This a guest post by adventurer, author and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys. Find out more about Alastair here.
Let’s begin with your dreams.
Allow me to guess a few easy ones for starters:
- To be less stressed by work and enjoy more time with your friends and family.
- To be fitter, perhaps lose a bit of weight, maybe run a marathon, or work up to a big adventure.
- To spend less time online, envious of what others are up to, and more time having experiences that you’ll remember a year from now.
Imagine the life of your choice. Tell me, what would it be like? What would be different?
Now notice the barriers that buzz annoyingly to the front of your mind and cloud even your daydreams as you ponder what it would take to get there. Life is frustrating, complicated and compromised for almost everyone. It certainly is for me.
Think about the problems and the pitfalls and the “yeah, but” stuff that comes to mind when I ask you to imagine the life of your choice. I reckon that microadventures can help with lots of these problems, some directly, some resulting from a change of mindset. Hear me out, give it a go, then punch me if I’m wrong.
I do not want to belittle people who are genuinely struggling. The stuff I do with microadventures is aimed, really, at people who simply have got ‘stuck’. I started doing my own microadventures to help me with that feeling, so I know that they help.
The point of microadventures is they are so small that taking the first step is unavoidably easy. After a bit of planning and preparing, often only excuses remain in your way. So too with most life changes, hence my fondness for the idea of the doorstep mile.
This summer why not choose a microadventure as your first step in the direction you would like to go?
“How we spend our days,” I quote Annie regularly, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” You do not have to be the person you were five minutes ago. Make a tiny resolution then, to change direction, right now.
Dreaming of a big challenge? Pick a microadventure that will push you physically. Yearning for some stillness and peace in your schedule? Leave your phone at home and go watch the stars and listen to the birds from a hilltop bivvy? Summoning up the nerve and the energy to change your job? Go swim in a cold lake and learn to be bold. Keen to wean your kids off a culture of Angry Birds, McDonalds and endlessly buying crap? Pack some marshmallows and take them to climb trees, cook on fires and run wild.
Less obliquely, if you would simply like to spend more time in beautiful wild places close to your home, but without spending too much time or money, then microadventures are perfect for you. On a summer’s evening would you rather be indoors in a town or breathing in the fresh air in a beautiful place you have never been before? Hills, beaches, rivers, sunsets, stars, friends… these places are within an hour of where you are right now. Surely we all want more of them in our lives?
I can already hear the excuses and the questions and the problems pouring in! I’m not the right guy to help with life’s big burdens. But if it’s the usual “I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money” stuff then here are answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions about getting started with microadventures. I have made it as easy as I can for you to make a plan, pack your bag, get out into the wild, and still be back at work on time in the morning.
The main thing to emphasise is that you should just ignore all the bits that you don’t like or don’t work for you, and just get out there and do stuff that suits you.
Head out into nature and do something fun, challenging and worthwhile. That’s all that matters.
It might just be the first tiny step in the direction towards where you want your life to be heading.