Near is the New Far
"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." - George A. Moore
Setting aside time to relax, de-stress, and have a little fun is tremendously important to our health. It's easy to find ourselves in a cycle of inaction because our the demands of school or work and we believe that in order for something to have a meaningful impact it has to be big and grand. Micro-adventures highlight the significance of the world immediately around you. As mentioned by Alastair Humphreys, micro-adventures aren't diluted adventures but more like a shot of espresso that comes in a small container yet packs a big punch.
4 Weeks of Inspiration
Week 1 - A Sense of Wonder
"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; It is at least to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." - G.K. Chesterton
Often the thrill of adventure comes from exploring the unknown in order to see new things and have new experiences. Sometimes new experiences are simply old experiences in a new setting. When you try old things in new ways, you open the mystery door that could lead to something amazing (or not). Regardless of the outcome, you will have explored the unknown and will have a story to share because of it. Is that not the essence of adventure?
Shake up the routine. Do something typical but do it differently. Such as:
- Study in a new space,
- Shop at a different store,
- Buy a different brand,
- Take a different route,
- Use a different mode of transportation...
Image Credit: chenspec from Pixabay
Week 2 - The Adventure Mindset
"The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude." - Bob Bitchin
It doesn't have to be "fun" to be an adventure. While fun is usually the intended outcome, some have said that adventure doesn't start until things start going wrong. In experiential learning, the intent is to put people outside their comfort zones and to introduce intentional challenge. Not because watching people squirm is enjoyable but because it's the time when people grow the most. Part of the thrill of big adventure is putting yourself in unknown territory then using your knowledge and resources to get through it. Not only is conquering the unknown exciting, it generates confidence, increases resilience, critical thinking, creativity, and many other beneficial attributes. The best part is that this concept is just as easily practiced right outside your door as it is on the top of a mountain or paddling down a class 5 rapid.
- Read: A Guide to the (3 Types of) Fun Scale
- Read: The Adventure Mindset
- Watch: A Mile an Hour: Running a Different Kind of Marathon
Do something you've done before but this time do it "bigger". For example:
- You've hiked 3 miles max at one time, why not try for 5 or 6?
- You climbed to the top of the rock wall 4 times in a day. This time shoot for 10!
- If you sometimes cook a meal for your roommate, maybe invite a few more friends, have them each bring a dish
Week 3 - Local Perspective
"Travel is the only context in which some people ever look around. If we spent half the energy looking at our own neighborhoods, we'd probably learn twice as much." - Lucy R. Lippard
After spending a few months or years at Grand Valley, you might feel like you've experienced just about all there is to see and do in the area that's worthwhile. We often go about our day with so much on our minds and move at such break-neck speeds, we miss much of the beauty that surrounds us. Every place is unique in the life it supports and enjoyment can be found in looking at both the history of a location as well as its current state of being.
- Find a spot outside, preferably in nature and just sit quietly by yourself for 15-30 minutes. No electronics, no books, just you and your thoughts. Focus on your 5 senses: what plants/ animals do you see? what can you hear? what sensations do you feel? smell? etc.
- Commit to unplugging for a period of time (2hrs, 6 hours, all day?!). At some point during this time, walk around for at least an hour. Going to/ from classes doesn't count.
Image Credit: Susann Mielke from Pixabay
Week 4 - Adventure as a Habit
"Focus on the journey not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." - Greg Anderson
We often pack so much into our day that we constantly focus on finishing one thing just so we can start another. We're always focused on going to this or finishing that and often fail to appreciate what makes those things special. While it is great to know what you like and to enjoy those things, experiences are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly the same. There are always variables that make each unique. Such as the weather outside, the season and accompanying flora/ fauna, the people you're with, discussions you have, the music on the radio, the snacks you eat, etc.
Be curious this week. Try/ learn something new. It could be a new food/ recipe, hobby, or skill. Or you could identify something new outside such as constellations, plants, animals/ tracks, etc.