a nearby lake or coastline. The sea breeze will help keep your adventurous spirit nourished.
3. Go Geocaching:
Fancy taking part in a real life, worldwide treasure hunt game? Why not try your hand at Geocaching then. There are millions of Geocaches hidden around the world - small like containers left in secret places by people, only found by a series of cryptic clues. All you need to take part is to download the Geocache app, type in your postcode and you will see all the Geocaches hidden nearby and voila - you are on your very own treasure hunt. This is great for solo travellers, families, couples and friends.
4. Try sleeping out in your garden:
Sounds a little crazy - but trust me, this is a great way to change things up a little bit but not venture too far. Pitch your tent in your garden, make your own coffee on a camping stove, switch off your phone, and breath.
5. Go a little further and go on a hike.
Get a map out, close your eyes and randomly point to somewhere on a map. No matter where in the world you are, you can type into google ‘Best walks close to xyz’ and something will pop up! There are so many websites that will show you public footpath walks as well as national parks prime for mini adventure exploring. Write down the directions to where you want to go, pack your bag and you are all set. While we are avoiding public transport at the moment here in the UK, you can drive or cycle to your starting point. Or you could just drive to somewhere random, park up and just start walking. Trust me, it will feel amazing.
6. Take it one step further and wild camp overnight.
Again, point to a random place on a map, pack up your stuff (packing list at the end of this article) and you are good to go. If you can walk there, great. If your starting point isn't close enough to walk to, you could catch a train to somewhere rural and start walking from there. To make your micro adventure a little more fun and go for an old school ordnance survey map. To find a great micro adventure spot on a map look out for lots of contour lines with a flat bit at the top, or areas of green showing woodland. Blue lines indicate water. Look for a footpath leading off a main road into quieter areas.
For more information on this - head here.
7. Set yourself your own challenges.
You could set yourself mini challenges like, walk across 5 counties / villages / train stations in 5 days. Or 12 beach walks in 12 weeks or 3 overnight camps in 3 weeks. The list is endless and the choice is YOURS.
This is my no means an exhaustive list of mini adventure ideas - but it is something for you to think about. Do what you can, but by pushing yourself a little bit further than what you are comfortable with, you will gain so much more from the experience.
How do you create your own micro adventure?
If you already live in a remote place, in the countryside, this bit is easy, Strap on your backpack and start walking. But if you live in a city or a built up town, you have to dig a little deeper for your adventure idea.
There are a few ways that you could do this:
You could start by randomly pointing on a map and then googling ‘Great walks to do in xyz’. This works if you have transport to get to a place, or if you are happy to walk as far as you need to to reach your destination. You could do this as a day trip mini adventure or you could pick a spot and set up camp.
If you are up for wild camping, start by looking at a map in detail. Find contour lines with a flat bit at the top, these areas are great for camping. Or as I said above, look for areas of green showing woodland, great for shelter. Remember, blue lines indicate water. Look for a footpath leading off a main road into quieter areas or aim for a national park.
If you are not happy with wild camping, you could look for nearby campsites. If you have a van, you could drive somewhere, park up and start walking, ending the day sleeping in your van. This mini adventure is yours to do with what you like.
Micro adventures in easy distance from London:
As I lived in London for 8 years, I feel it is my duty to help my friends out and share my thoughts on adventure ideas in easy reach of London. These are only suggestions, remember part of the beauty of micro adventures, is interpreting and creating in a way that suits you:
Take the train to Oxford (30 mintues). You can stroll around the city and along the river path. Or if you fancy adventuring further afield, there are plenty of public footpaths outside of the city. You will walk through some of the most beautiful landscapes in England. Click here for more information.
Take the train to Henley-on-Thames (1 hour) and follow the Thames path either upstream or downstream - both as equally as beautiful.
Train to Amberly (1.25 hours) to explore the South Downs or take the train to Otford (45 mins).
And don’t forget to check out our post on 5 Of The Best Day Hikes From London. There are some great mini adventures ideas in there.
Mini & Micro adventure pack list:
Tent or even better - a Bivouac (bivvy) Bag which is a thin waterproof bag that goes over your sleeping bag. It’s like a tent but much cheaper and easier to carry.
If the weather is tempermental at the moment for your home country, take a tarp - to put up over you and your sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag and liner
Sleeping mat / camping mat (you can pick these up really cheaply)
Warm clothes and thermals - including hat, scarf, gloves (even in summer)
Torch - head torch is best
Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet roll.
Food and water
Editions: Could include coffee maker, camping stove, insect repellent, headphones, long matches, book, journal (but remember, you will have to carry all of this).
Mini adventure top tops:
Everyone’s mini or micro adventure will be different. Your adventure ideas are your own so make of them what you will. You don’t necessarily need to go far or do anything crazy, but if you push yourself even a little bit outside of your comfort zone, you will feed that adventurous spirit within you.
If you are struggling where to start, just grab a map, have a look at what is around you, and go for a walk. Build up your confidence, so when this phase of our lives lifts, and it will, you can go further afield.