Local adventure

The Joy of Here: Four Reasons to Have a Local Adventure

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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.

Local adventure - stand up paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding on the Mississippi River. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

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.

Local adventure - Wildlife Management Areas
I’ve been having a great time exploring Iowa’s Wildlife Management areas this year.

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.

Local Adventure - State parks
Nothing beats soaking your feet in cool water on a hot day!

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.

Local adventure - exploring nearby
What can you find close to home? This spot, Indian Bluffs, has become one of my favorite places to visit, and it’s only an hour away from home.

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.

Local Adventure - Local hiking
I do a lot of local hiking. I’ve been to this spot a few times, and keep running into strange weather.

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!

Local Adventure
What are you waiting for?

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.


12 thoughts on “The Joy of Here: Four Reasons to Have a Local Adventure

  1. Very well said Wade 🙂

    I am a strong advocate of adventuring locally too. Everyday adventures build your confidence and ground you in a place. It makes me appreciate where I live more and understand it better too. And ultimately it provides me with so many more adventures than I would have if I only waited to be able to go far.

    1. I 100% agree! I’m always amazed at the amount of people who resist the notion of local adventures though. I run into it a lot; some people get stuck thinking it’s an either/or proposition. It’s great to see the look on their face when what I’m saying finally sinks in and they say, “I can do both!”

  2. I struggle with this immeasurably – the grass is always greener. That being said, this is the year I’m really focusing on finding the good stuff nearby instead of just pining for far away lands.

    1. I’m as guilty as the next guy! But I continue to seek out awesome experiences here, as much as I try to get out and see the rest of the world.

  3. I think people sometimes get caught up in the big stuff. As if, if it isn’t grand in some large scale it isn’t fun enough. And for some people, social media has almost increased that concept, because we so often show only bits and pieces of our lives instead of the whole picture. But I love local adventures! I have one almost every week in the summer when I go to the park at break. And we have a really pretty county park only 15 minutes from me, which I go to often. Besides so many other spots! An NPS is right near me, Sandy Hook at Gateway National Park. It’s not traditional in how we think of parks (I actually wrote a blog post about that last August), but it’s so close and so pretty!

    In a couple of weeks my friends and I are trying to chase down some bioluminescence water in a Manasquan Beach, NJ. It’s only a couple towns away from me. We may not see anything, but it’ll be a fun night either way!

    1. Jamie, I’ve gotta get down on this bioluminescent water!

      I’m actually writing a post right now about how to properly use social media, and avoiding the fear of missing out or comparing oneself to what others are doing. It’s hard to strike that balance!

      I love local adventures too. If it weren’t for those, I’d be rather unhappy in my life!

  4. I am so glad I found your site! I am a QC native and am just now starting to explore the surrounding areas. Found your site when I was googling Loud Thunder FP!

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