Embracing Adventure Close to Home

There are many reasons why people choose to live in the wilderness, and for those who seek out this lifestyle, it is a natural extension of their personality. It allows them to embrace adventure close to home. They can also learn new skills including hunting, fishing and more without leaving the comfort of their own backyard.

The “Seeking adventure” is a blog post that talks about how people can find adventure close to home. The author talks about the benefits of getting out and exploring nature, while also giving advice on what to do when you’re not sure where to go. Read more in detail here: seeking adventure.

“[Adventure] is a state of mind, a spirit of attempting new things and stepping beyond of one’s comfort zone. Adventure requires zeal, desire, open-mindedness, and a sense of wonder…. “Adventure” does not have to mean traversing deserts or scaling mountains; it may be discovered everywhere, at any time, and it is up to us to seek it out.” Microadventures, Alastair Humphreys

Do you want for greater excitement in your life?

Do you want to go out and discover more but don’t have the time or money to go on a multi-country journey?

Perhaps you’ve been irritated and trapped as a result of your yearning.

If it describes you, I recommend embracing the microadventure.

Alastair Humphreys, a real Adventurer with a capital A, created the phrase “microadventure.” Humphreys has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, walked through India, and cycled around the globe. And he saw that whenever he spoke about these excursions, people’s eyes would light up with amazement and longing, and they’d wistfully remark how they wished they could go on similar adventures. This admission was typically followed by a laundry list of reasons why such journeys were not feasible – the would-be explorers lived in suburbs and cities, had jobs and children, and lacked sufficient funds, vacation time, and so on.

Humphreys was sympathetic; he recognized that taking four years off to cycle across the globe is difficult for most people. Nonetheless, he was a firm believer that individuals of all walks of life should nurture a sense of adventure in their lives.

To solve this conundrum, he decided to perform an experiment: for a year, he would seek out short, uncomplicated, inexpensive experiences in an area that was not recognized for its natural landscape: his native England. Rather than embarking on lengthy, far-flung expeditions, he would regularly engage in “microadventures” – short trips that straddled the line between what could be considered an adventure and what did not, while still retaining the fun, excitement, escapism, and challenge inherent in true adventures.

Humphreys sought to dispel the myths and reasons that people used to justify their lack of adventure; he wanted to illustrate that experiences could be experienced near to home, fit into a 9-5 schedule, and didn’t need a lot of money, gear, or special training.

Man on log raft floating in river.

Alastair Humphreys provided this image.

To that end, he crammed in weekend mountain biking trips, took the subway out to random patches of countryside where he’d sleep on the ground or atop a hill, rode a two-day bike ride down the coast, swam and camped the Thames, climbed some local mountains, tubed a small waterway near Wales, and hiked in small wilderness areas. Some of his escapades were more involved and difficult, while others were more straightforward; one, he just curled up in a sleeping bag in the garden outside his doors and stayed the night there.

Humphreys decided at the conclusion of his year of microadventures that his modest journeys had packed a huge punch, rejuvenating him and rekindling his childlike energy. He believes that everyone else, too, needs frequent doses of microadventures.

 

So I decided to try my hand at my own microadventure.

My Microadventure Challenge of 8 Weeks

“[Microadventures are] for prospective adventurers hoping to gain confidence before moving on to larger initiatives, as well as seasoned adventurers eager to learn more about their local region or satisfy the itch for adventure in between major travels.” It’s for folks who have actual jobs and lives, as well as a couple of children and a cat to feed. It’s for individuals who like reading about adventure and long for it, but believe they are too busy, too elderly, too obese, or too urbanized to go out and experience it.” –AH

Microadventures is the title of a book written by Humphreys on the enchantment of tiny trips. Several people had suggested it to me, so I got a copy and read it this spring. It was really motivating, and I realized that being a microadventurer was something my family and I needed to pursue.

The McKay family isn’t the world’s worst when it comes to adventure: Kate and I take the kids on nature walks and picnics, and we try to go camping a couple of times a year, participate in occasional obstacle races, and vacation in areas with lots of outdoor leisure.

Our main weekend trips, though, are usually to Panera Bread and Target.

Oh, I had the typical excuses: I’m absorbed by my profession, Oklahoma’s outdoor adventure prospects are limited, and it’s difficult to go out and do things with a one and four-year-old. Taking our kids swimming seems to be a full-fledged trip in and of itself, requiring a great deal of planning and organization.

I can’t say that my condition was causing me acute restlessness or a sense of living a life of silent desperation; I’m a homebody by nature, and I appreciate the calm and the usual.

But I had a hankering for a bit more life than I was getting. When you have children, your life naturally contracts, and you are more tempted to reduce your schedule and spend more time at home. However, this narrowing had gone on for far too long and had become a stagnant rut. When you and your wife have children, you have to learn to navigate the world in a new way — to move and function as a unit — and I didn’t think the McKays had perfected that skill yet.

I chose to take our wolf pack through an 8-week microadventure challenge to scratch my itch, to get the kids out more, to instill a love of the outdoors in them, and to satisfy Kate, who is always looking for a nice expedition. Every week, I, and typically the whole family, would go on a little adventure.

Adventures, according to Humphreys, must push you out of your comfort zone, which I believed would be to my benefit since mine was already so high that it wouldn’t take much to pull me out of it!

 

Here’s how we went about it:

“There are fresh experiences, new vistas, and new perspectives right in your own backyard; all you have to do is make the tiny effort to go find them.” –AH

Week 1: Ouachita Mountains camping and hiking

Camping in the forest.I assumed we’d do something greater to start off the challenge. So Kate and I decided to go camping in the Ouachita Mountains for two days. A completely other panorama of rolling green hills and mountains may be found only two hours southeast of Tulsa. It’s hard to believe you’re still in Oklahoma until you’re out there.

We’d tented in the region previously, but never at Cedar Lake, where we pitched our tent late on a Monday night (we always camp during the week to avoid crowds). A new walk was also on the program for the following day: the Horse Thief Spring path. The route is a bit unkempt in spots, but it’s also deliciously lonely; we didn’t see another human the whole time, which is exactly how we like it.

The loop is meant to be around 13 miles long, but we got lost and hiked for nearly 18 miles. We were hot, out of water, and thirsty at the end, and feared we wouldn’t make it back before dark. But, fatigued but content, we arrived at camp just as the sun was setting.

Overall, it was a wonderful, revitalizing experience, and we learnt an essential lesson about the need of packing enough of water on our walks!

It was a fun little journey, but we wanted to keep the rest of the adventures smaller and closer to home.

Week 2: Gus Sleeping in the Backyard

Boy camping in backyard Tree house.

Humphreys claims that adventure can be found just in your own backyard, and he means it!

Gus is getting to the age where he’d be a lot of fun to take camping, so I felt the best way to get him used to sleeping outside would be to let him sleep in our yard. For a long time, I’d wanted to have a father-son overnight, and the microadventure challenge drove me to accomplish it. I worried how he’d react – would the nocturnal sounds freak him out and make him toss and turn all night, or would he want to go back inside?

We chose to “camp” in a little treehouse loft next to our swingset. It was the perfect size for our shared double-wide sleeping bag. Before falling in for the night, we pulled out some lanterns and books and sat around for a bit, chatting and reading tales.

Gus? He was out like a light and slept through the night like a rock. I was the one who was tossing and turning! It was shockingly noisy out there, with squirrels scampering through the leaves and jets roaring above.

Gus had adored our campout and couldn’t wait to do it again, so the pang of exhaustion I felt the following day was worth it.

 

“You shouldn’t have to live in the middle of nowhere to have experiences. My microadventures take occur in ordinary settings with ordinary people.” –AH

Week 3: a trip to see the blue whale

Giant blue whale concrete statue in oklahoma.

The record-breaking rain that Oklahoma got in May made my 8-week goal a bit more challenging. It appeared to rain virtually every day that month, which disrupted our plans on many occasions.

On one such occasion, we had planned to take the kids on a nearby trek and have a picnic. We planned to carry it out during a window when the rain was due to cease for a few hours. We expected the ground to be damp, but we figured we could dine beneath a makeshift pavilion near the trailhead. However, when we arrived, the pavement had turned into a massive puddle. It’s time to move on to plan B.

We only had about 2 hours before the kids’ bedtime, so we searched our brains for another microadventure we could undertake with such little time and effort. It occurred to me all of a sudden: the Blue Whale of Catoosa.

The Blue Whale is a massive concrete construction located on the side of a pond along Route 66. It was built as an anniversary gift for his wife in the 1970s by a private individual and has since become a famous public roadside attraction and Oklahoma icon.

Despite having lived in OK for practically my entire life, I had never seen a whale. I’d always thought it to be a long distance away. When I looked up directions, though, I was startled and happy to discover that it was only around 25 minutes away from our home.

So we all hopped into the vehicle and drove away. It was a lot of fun to see. The kids had a terrific time exploring the whale’s inside and getting filthy at the pond’s edge (which we encourage!). It was a short trip, but it was a lot of fun.

“Even though most of us live in a sanitized, suburbanized, Subway-ized world, we can simply leave it anytime we want to feel the rain on our cheeks and scream at the moon.” –AH

Rucking in the Woods, Week 4

I kept things extremely basic for this week’s microadventure. I usually do virtually all of my training inside a gym, so I decided to try something different and go for a ruck in the woods.

I drove to Turkey Mountain, which is roughly a 15-minute drive from my home. This urban wilderness area in the center of Tulsa is more of a huge hill than a mountain, but it includes 300 acres and a few dozen miles of trails. It’s a true find.

I strapped on my GoRuck pack and the 40 pounds of bricks I’d brought for previous GoRuck challenges, and spent an hour hoofing it through the woods. I felt more peaceful and energized after the trek than I did after my typical fluorescent-lit exercises.

“Even the phantom of wildness, those small forgotten pockets of it crammed behind your town, may rejuvenate the spirit.” –AH

 

Week 5: Gus and Grandpa Go Fishing

Young boy fishing with grandfather on lake with a fishing rod.

Humphreys recommends that folks who work a 9-5 make the most of their 5-9. It’s quite simple to get home from work, eat dinner, and then do nothing till bedtime night after night. So I thought we’d do something with our nighttime hours this week.

I had intended to take Gus fishing, but the week had been very wet, and the weekend appeared to be more of the same. But, on Friday evening, just as my workday finished, the clouds cleared for a moment, and I said to myself, “OK, let’s go fishing right now.” “Right now?” you could ask. Gus inquired, unaccustomed to his father’s spontaneity. “Right now, yeah.”

Before we departed, I asked Kate’s father if he wanted to join us since he enjoys fishing as well, and he, too, decided to join us with unexpected spontaneity.

Jaju (phonetic version of the Polish term for grandpa) and the rest of the McKay clan drove to Lake Bixhoma, a tiny lake approximately 30 minutes from my residence. I’d never been there before, and it turned out to be rather picturesque. It’s one of those spots where, while just driving a few miles out of town, you feel as if you’ve journeyed to another location.

While the lads went fishing, Kate placed Scout in a hiking pack and went exploring. Unfortunately, no one caught a bite, but we all had a great time being out on the river and watching the sun set.

“Even little woodlands and forests seem to be cut off from the rest of the world. They’re nearly like entering Narnia or Wonderland; they’re virtually a distinct, parallel realm.” –AH

Week 6: Hike on a Date Night

Man hiking rucking over muddy river.

Kate and I attend to a gym that has a regular “Parents Night Out” where you can leave your kids with their daycare for a few hours on a Friday night. We sometimes take advantage of these PNO’s, mainly to go out to lunch and explore a bookshop.

But this time, we decided to make date night a mini-adventure. We traveled up to Turkey Mountain after dropping the kids off at the gym. The rain had persisted, so we ate our picnic meal on the tailgate of our vehicle since the ground was soggy.

We’ve hiked many of Turkey Mountain’s popular paths that begin near the trailhead parking lot. This time, we chose a route that was a bit further off the beaten path and one we had never trekked before.

The rain had converted the pathways into a series of little streams. We tried to avoid walking directly into the mud and water at first, but it was difficult, and it’s not good for the paths anyhow. So we settled down for an evening of splish sploshing over little streams, which turned out to be rather enjoyable. When we picked up the kids, our jeans were muddy and drenched through, and we decided that a microadventure date night beat dinner and a movie hands down.

 

Week 7: Bike Ride Late at Night

Looking out a fresh way to perceive a familiar location is one of the things Humphreys advises people to try to discover adventure. “Go someplace you know very well, but at night,” he suggests as one of the greatest methods to do it.

Kate and I decided to go on a late-night bike ride in this spirit. We had Kate’s parents come over and housesit after the kids had gone to bed and the sun had set, and then we left.

I don’t own a bike (proof of how much my recreational activities have deteriorated), but Tulsa has a program where you can check out single-speed bicycles for free and rent them for a few hours. Unfortunately, the stall we picked had only two remaining bikes, and mine had an unadjustable seat height that was much too low. My knees were almost up to my chin as I pedaled. But, about 9 p.m., we were on our way.

We had intended to ride along the Arkansas River for part of the trip, but it was blocked for work, forcing us to invent a route that took us through busy streets and dark neighborhoods. But it was all part of the fun. The heat was less exhilarating; even with the sun set, it was humid and 89 degrees, and my shirt was quickly saturated in perspiration.

We made our way to downtown, which was undoubtedly the trip’s high point. It was fun to explore the deserted streets and take in Tulsa’s architecture in a fresh light.

We got a bit confused on our impromptu return trip and reached home at 11 p.m.

During our adventure, the weather and the pain of my bike tainted my mood a bit, but I was still delighted we went.

Rafting the Illinois River in Week 8

Family rafting on illinois river.The Illinois River is a popular river for kayaking, canoeing, and rafting in Oklahoma, but I hadn’t sailed it since high school. I reasoned that this would be an excellent method to complete our microadventure challenge.

This was another activity that I had assumed would be rather far away from Tulsa (as it was from where I grew up near OKC), but I was pleasantly pleased to hear that we could do it in just over an hour. We drove out to Tahlequah, OK, early one Monday morning, with some life jackets for the kids and a raft (I didn’t create our own out of sticks, I’m afraid!) (like camping sites, the river gets crowded on the weekends).

We set our raft in a spot where we’d be able to float for around two hours. Gus and Scout couldn’t swim and had never been on a raft before, so I was worried that they’d be bored and generally detest the experience, leaving Kate and me stranded on a boat with two screaming, moaning kids for the duration. That need, however, never materialized. While there were a few short moments of dissatisfaction as the kids adapted to the new experience, and a few terrified yelps when we went over some little “rapids,” for the most part, they patiently endured and liked it in turns.

 

We had ice cream after the float, which the kids thought was the best part of the vacation.

We arrived in the late afternoon, just in time for a half-day of work. We all agreed that the excursion was a million times better than our typical Monday morning routine.

Lastly, I’d want to express my gratitude to all of you who have taken the time to

“I’ve realized that coming up with an intriguing concept (and committing to make it happen) is almost all you need to ensure an exciting, difficult, and gratifying experience ever since I started taking on these purposely tiny ‘expeditions.’” –AH

The thing that surprised me the most about my 8-week microadventure challenge was how undemanding it was! Breaking out of my routine and going on a little adventure every week took very little effort, time, or money; the obstacles I had imagined to such expeditions were simply in my head. That included the fear that Gus and Scout wouldn’t like some of the activities, and I’d be stuck with a pair of whiny kids. Instead, kids enjoyed going out and exploring more, and I discovered, as I seem to have to again, that they are more robust than I sometimes believe.

I can’t claim the challenge entirely transformed my life; microadventures are just too little to have such a significant impact. Overall, though, I felt more pleased and fulfilled. One of my favorite aspects was just having something enjoyable to prepare and anticipate each week. And I had a great day discovering more of my neighborhood, which made me feel more connected to and proud of being in Oklahoma.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the challenge was that it forced us out of our rut. Kate and I have committed to having one microadventure each week, and it has become our new normal; when we’re lazing around the house on a Saturday afternoon, our natural urge is to come up with something entertaining to do. We also feel prepared to embark on more tough microadventures after getting our feet wet throughout the challenge.

The beautiful thing about microadventures, as Humphreys points out, is that they can be scaled up or down. You may seek out more fascinating and involved difficulties if you don’t have children or just have a better comfort level. You can fit little microadventures into your schedule even if you’re incredibly busy and have a lot on your plate.

The most essential thing to remember, no matter where you are in life, is that there are opportunities for adventure all around you. Don’t assume that adventure needs to wait for a huge worldwide journey or the ideal conditions in your everyday life, when you think everything will fall into place and you’ll be able to start going out more. There are areas of wildness to explore in every metropolis, and there are pockets of time to exploit in every timetable.

 

All you have to do is recognize that adventure awaits you, take the first modest step, and make things happen.

I definitely suggest picking up a copy of Humphrey’s book for further inspiration and ideas for more hotter microadventures. He also has a website full of microadventure advice. Also, keep tuned later this week for a podcast interview I had with him!

Also, visit these websites to locate new walks and enjoyable activities to do in your area:

  • www.roadsideamerica.com/location
  • www.roadtrippers.com
  • www.alltrails.com

 

 

The “how to find adventure” is a guide on how to find adventures close to home. It also includes some tips and tricks for finding the best things to do in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do for an adventure at home?

A: I am a question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will answer your questions and do some research on the internet too.

What is a mini adventure?

A: A mini adventure, or a micro-adventure is a shorter version of an actual full adventure. Its like the first part to the story that gets you hooked onto wanting more.

How do you get into a real adventure?

A: I cannot answer this question, because it does not follow the rules of a traditional question.

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