There’s something about starting my work day in a sleeping bag that makes the day better. Waking with the sun on my face and a new vantage point gives me renewed energy and a fresh perspective on my work. When I’ve done something wild, like spend a work night in the mountains only to come back down for strong coffee, a shower and breakfast, I re-enter my workplace with extra enthusiasm, a bigger smile, and a spring in my step. I’m even more productive.
I have spent many work nights eating dinner above tree line with friends or camped high somewhere in Vermont’s Green Mountains, simply because I didn’t want to waste the few beautiful hours I had left of my day after I was finished with work. After many successful weeknight trips, I can say all that is needed to pull this off are imagination, basic outdoor gear, and somewhere to take a shower in the morning (an office bathroom or the local gym are great options).
It turns out that I’m not alone in my weeknight jaunts. In fact, an entire movement toward micro-adventures has been spawned by England’s Alistair Humphreys. This world adventurer has trekked the Arctic, rowed across the Atlantic, and cycled around the world, but family and career eventually led him to settle down. Wanting to keep in touch with nature, he set out to make adventure more accessible by condensing it.
In a video on his website (which is full of inspiration, by the way: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/) , called “An introduction to micro-adventures,” (http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/introduction-microadventures-short-video/ ), Humphreys says this: “Instead of being confined by your nine to five, flip that on its head and think about your five to nine. That’s 16 hours of freedom to do whatever you want. Instead of heading back home and sitting in front of the TV, do this: Get a bunch of friends, head out of town and go climb a hill. Watch the sunset, sleep under the stars, and in the morning watch the sunrise. Then, when your co-workers ask, ‘Did you do anything nice last night?’ you can say, ‘Yes, actually. Yes, I did.’”
Not being one to sit out of an adventure, I prepped my family, including a young toddler, for a weeknight outside. After a day of work, I pulled our gear off the shelves in our office: sleeping bags and pads, tent and poles, and a camp stove and stovetop espresso maker. When my partner, Tristan, got home from work we ate dinner and then headed out to several hundred open and wild acres behind our house. We spent the evening setting up a simple campsite, exploring the woods and building a fire. Then Tristan and I sipped a cold beer fireside after putting our daughter to sleep in the tent.
When we joined our daughter to sleep, I tossed and turned, but felt peaceful as I listened to a breeze in the tall pines nearby and watched shadows of trees cast on our tent under a bright moon. In the morning, we packed up while our camp coffee simmered, and then headed home. On our return trip we noticed blooming spice bush, trillium and trout lily, and picked fresh ramps (wild onion) to go in our breakfast.
By 8:30am I had ridden my bike to the local bus stop and headed into Montpelier, where I locked my bike to a sign post and headed into my office. I greeted my co-workers with more enthusiasm for the day than I normally felt. I raised my adjustable desk to standing height and felt ready to tackle a full day of emails, meetings, and projects.
Adventure does need to be relegated to weekends, vacations, and sabbaticals. It can simply be found by sleeping on a local hilltop on a work night.
Sarah Galbraith is an adventurer and writer based in Marshfield, Vermont. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]