In these uncertain times of social distancing and running away from everyone, we are called upon to stay home. Now we are very lucky being that we call the great state of Maine “Home”. In response to Covid-19 we adventurers have had to get a little creative with our trips. We are having to find new adventure styles without the ability to travel great distances, even within the state. Adventures can include great trips and fantastic vistas, but that’s not really the point. It’s to seek newness. To seek the unknown and force your brain to process novelty outside of routine.

Here I’d like to introduce the concept of micro-adventures. Micro-adventures are those experiences and activities that you can do for a few hours to a day or longer, but on a smaller scale to our usual expectations. Micro-adventures are incredibly accessible, espresso shots of novelty! No weekends needed, micro-adventures are doable throughout the work week to help you feel sane. With only a half-day or even a few hours free, striving to shake up your routine can be refreshing. And right now, we all need a bit of refreshing.

While everyone’s been in quarantine it’s a perfect time to spice up the usual movement from the couch to the fridge. I’d like to give a few examples of micro-adventures, but there are so many ways to get out of your frame of mind:

Backyard camping

Did you ever sleep in a tent in the backyard as a kid? Bring back this classic and set up your usual camping trip without the long drive that keeps the kids complaining. It’s impressive how different your surroundings feel when you camp outside in a place where you routinely sleep in a bed. Bring out the grill or firepit and roast some marshmallows just a little closer to home. You can do this any day of the week, you don’t have to wait until the weekend for those s’mores! Escape the depressing draw of netflix and put a little discomfort and novelty into your space by sleeping in your backyard!

Follow a stream

Have you ever wondered where that stream through the backyard meets up with the ocean? Maybe there’s a nature preserve that meanders along the river (Ducktrap River Preserve!). Maybe you want to get some fishing done. But have you ever just walked and discovered every foot of a stream or river. It’s fascinating to see where the beavers have dammed and how the river maneuvers around obstacles. Maybe the river’s switchbacks are collapsing and eroding the banks. There are birds that camp out on the stream’s edge waiting to be seen. It doesn’t take long to escape civilization when you follow a river and it doesn’t take long to get back.

Try a new activity

I am a huge proponent of trying new things as one can see from my previous articles. But there are countless new ways to explore your local area. Try stand-up paddleboarding for the first time. Or choose a new-to-you trail when mountain biking! Bike to work if you can or even kayak to work. There are lots of ways to spice up your day to day life. Trying to get outside and do new things is an important aspect of adventure. The novelty of experiences helps to cement them in your brain and fills your life with memories

Novelty and spicing up your day-to-day

I believe it is very important to live your life and have fun every day of the week. Don’t live for the weekend, because you can squeeze in some exploration close to home. Spice up your days with micro-adventures and you’ll be living the life of an adventurer through and through. No free soloing of El Cap needed, no Everest Base Camp reached, adventure doesn’t need grand spectacle. True adventure comes from injecting novelty into your life.

Do you have any suggestions for micro-adventures? I’d love to hear them in comments below!

 

 

Ethan Merrifield is a reader, a runner and, now, a writer. Always active and looking for ways to challenge himself – outdoors and intellectually – he has returned to Midcoast Maine after college and in search of his next adventure.

3 Comments

  • Joel Martin,

    I love this idea of micro-adventures and keeping the work week interesting. We don’t need to wait for the weekend!

  • Bev Roxby,

    My only hiking companions are my 2 dogs. I’m almost 74 yrs old, live in Midcoast, and get very uninspired when doing the same hikes/walks every week though I know familiarity is safer than novelty. I lived in NH for 26 years and hiked every weekend, doing 4000-footers repeatedly, all 50 of them, and started the New England ones, striving to do the hundred highest ones, but I haven’t found hiking buddies to speak of–maybe one or two but they hate going with my dogs (even though both dogs are very cooperative). When in NH I always took my dog! I’m going to Ducktrap Preserve today, but does anyone have any suggestions for trips to western Maine or previously undiscovered wonderful hikes in the Belfast area?

    • Joel Martin,

      Hi Bev! Our favorite lesser-known hikes near Belfast include:

      Belfast Rail Trail – Belfast
      Stephenson Preserve – Belfast
      Head of Tide and Stover Preserves – Belfast
      McLellan-Poor Preserve – Northport
      Mount Percival Preserve – Northport
      Gibson Preserve – Searsmont

      In Northwestern Maine, we recommend Baxter State Park near Mount Katahdin.
      Happy hiking!

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