So it went like this over a glass of red on a Sunday night…
Him. “Are we both free tomorrow eve after work?”
Him. “OK – let’s do something we’ve been talking about for a while. Want to try a Micro-Adventure?”
For those that don’t know a ‘Micro Adventure’ is a term coined by world famous Adventurer and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys. It can be described as “an overnight outdoor adventure that is “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives.”
Now some people might disagree that we are “normal” as we are lucky enough to have a pretty extensive adventure background, a fleet of touring kayaks at our disposal and a pretty serious set of camping kit – but don’t let that put you off. A Microadventure doesn’t have to be on the water! It can be anything from pitching a tent in nearby woods, exploring a town or city by moonlight, or even holding a family slumber party in the back garden. The only real rules are that you must keep it minimalist, cheap and you must sleep outdoors away from your normal habitat. It also takes place ideally out of normal office hours i.e. after 5pm and before 9am.
It’s not what you do between 9 and 5 it’s what you do between 5 and 9 – Alastair Humphreys
So (slightly wine-fuelled) we put a plan in place for our first post-work Micro Adventure, due to take place the following evening. I almost forgot until I was reminded over breakfast the next morning! But, never one to go back on an agreement, wine fuelled or not, it was all systems go! The plan was straightforward; finish work, pack some kit and go.
Our Micro Adventure No.1. was a gonna be a “Kayak Camp” trip. The idea was simple enough for us, as mentioned we are lucky enough to have a fleet of kayaks and my husband Mike might just be the best person ever to go wild camping with as he has all the equipment and even better knows how to use it 🙂
So following a busy day in front of a computer screen and being attached to the world wide web we left home just after 5pm and made our way to the water. A quick repack from van to boats and off we went, quite literally paddling into the sunset.
The sense of freedom leaving the pier on a beautiful sunny Monday evening was almost overwhelming. What an evening for it! It was like it was meant to be. We spent the next few hours kayaking around some of the islands lovely Lough Derg has to offer.
Once the sun started to set we made our way to the island we were camping on, set up tent and got the stove lighting for dinner. After dinner, we took a short wander around the perimeter of the uninhabited island – and then it was time to lay our heads to rest.
We are lucky enough to have our own awesome camping kit and following years of roughing it as scouts and then as students with cheap equipment, we now have a top of the range tent, therma-rests and sleeping bags. Microadventures may not need the most extreme gear, but you want to be comfortable too – so if you don’t want to splash out on top of the range stuff for such a short trip, beg, borrow or hire one or two key things to turn your trip from a trial into a treat.
With decent bedding and tent, sleeping outdoors generally guarantees us a good rest – usually only interrupted by the odd bug or moo from a cow and luckily neither of us are bothered by either. I fell asleep looking forward to what lay ahead…a dawn chorus and a sunrise paddle home.
Neither failed to disappoint. We were packed up and in our boats in time to watch the sun rise over Lough Derg. Without the need for early morning chatter we both embraced the feeling only a sunrise reflection on the water can provide.
Again it’s one of those moments that just has power and everyone should experience it in this capacity at least once in their lives.
“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
― Jo Walton
Like all good things it passes and while we tried to hold on and capture the scene forever in our minds it was time to paddle for home and wind up our first Micro Adventure. Time was ticking and the real working world was waking. Back at my desk at 08.52 I felt a little tired but mostly refreshed, there was also a great sense of achievement for what we did and what we experienced in the previous 16 hours. Of course the cogs are turning with ideas for the next one already!
We might even bring a few more friends along! So if you fancy joining us get in touch or maybe you just wanna try your own Micro Adventure, whatever works I just urge you to give it a go.
The idea is simple: 12-16hrs of something different, something outdoors and something which involves a little adventure and a lot of open mind!
“you do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure” Alastair Humphreys
NOTES FROM THE ED.
Andrée and Mike are the incredible duo behind My Next Adventure, which arrange family kayak tours, adventure camps and lots more for adventures of all ages and abilities. When Mike isn’t taking teams to Kilimanjaro or further afield you can find him in Killaloe, and on the waters of Lough Derg 🙂 Check out their Facebook page, it’s fab!
For a great list of ideas for your own MicroAdventure – Check out Alastair Humphreys – he’s got something for everyone. alastairhumphreys.com