Solo micro adventures
Exploring close to home on micro adventures
Micro adventures close to home
After travelling the world and then living in Australia I decided to return to England. Every weekend in Sydney I would go on adventures and meet new random people but I realised it’s not something I have ever done in my home country. Perhaps because I got comfortable with my network of friends and bogged down in the 9-5 life or perhaps it’s because travelling has changed me. All it takes is a shift in mindset and a little sense of adventure and you’re on your way to unleashing a whole new lease of life!
Alastair Humphries wrote a book about these adventures close to home and is the pioneer of the term ‘microadventure’ he encourages people to get out and explore as much as they can and things like to buy a one-way train ticket for 30 miles away and then cycle back. If you were wondering what to do this weekend why not give that a go. The book is definitely worth a read and inspires your own mini adventures!
I thought I would write this post to inspire people to adventure close to home and also alone. Don’t get bogged down in the weekend routines, hanging around with the same people having the same conversations, take time out to go and explore. Whether that’s taking your kids, a dog or if you’re on your own like I was, there’s no excuse. Do your washing and weekly shop on a Tuesday night and save the weekend to hit the road! Trust me you’ll feel refreshed and inspired and like you’ve had a mini holiday.
June: The month of solo micro adventures
I’m quite ashamed to say I haven’t been to the lake District since I was little and I honestly can’t tell you how much I regret missing out on this place over the years. I decided to volunteer at the Keswick Mountain Festival in return for a free ticket to the festival. I didn’t know anyone that would want to go and at such short notice so I went on my own. I had never camped on my own before, never put a tent up on my own before and definitely never been to a festival on my own before so I was a little apprehensive. I got to help steward the sporting events and became a Shephard making sure the sheep didn’t escape from the farmers field, everyone was in good spirits and really friendly (the people weren’t bad either). I got to see how beautiful Keswick was, I camped with strangers who became friends and danced to the likes of Peter Hook and the Light and Mel C with this amazing back drop.
I explored the area, did a hike and I also ventured to see Lake Windermere and Ambleside on the way home. If you haven’t been yet there are some awesome hikes and it’s great for wild camping so it doesn’t need to be expensive. All of this was done in 3 days and I left feeling happy and inspired by the people I’d met and like I’d had a good break.
The two inspiring women Carol and Becky often go off on their own or with their kids on adventures, they also told me about Adventure Queens and their spirit encouraged me to make it a month of adventures not just a week.
The peak District is on my door step so I thought I should take full advantage of it really seen as though it’s so beautiful. My next solo adventure involved hiking off the beaten track and learning to read a map again, which I haven’t done since school! My friend kindly explained the OS Map grid reference and I was baffled why I didn’t already know about this as it could save my life. Admittedly I don’t usually wander alone up the hills in the Peak District but still it’s good for everyone to know. The hike was so much fun, and I really felt a sense of adventure that I hadn’t done since Orienteering in school. I may have ventured a bit off track and my phone died but I soon found my way and had such a good day. I would highly recommend going off the beaten track and finding your inner adventurer. Make sure you’re prepared with the essentials and tell someone where you’re going. (Yes I know it wasn’t Everest but it was a big achievement for me, celebrate the small wins in life hey!)
I had a long drive down near Bristol for work so thought to myself why don’t I make the most of it and stay over? I knew none of my friends would be able to come on a week day so I thought right perfect opportunity to try staying in a UK hostel on my own. I love Bristol anyway so I enjoyed wandering round and sight-seeing. I rented a Yo-bike for £1 and went Banksy graffiti spotting which doesn’t cost anything.
I’ll be honest there were a couple of moments when I thought, why am I doing this? Mainly when I was sat on the top bunk and people were being noisy through the night, I thought I have a perfectly good bed at home. However, I randomly ended up talking to a lovely Chilean girl that was travelling Europe and I invited her to Weston Super-mare beach with her friend. They turned out to be the nicest people and minus the slight language barrier got on so well and laughed about dating and our opinions of English and Chilean men! I had such a fun day and so glad I had done the whole hostel thing or I would have never met them. I’d class them as friends now and I’ll definitely meet them again if our paths cross :) The night in Rock N Bowl hostel was £15 plus 1 coffee and 1 beer cost me a total of £21. I was £1 over budget but with taking a packed lunch and making the most of the free breakfast I hardly spent anything. I also parked what felt about 50 miles away in the boiling sun from the centre so the parking was free. This didn’t include the petrol so I am cheating a bit but I am just showing you don’t need much money for a budget city break.
In true solo adventurer spirit what better way to end the month than camping with the Adventure Queens. So off I went to the Peak District to camp with 2 women and a toddler I’d never met before. It turns out it wasn’t just my family that were apprehensive about it and said text me when you get there to make sure you’re not really meeting 2 men. I mean I was pretty sure it was legit, I was more worried about them being weird and having to spend a full night with them if I’m totally honest. After a wrong turn and rocky start to the day I finally found the camp and I was greeted by these 2 absolutely lovely people and the cute little Albie and I just knew straight away I’d done the right thing.
Little Albie had come along on the adventure too and fully embraced the outdoors bless him! We had a walk into Edale, went to the park and the pub and then came back and sat around camp having a drink and setting the world to rights. Suzanne and Kiran are amazing people and I feel so lucky to have had such a great first experience and to have met these beautiful adventurous souls. It’s so refreshing to meet new people and talk about your life and get to know theirs. Waking up to the sun rising over the hills with beautiful scenery to read my book and write this blog, to take time out from my hectic schedule and take a moment for myself was just priceless. I wouldn’t have even thought of doing this 2 months ago. I feel like I want to spread the word of Adventure Queens and get more people involved in this awesome community. The women are so empowering, positive and encouraging of any adventure big or small. My mum wants to join but the slight issue is she doesn’t like hiking and she’s not on Facebook… I’m working on it!
I love how meeting people with the same mindset makes these things feel more normal. We need to break the taboo about meeting strangers and doing things on your own because I feel so lucky to have met everyone that I’ve met this month and have so many micro adventures. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about myself and gained confidence by proving I can do anything I want to do.
To anyone reading this that hasn’t yet had their own solo adventure, don’t let being alone stop you. You can meet people through Facebook, hostels or just along the way. You’re so much more approachable and free spirited when you’re alone.
Going solo in this way has given me a new lease of life. I’ve always loved that I have different friend groups from around the country and world, but now I have all these potential new friends out there. Like the saying goes, strangers are just friends that you haven’t met yet.
Blog by Grace from Yugen Explore.
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