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Hit Refresh! Gather Ideas For Microadventures

4-Minute ReadUPDATED: July 24, 2022


Big trips may feel out of the question during a pandemic, but setting your sights on something smaller can still be a great way to fight cabin fever and reignite your sense of adventure—with a microadventure.

Pack your bags, grab a water bottle and learn how a microadventure can bring spontaneity, excitement and self-fulfillment back into your life.

Introducing “Microadventures”

Microadventures are inexpensive, pocket-sized adventures that help you refresh and escape from your regular routine. Professional world adventurer Alastair Humphreys coined the phrase “microadventure” back in 2012 after arguing that money and time shouldn’t limit human experience. For an entire year, Humphreys recorded pages and pages of new adventures, barely leaving his hometown. 

“You work from 9 to 5. But what about those 16 hours of freedom? A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding,” says Humphreys. “We find adventure stepping out of our day-to-day norms.”

With his mentality, it quickly becomes possible to have an adventure anywhere. Microadventures can even take place during the work week with the right inspiration. It also works well for a COVID-19 world, as the practice actually encourages social distancing. A microadventure could mean:

  • Picking a hill nearby your house and sleeping under the stars. Or hammocking between two trees. 
  • Using Google maps, pointing your finger on a nearby park and visiting for the day. Consider biking there if it’s within distance.
  • Climbing the highest point in your area. Pairing a cup of coffee with the sunrise, or a dinner picnic with the sunset.
  • Exploring your city (safely) by moonlight.
  • Jumping into a nearby river or lake for a morning swim and then cooking breakfast over a soda can stove.

The list can keep going, depending on your interests and what’s around you. Take a moment and think about it:

What is something small you can try today, that can help you live a fuller life tomorrow?

Why Micro Jaunts Become Mega Experiences

Our natural default is to think of an adventure as big. Something daring, life-changing and undeniably challenging. An adventure that requires skill and takes weeks of planning.

But why do we need to travel miles across the globe to gain new experiences?

Microadventures show how we’ve been misguided when it comes to the idea of “adventure.” It’s a new and low-cost way to weave adventure into your everyday life.

We can also consider a microadventure a mini trial or preview of what’s to come. For example, if you have solo backpacking through Europe on your bucket list, start small by hiking and/or camping alone with your backpack somewhere that changes elevation. Reflect and recap your journey, thinking about what you’ll need to consider the next time you make backpacking preparations.

Whether you choose to go alone or grab your social distance partner, it’s time to become local travel guides and explore just outside your front door.

Mapping Out Your Microadventure

What’s great about a microadventure is accessibility—it can work for all levels of outdoor experience and requires minimal planning.

Ok… but now what? How do you go forth on mapping out your journey? What exactly classifies a “microadventure?”

Use our graphic below as your starter pack to get creative and build your own microadventure:

5 Steps To Creating Your Microadventure

It's time to pack your bags, fill up your water bottle and experience something new! Here are the steps to experience your very own microadventure.

Step 1: Consider Your Target Destination

A microadventure stays close to home. What are things your area is known for? What have you always wanted to try? Start making a list of ideas, places or activities nearby that you think are worth exploring.

Step 2: Decide Your Adventure

Select an activity that you've never done before or changes your perspective/routine. Hopefully your idea makes you escape from everyday norms.

Step 3: Lay Out Your Action Plan

What goals do you hope to achieve by the time you sit back down on your couch? Do you have a certain route or travel companion in mind? Your plan could involve biking a certain amount of miles or bringing family together.

Step 4: Pack Your Explorer Kit

It's time to gather everything you need to make your microadventure a success. Flashlight? Food? First aid kit? Check! It doesn't matter if you're going an hour vs. ten minutes away. Take time and plan.

Step 5: Document Your Experience

Make sure you take photos and journal throughout your microadventure. Documenting details can help you gain perspective and brainstorm ideas for the next one!

Documenting A Successful Microadventure

At the end of the day, what does a successful microadventure look like?

To Humphreys, microadventures serve to live life more adventurously. To try something memorable, new, fun and simply different. A “refresh” button from your regular or quarantined routine.

A successful microadventure means returning home with a sense of accomplishment. You achieved what you set out to do. Whether it was walking a certain number of miles, turning off technology, reconnecting with family, having fun without spending a dollar, facing the cold, etc.

Even if you didn’t enjoy your microadventure. You still set out and achieved it!

We recommend taking time after to reflect and write down each microadventure. Perhaps even photo, video and/or journal along the way. That way, you can bookmark favorite microadventures, share experiences with friends and remember what made each one special.

Leave your experience with key takeaways, feelings and learnings for next time.

Where To Next?

It’s easy to dream about big adventures, but real (and pandemic!) life can get in the way of European mountain expeditions and National Park camping trips. And while these plans are postponed for now, adventure doesn’t need to wait.

Don’t sacrifice experience for the room in your house or amount in your wallet. Instead, find appreciation by leaning into unfamiliarity and becoming a microadventurer. Pick a day, go for a walk and see what you can find.

Afterall, every great journey begins with a single step.

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