Tips from the Microadventure Master Himself, Alastair Humphreys
If you’re a member of the Wilderdog pack, we know you love adventure. Even though it may feel like every adventure should be bigger and better than the last, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case.
While we clearly love a good macroadventure, we don’t always have the resources (including time!) to undertake them as often as we would like. And, fyi, your dog doesn’t really care how big or small the adventure is. Enter Alastair Humphreys and his brilliant microadventures (see here).
Alastair has been embarking on epic adventures since he completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, a 20-mile hike linking three UK summits, at just 9 years old. Alastair has since undertaken countless missions, marathons, and humanitarian efforts all over the globe — and written 14 books. It was his microadventures, though, that earned him recognition as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2012. So, we caught up with Alastair and asked him a few questions about the concept:
First things first - what the heck is a microacroadventure?!
“A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap — yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing, and rewarding,” Alastair writes. In other words, microadventures are stimulating for both you and your dog, and accessible — to everyone. Perfect!
We love that idea! Have you developed standard criteria for microadventures? (Is there a clear line where an adventure becomes more macro than micro?)
I don't have any criteria for microadventures. The criteria is for you. If it feels like an adventure to you, then it is an adventure. The key thing really is for you to do what feels right to you and not to measure against other people. It's always better to do some adventure than no adventure.
As someone who has been on many large-scale adventures, do microadventures really scratch that itch?
I can't honestly pretend that microadventures scratch the itch for adventure as much as just heading for the horizon for months — or years — on end. Of course they don't. But microadventures are great for scratching the itch of adventure and yet still remaining compatible with busy working lives.
You've mentioned that many of your microadventures have become so simple that even children can do them. Are they accessible to people without any adventure experience, too?
Microadventures are certainly accessible to people without any adventure experience, for the simple fact that if something feels like a microadventure to a person, then it is a microadventure. For example, for some people, climbing your local hill would be a tiny, little thing, [but it would be] a microadventure for people with no adventure experience. It might [also] be a huge challenge and a big adventure. The label doesn't matter. What matters is getting out there, and I think what's really important for microadventures is that it's a way for people who perhaps don't have the confidence or the skills or the habits of getting out and having adventures to begin and to get involved in outdoor adventures.
What about people who live in urban environments?
The same is true for people who live in urban environments. If you live in the middle of London, one of the biggest cities in the world, you're still only an hour away from nature and wildness, so it's completely relevant just as it is to dog owners, as well.
Do you have any advice for coming up with microadventure ideas?
I think a good way to come up with microadventure ideas is to get a local map and look for green spaces close to where you live, or close to [public transportation].
Whether you’re simply leashing up and walking a new neighborhood or traversing fresh local terrain that’s a little more rugged, “if you go somewhere you've never been before, then you are an explorer in the pure sense of the word,” Alastair says. And honestly, your dog is going to have plenty of wag-inducing stimulation either way.
Looking for a few ideas to get you started? How about exploring the shores of a nearby lake that you’ve never visited before? Or figuring out how to access a peak (or hilltop) that you’ve been spying during your morning commute? How about scientifically determining which bench in your town offers up the best sunsets and then eating dinner there with your pup? Or sharing sunrise coffee downtown? You could even hike to the farthest corner of… your yard - and sleep there under the stars.
The beautiful thing about microadventures is that you’re really only limited by your imagination, so grab that map and get going!