An adventerous spirit, but a normal lifestyle. How to combine the ordinary with my enduring desire for adventure?
Like most people, I can’t quit everything I do and go on a big adventure right now. But wherever I go and whatever I do, I dream about adventure. I could find the solution in micro-adventures, a concept introduced by Alastair Humphreys, who advocates that we should all climb a hill and sleep on it after our 9 to 5 day at the office. Although I like the idea, we don’t have hills in the Netherlands, but most of all, I must admit: after spending a day in the office, I long for my couch, a home-cooked meal, and my bed. I know, pretty boring and not adventerous at all, but that’s the (shameful?!) truth.
So what to do? I was still appealed by the idea of micro-adventures. I like the idea that you can go on an adventure whatever life you may lead. I also like that it challenged me to change my perspective on my daily life and how adventure could fit into that. My resistance to hike after office hours may sound like a lame excuse, but it also helped me to think about my own kind of microadventures.
So being inspired by this awesome concept, it opened my eyes to look differently to an invitation to a housewarming of a friend who moved to a rural part of the Netherlands. This housewarming suddenly looked like a change for adventure!
And there I went! My first microadventure in my “normal” life. I took the train at a Friday afternoon and within two hours, I was in the south of the Netherlands where I could walk straight to the beach from the train station. I had decided that I would sleep that night in the dunes. Wildcamping is forbidden, but I hoped that the police would think that no-one would go wildcamping in October and took the risk of a fine.
My night in the dunes was full of anxiety, hereby adding an important ingredient for a “proper” adventure: it must be scary, right? The strong wind that night caused lots of noises that I interpreted as human footsteps near my tent. (I kept telling myself that even if there would be a dangerous man outside, he would probably think that a strong big man was lying inside the tent instead of me.) I feel a bit silly now that I was way more scared than during my first solo-hiking trip in Scotland. But I guess I feel more conformfortable in complete solitude and don’t like the idea of being so close to the city and god nows who’s wandering around the beaches at night…
Anyway, somehow I fell asleep and in the morning, I got that great feeling of waking up in nature. I was so close to the city, but I had been sleeping in the dunes and I could see the beach when I crawled out my bed/tent. It didn’t matter that I was in my home country and that I had seen quite some Dutch beaches before; waking up like this simply feels amazing, whether it’s close to home or not.
Another fun thing was that I didn’t plan anything. I only decided that I would make a long beach walk and eventually I needed to arrive at my friend’s house. So google maps and I became friends for a day and I spend the morning walking over the beach, visiting Zoutelande (a touristic, but nice village in Zeeland), and walking through the dunes. By not planning any particular route, I found a beautiful path in a small forest; so I got to enjoy autumn’s colors.
Right on time, I arrived at my friend’s, where I could take a shower and change clothes. Something that my non-hiking friends appreciated! So I’d packed a thin woolen dress, which is relatively light and spares the weight of pants. After that, we had a great day and I realised that it was surprisingly easy to fit in this micro-adventure in my life. Moreover, I also realised that if I would not have done this, I probably just slept in that day, while I now enjoyed an entire morning (and night…) of hikingadventure!