Last month I had the good fortune to briefly play guide to a fellow blogger, Kovas of Midwest Basecamp, while he visited the Quad Cities. I led him, his son, and some friends on a local hike, and then Clarissa and I joined our new friends the next morning for some stand up paddleboarding and kayaking. We had a fantastic time getting to know our fellow adventurers and spending time on the trail and on the river with them. This was also served as an excellent reminder to me, about how easily one can find adventure, if they try.
In my quest to live a more adventurous life, and to help others do the same, I run into a lot of the same arguments for why people don’t have adventures. As I addressed in You’re not Bored, You’re Boring, most of the reasons we give for not having adventures in our life are just excuses. We say we don’t have the skills, the gear, the money, or the time, for some grand adventure, and thus we can’t do anything. Of course, this isn’t true. Even if you can’t take that big grand adventure yet, there’s plenty you can do, if you really want to.
Last year, I wrote a post for about some really cool local places. Part of why I did this was to remind everyone that there are tons of great things where I currently call home, and why it’s awesome to go local. But this isn’t just true of the Quad Cities and surrounding area, it’s true of most places. Yes, even your home. Opportunities for microadventures abound!
Don’t believe me? Well, let me drop four reasons you should adventure in your own neck of the woods.
1 There is plenty of local adventure to be had nearby.
We’re always eager to get out and explore the world. Of course we are, the world is an amazing place! That includes the parts of the world that are close to you.
“But Wade, my town isn’t exciting. There’s nothing to do here. It’s boring.”
Sorry friend, that simply isn’t true. Yes, it’s exciting to chase adventures far from home, but if you have to run away to have an adventure, then you’re not embracing life to its fullest.
Pull out a map. What’s near your town? State Parks, Wilderness Area, Wildlife Management Areas, Trails, National Forests? There’s almost always someplace nearby to explore.
An explorer is always exploring; they don’t experience boredom because they always find something that interests them. That’s why it’s so important to maintain an explorer’s mind,* because it will enable you to find an adventure anywhere.
2. Local adventures will make expense less of an issue.
Traveling far away is fun, but it certainly can get expensive. The cost of travel itself is one thing; airfare, train tickets, bus fare, or even the cost of gas if you’re driving can vary on the time and situation. Sometimes you’ll luck out with a cheap flight, but other times you’ll pay through the teeth to get where you’re going.
The cost of staying someplace is another issue altogether. Hotel stays are probably the most expensive accommodations. Airbnb has disrupted that industry a little, and should be considered when you’re staying in metropolitan areas. In less urban areas, camping is an option, and dispersed camping and couch surfing are probably the cheapest options available.
however, you cut out almost all of this expense when you adventure close to home. If you like, you can pull a long day of exploring and return to your own bed (and shower). You have fewer logistics to worry about; less food storage woes, and an inexpensive bail out plan if necessary.
3. Local adventure allows you to start small, while gaining experience.
I’ve had people say to me, “But I don’t want to go on a day hike down the road. I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.” Here’s the thing, you can do both. In fact, you should. Consider this; do you want your first day on the PCT to be your first day hiking? The first time you see how your gear works out? The first time you wear your hiking boots? Of course not. A local adventure is a great way to get started. Think of it like training for a marathon; you don’t just start running 26.2 miles; you start with one.
4. A local adventure will bring you greater appreciation of where you call home.
What’s awesome and wonderful about the town you live in? Really, stop and think about it.
If you can’t think of one thing about where you live that is awesome, then you have two choices. The first is to pack up and move. Seriously, sell off your shit and get the hell out of dodge.
Or you can change your mindset. Because while every town, village, and city has its problems, they all have something great about them too.
Imagine you’d never visited your home before. Think about what you would want to do if you were visiting for a day or a weekend. Then do that. Don’t do it ironically, take a sincere interest in how you’re spending your time. Learn what your locality has to offer. You just might come away with a much different feeling about where you live.
So go have an adventure already!
Traveling to exotic places is amazing, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to do so anytime one arises. But you should also take advantage of opportunities for local adventures as well. They’re plentiful, relatively inexpensive, will help you prepare for bigger adventures, and will help you better appreciate the place you call home.
There are tons of benefits, but I can’t think of a single downside.
So what are you waiting for? Adventure on!
Editorial Note: Every photo in this post is from a local adventure that I’ve had.