Though I’m always dreaming of my next trip, I view traveling as more than just constant movement. I travel through reading, through writing, through cooking. I travel for weeks or just for weekends. I travel for days or just for hours. I travel the 10 miles from my home to Milan. Hell, I travel in my own backyard.
I do this because the spirit of travel is infinitely more important than a big trip. Travel gives us an openness to change, to adventure and to fun that we can carry into all aspects of our lives. Actually, we need to carry it into all aspects of our lives, if we do, it just might save us.
This is the philosophy of Alastair Humphreys, a traveler and author who preaches this travel spirit in the form of “microadventures.”
He describes them as quick outings that offer “something different, something exciting—but cheap, simple, short, and on your doorstep.”
They can be spontaneous campouts or bike rides with friends, biking or running to work instead of driving or a simple change of your daily route. Go for a run at night instead of in the morning, try canoeing instead of a river walk. Humphreys’ blog has tons of ideas of small, easily manageable adventures to pick from all week long. Actually, he has an entire year of microadventures to borrow from!
I’m not the only one who likes to spice up her life with small adventures. I first heard of Humphreys through an article in Outside Magazine by Christopher Keyes, an editor of the magazine looking to break out of the monotony of his daily routine. Far too often I devour Outside Magazine, but then don’t go outside to put into practice what I’ve read. I have to admit, I feel better that I’m not the only one – it seems it can even happen to Outside editors! Still, by using Humphreys ideas of microadventures Keyes was able to jump start his week and crawl out of a creative rut.
“Studies have shown that humans are hardwired for adventure; when we make unfamiliar choices, our brains reward us by releasing dopamine, a key neurotransmitter effecting positive emotions. If nothing else, by slotting in just one or two microadventures per week, I’ve found a way to mark time instead of just logging it,” he wrote.
It’s so easy to fall into a pattern. Rhythms help us to manage our responsibilities, remember our homework and finish the ever growing to-do list. They also stifle creativity and can lead to the blues that come from the daily grind. Add some microadventures to your life to shake things up, and see if your day doesn’t improve in the process.
After, be sure to stop back and share what microadventures you had!