The Beauty of Microadventures

British Adventurer and author Alastair Humphrey coined the term microadventure as an overnight outdoor adventure that is “small and achievable, for normal people with real lives.”  The idea of going on an outdoor adventure can sometimes be overwhelming and expectations can be high: What do I need to pack?  I need to go to somewhere incredibly breathtaking!  We need to go for at least 3 days. But it doesn’t have to be and that is the beauty of microadventures!

While spending time in a sauna might not technically qualify as a microadventure by Humphrey’s definition as an outdoor activity, you can still consider making it one!  Hop in a pond or the snow after your take a sauna. Or check out a nearby cabin for a weekend that has a sauna. Maybe you decide to check out the community sauna in your city that you keep hearing about.  These are microadventures! We spend so much of our daily life running through the tasks that our work, life, or our society places upon us – commuting to work, sitting at a desk or in a windowless room for most of the day, folding laundry, doing dishes, taking care of children.  Of course, these activities can be seen as opportunities we are given to be mindful, to serve, and to love. But there is something special about bringing small doses of adventure into our lives that connects us with our senses, bodies, and the places we inhabit.

After spending more than five years living in the remote and ruggedly beautiful Upper Peninsula in Michigan, I was used to driving 10 minutes to get out to the woods and go on a  microadventure in the form of any combination of hiking, camping, trail running, or snowshoeing. After moving to a diverse and urban neighborhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I thought going on adventures would be harder to come by.  I would have to prepare and plan for trips to beautiful places that were hours away by car – the North Shore, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or the Upper Peninsula. I realized I needed to reframe and expand my idea of adventure.

Micro-adventuring in the city allows me to use my creativity.  Urban microadventures often can be found in my own neighborhood and are just as fun and rewarding as bigger trips. For example: Last summer on a sunny weekday evening, I picked, and snacked on wild strawberries at a nearby park with my puppy.  On a random weekday off in the winter, my fiance and I spent the day at my sister’s suburban apartment complex that had a sauna. We alternated between sitting in the sauna, playing pool, and dancing around outside.

Whether you reside in an urban or rural area, microadventures are there for the taking!

To learn more about Alastair Humphrey and microadventures, check out:

Book: Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes


Nora Hamilton
  1. […] Another perk of the barrel sauna is that it can easily become a mobile sauna, or be transported to your cabin, hunting spot, or even be loaded on a boat, dock, or raft for the party of the summer.  Or take it with you on a microadventure. […]

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