Microadventures in Nature
Di Westaway | CEO Wild Women On Top
“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” William Shakespeare
“Microadventures: Short, thrilling trips that fit in around work and family commitments.” – Financial Times
I’m awoken from my dreams by a cool drop of water to the temple and I pull the sheet up around me and wonder why I’m suddenly freezing. I feel squashed and cramped, rolling sideways into the warm body of one of my kids, don’t know which. I open my eyes to see stars between the dappled light of our backyard crepe murtle tree and then I remember.
“Was this my idea?” I wonder. Yes, I thought it would be fun to sleep outside on the trampoline in the backyard with the kids. We’d planned it all week, and now I was living it. They were excited beyond measure and talked about it for weeks afterwards. What an adventure, they kept saying.
“When can we do it again … please mum, please.” And, ten years later, they still remember the microadventure we had sleeping under the stars on the trampoline in the back yard.
The term “Microadventure” was first popularised by British adventurer and author Alastair Humphreys. Microadventures are a refresh button for busy lives; an experience which is "small and achievable, for normal people with real lives."
Humphrey’s was named one of National Geographic Adventure’s Adventurers of the Year in 2012 and his book, Microadventures, has inspired lots of poms to have fun in their own backyards. But, if you’d like to get even more scientifically proven health benefits from your adventures, try adding the “wilds” of nature into your experience.
No matter where you live, you can feel refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged from your stressful or busy life with a Wild Microadventure.
Wild Women have often been called “ludicrously enthusiastic” and like “energiser bunnies on steroids” because we are the experts at getting into and whizzing around in, nature. We believe, one of the reasons our community are so buzzy, is that many of us have Microadventures every week … some even everyday.
If you think this sounds too hard for you, it’s not! If you want to feel the buzz, the energy, the happiness and sense of wellbeing that flows from getting into nature regularly, here’s how: plan one Wild Microadventure a month. It can be as simple as walking down to your local park at sunset and climbing a tree; or rolling down a grassy slope with your kids at the local oval, or sitting by a stream listening to the sound of the water running at sunset. You’ll be amazed how fantastic you feel. Take your kids, your partner, your mum or just do it alone and immerse yourself in the healing powers of a Microadventure in nature.
The Collins Dictionary blog recognised 'Microadventure' as a neologism in April 2014. Microadventure is now popular as an online hashtag, used on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share Microadventure experiences. In other words … it’s trending, so get FOMO and get with it.
Wild Microadventures involve movement outdoors, in nature: at the beach, the park, the forest, the bush, lake, river, cliff or in the garden.
There’s thousands of scientific studies that prove movement is essential for health. We believe movement in nature is a super power of wellbeing. Movement in nature, walking, hiking, trekking, leaping, jumping, bounding and climbing, is functional movement - the MOST natural movement possible.
It’s as old as the cave man and as new as the most recent cover of Women’s Fitness Magazine. This is not deconstructed, reconstructed movement based on man-made machines to isolate various bits and pieces of the body to sell gym equipment. This is the kind of movement man was genetically selected for. Walking, climbing, paddling, and running in nature. Inhaling the scents, the views and the wonders of weather, terrain, and survival.
Outdoor industry Research by the University of Canberra in 2008, lists health as the number one benefit of outdoor activity. In his best selling book, “Brain Rules”, Neuroscientist, John Medina says brain health starts with exercise. So, it’s a no brainer.
Wild Women On Top have been creating Microadventures since 2005 when we started weekly Wild Walks around Sydney. We’d head out rain, hail or shine, mostly at night when the kids were in bed, to explore nature by torch light. One night we slept out in the kid’s playground at North Harbour Reserve, woke at 1am, and walked to the city via the rocks and harbour tracks of Sydney Harbour.
Coastrek, Wild Walks and Wild weekends are Microadventures with friends. Trek Training is a weekly Microadventure. So is a swim from Manly to Shelly Beach; a bike ride along a river, a paddle across a lake, or just go skinny dipping when nobody’s watching!
Why have a Microadventure? Its fun! It adds excitement to your daily life. It’s good for your physical and mental health. So, here’s a challenge … have at least one Microadventure every month! JFDI!
Some Microadventure we love:
- Sleeping under the stars in the back yard;
- Waking in the dark for a pre-dawn walk along the rocky ledges of the Sydney Harbour foreshore;
- Immersing yourself in the dusky pink, mauve and peach of first light at Manly Beach;
- Climbing the bush trail to the summit of Barrenjoey headland as the sun pops over the horizon;
- Frolicking in the fresh waters of Melbourne’s Brighton beach in winter or
- Climbing a rope ladder at North Head while the humpback whales frolic north!