Didn't we all use to daydream when we were kids of grand adventures and exciting experiences in the great outdoors, roaming the wilderness, spotting rare animals, and sleeping under the stars? As adults, our aspirations may have changed somewhat, but often enough we still long for a little time out in nature – either on our own or together with the whole family. To simply get out and discover something exciting − something we often automatically associate with a long trip to a new place. After all, we're already familiar with our home town. How could we possibly press our internal reset button there or experience something new?
Micro-adventures address this very question. They allow us to rediscover the environment we’ve grown so accustomed to over the years. And it makes absolutely no difference whether you’re on a family vacation spanning several days or just want to take a time-out for an hour after work – amazing experiences are waiting around every corner.
What’s a micro-adventure anyway?
The name says it all: Micro-adventures are experiences and discoveries on a small scale that can be explored right in your own neighborhood. Ideally, you just have to stumble out the front door and right into the thick of things or hop on your bike and take a quick ride to your chosen destination. That way, you can skip the long car trips and traffic jams on the way to your mini-vacation at home.
If you search for micro-adventures online, you’ll come across a host of ideas as well as some guidelines that explain exactly what turns an adventure into a micro-adventure. If you ask us: Anything goes as long as it’s fun and not harmful to the environment, and if a 20-minute bus ride to your favorite place in nature is called for, then that’s just part of the expedition.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether we hike into the wilderness with all our camping gear or just listen to the birds chirping in a tree – at the end of the day, what we define as our own adventure is entirely up to us. Here are a few ideas:
They’re always there and yet we rarely notice them intentionally. How about setting aside an evening, sitting by the window, on the nearest park bench or on a picnic blanket, and observing the stars? Maybe we can even locate a constellation or two. With apps like SkyView, for instance, you can do this even if you know nothing about astronomy.
Later in the year, in August to be precise, the heavens abound with an unusually large number of shooting stars – and, of course, the chance to voice your hopes and wishes.
Build a fort
The forest is often strewn with loose branches and twigs that can be used to build our own little fort in the forest – all without needing any tools. When we’re done, we can hold our own topping-out ceremony with snacks we’ve brought with us and get cozy in our new digs for a while, or use the fort as a launching pad for some exciting survival tours.
Observe the animals
Sitting perfectly still and in absolute silence? That can be a challenge for a lot of us. But when we manage to catch a glimpse of songbirds, squirrels, deer, or even a fox in our own yard, in a field, or in the woods, and we can think back on that with a smile on our face that evening, then it was worth the wait.
Exploring a (new) part of town
How well do we actually know our home town? There are certainly some spots we haven’t visited yet and can explore. And even if we have seen everything already, a change of perspective can bring some new discoveries to light. To do this, we just have to imagine that we’re seeing the place through the eyes of someone who’s never been there before. Who knows, maybe the trip will even result in a cool photo op or two?
Spend the night outside
Camping doesn’t have to involve a long trip either. Even in our own yard, spending the night outside can be a very special event, and with our shower right nearby, it’s also decidedly more comfortable. Depending on how much effort you want to put into it, dinner can either be brought from the kitchen or prepared entirely in the great outdoors on the camping stove. Of course, cooking outside is almost an adventure in itself.
To prevent putting anyone at risk, set up camp only in a place designated for this purpose, in your own yard or on your balcony.
Probe the terrain with your eyes closed
What if we close our eyes or our ears, or even both, and move forward just by feeling our way along with our feet? This lets us challenge our sense of touch again a little and also helps us sense the ground beneath our feet a lot more intentionally. Naturally, Wildling wearers have a clear advantage here. To minimize the risk of accidents, it’s best to share this adventure with someone who can guide us and warn us about possible obstacles while we keep our eyes closed.
Clean up outside
At first, the very mention of the words “clean up” might trigger some inner resistance on our part. We already clean at home, so why should we have to tidy up outside too? And how is that even supposed to work?
It’s becoming more and more common to see places in nature that, to varying degrees, are littered with trash. Why don’t we turn roaming the neighborhood, the forest, or the fields into a mini adventure, collecting as much litter as we can and disposing of it properly? To accept this mission, all you need is a garbage bag and a pair of gloves.
Guess the bird calls
Was that a blackbird? Nah, it was a titmouse. Or wait, was it a sparrow?
As the days grow longer, we have the chance to observe all kinds of different birds, listen to their songs and, with a little practice, tell them apart just by the sound of their voices. We can listen to different birds on platforms like YouTube, for instance, and then try to identify them in our immediate environment.
If you prefer to relax and succumb to nature’s magical concert in surround-sound quality, you can just sit outside at dusk, because that’s the time when most birds are singing.
Of course, there are hundreds of other ways to experience grand moments on a small scale, to discover new things, and to try some things out. There’s practically no limit to creativity. In the comments, let’s collect even more ideas for adventures right in our own backyard!
Anna, Ran & the Wildlings