By JILL COLLINS
Micro – extremely small in scope and capability. Adventure – an exciting or very unusual experience.
Alastair Humphreys, one of the 2012 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year, combined these words and defined micro –adventure as “An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective.”
Quickly I identified with what Alastair was referring to as my family and I have been taking micro adventures for years! Little weekend excursions, quick side trips en-route to somewhere else, and afternoon strolls in the forest just to see what we could discover. Don’t let the term micro fool you. There is still plenty of opportunity to push yourself and others around you, both mentally and physically, should you want to. Micro adventures are great to use as training for bigger adventures, are an opportunity to test gear and practice new disciplines, and will open your eyes to the beauty that lies within your own backyard.
Another quote of Alastair’s: “Adventure is a spirit of trying something new, trying something difficult. Going somewhere different, leaving your comfort zone. Above all, adventure is about enthusiasm, ambition, open-mindedness and curiosity.” There are no hard and fast rules to micro adventures. You make them what you want. As a family we have crafted the art of micro adventuring. We find adventure not only by hiking to the top of a mountain, but also by exploring local parks and trails. Here’s how:
1. Social Interaction. Some of the best time spent together is just that, spending time together. Mountain top or local trail, the time together is the same.
2. Educate. Research, safety, and know-how are key components to adventure. Micro adventures open the door to hands on learning opportunities.
3. Push the limits. Adventure and adrenaline go hand in hand and seeing others push themselves is just as rewarding as pushing your own limits. Celebrate accomplishments, even small ones.
4. Try new things. You can ski on snow, toboggan on snow, and build snowmen on snow. Ever try snowshoeing? This will open the door to more micro adventures.
5. Immerse yourself. Engage wholly or deeply in the adventure. Commit to a full day of exploring by disconnecting with technology and connect with nature or cook a meal on the trail.
6. Discover. Changes in seasons change the landscape, flora, and fauna. A place visited several times can feel new again.
7. Explore. Seek out new places or find something new to you to explore close to home.
8. Power yourself. Walk, bike, run, kayak, ski, or swim can be the adventure.
9. Tempt the senses. See, hear, smell and feel the adventure. You can even taste it! (yummy berries)
10. Have Fun! If you’re not having fun while adventuring then you’re not doing it right.
Micro adventures need to start somewhere and what better place than your own backyard. This September, my family will be taking on a challenge to rekindle our love affair with micro adventuring and connect with the natural world around us. We invite you to take the challenge.
The David Suzuki Foundation is challenging families to Get Back Outside with a Fall Family Challenge. We’ll be exploring nature in our backyards and beyond, learning about how we’re connected to the environment and how our actions affect it. Each week for four weeks starting September 16, the David Suzuki Foundation will send you a fun outdoor activity complete with step-by-step instructions. Throughout the weeks, stay connected with them via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where they will share the stories you tell and photos you send, plus tips and more activities. Sign up and join a growing community of Canadians determined to keep their outside shoes on! getbackoutside.ca
Our family will be profiled during the fall family challenge and each week during the challenge, I will be blogging and connecting via Facebook and Twitter about our experiences. There are some great themes already lined up; You in Nature, Biodiversity, Decomposition, and Transportation. The activities planned for each theme are fabulous and we cannot wait to get started. Spirit, spontaneity, and anticipation are what adventure is all about. I hope your family will join my family in the Fall Family Challenge and start creating your very own micro adventures.