Get more out of life: 25 microadventures you can start today

13. September, 2014

I love the term microadventure. For me microadventure is small a adventure, that is easily accessible, but where you try something new and maybe even something that makes you a bit nervous. A small step out of your comfort zone. A microadventure can be defined as:

  • Be easy to get started with (Fx It shouldn’t take a lot of training before you can do it)
  • Be for a pretty short period. Time is something most people is missing. You shouldn’t take a vacation from your project / company to do a microadventure.
  • Be cheap. Even new entrepreneurs with a very small bank account can do a microadventure.

So, microadventure is something most can do, have the time for and can afford. As an entrepreneur I feel that microadventures are perfect for me. I don’t want to take a vacation from my project, because it is also my hobby and I want it to grow and succeed. However everybody needs to get away from the computer, get out in nature, get new inspiration and think about something different for a day or two.

At the same time in my experience the greatest experiences are often the small ones. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to be something you will remember for years.

Get more out of life: 25 microadventures you can start today. CLICK TO TWEET

25 microadventures you can start today

I have found 25 microadventures, which are a combination of things I have tried and things I want to try. To spice it up a bit, I asked my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Jens Jakob Andersen, about five of the best microadventures he has done. Jens Jakob have a more jackass-like approach to adventures that me, so I thought it would be a good combination. He works with the online project called RunRepeat. Check it out!

The 25 microadventures varies in price, time and how easy they are to get started with. Many you can do (start and finish) today, others you will be able to start (book, plan or begin). These are not big projects!

#1 Swim as long as you can in the sea

25 microadventures you can start today

It is really underestimated to swim in the sea. You are really in a different world, where you don’t belong. A perfect place for a microadventure. At one point I did a lot of swimming and then I decided to swim 10 kilometers in the sea between Denmark and Sweden.
It was a fantastic experience and a special kind of fatigue. Spending so long time with your head looking down in the sea, you are guaranteed to see a lot of stuff. For most people, swimming in open water will be a challenge. Combine that with swimming longer than you have ever done before, and you will get out of your comfort zone for sure.
It can be dangerous to swim in the sea, so bring a friend in a canoe or kayak. He or she can also help you with navigation and have something for you to drink (and of course take some pictures, so you can prove it to your friends).

#2 Run at night

25 microadventures you can start today

Running at night is special. Your body and your head have been working all day and are  set to rest, so it can be tough to run at night. To see the city you live in from a couple of running shoes during the night, will make you see places that you already know in a new way. It can be a mental challenge to get out the door at night, but you will get a fun and different experience.
Running in the night is a perfect thing to do with a friend. Last year I did a long night run with a good friend. The atmosphere was special and it was a perfect setting for great conversations about life and everything. I still remember what we talked about and the atmosphere today.

#3 Stand on the top of a mountain

25 microadventures you can start today

If you don’t live close to some mountains, this will be difficult today. Most people travel to places where there are mountains nearby every now and then. There are a lot of mountains that are easily accessible and where there is trails all the way up to the top. You should target mountains where you don’t need gear, guides and so on. Mountains between 2-3.000 meters are fantastic, because they are tough, it takes some time to get to the top, the difference in temperature is seldom very big and the views are fantastic!
I have gone to the top of a bunch of mountains in the French Alp, and there are a lot of tops, where it is just you, the mountain and the clouds.

It is a very simple adventure that is amazing. You will find a lot of websites out there with info about the mountains near you, routes, difficulty, heights etc.

#4 Walk, run or bike from A to B

25 microadventures you can start today

No matter where you are there is a lot of great places to see. Even in your home country and home city, you will find places where you have never been before. I love going on trips that take about 2-5 hours either running, walking or biking. Normally I go from home and end up at a train station, where I will take the train back home.

Spending a few hours on your bike and it will be possible to see different kinds of nature and environments. This is really a microadventure that is easy accessible for everybody. A trip like this is good, because you learn that the adventure is really just waiting outside your front door. There is a lot of things to see, even close to where you live.

#5 Fly in a hot air balloon

25 microadventures you can start today

This adventure cost a bit of money and it is not something you can do today. On the positive side, you can book the trip today and it will be worth your hard earned money. Many will probably think it is too much money to spend, but I really thought it was amazing. As many of the other microadventures, this one also gives you another perspective on the country you live in and the area you normally take for granted.

To see earth from above, how fields form, animals running around and seeing the sun go down in the horisont is just truly amazing. In a hot air balloon you really have the time to see things, because it doesn’t go that fast (depending on the weather of course).

Even though this is not something you can do today, but just book I can only recommend it.

#6 Invite a stranger to dinner

25 microadventures you can start today

This is a nice experience, where most would probably be a bit out of their comfort zone, but it is also a pretty good networking trick. If there is someone you just know by name, that you would like to have in your network, then invite him or her out for dinner.
I did this with a friend. We both invited three persons for dinner, so in total we were 8 people, where only my friend and I knew each other before. It is a super fun experience and a great way to really get to know some persons, that you maybe only know from social media.

#7 Close your eyes, point at a map and go

25 microadventures you can start today

This is a simple microadventure, which is perfect for a Sunday, where you just want to get out of the house. Find a map, close your eyes and point. Then go out the door and explore.
It doesn’t get much more simple than this. I recommend using Google Maps, then you can zoom in or out depending on how much time you have.
Again, this is a microadventure where you see something that is practically in your back garden. There is a lot to explore. Personally I sometimes find myself spending way too much time on Yelp and TripAdvisor. The feeling of just going without a lot of research is the feeling of freedom.

#8 Try alternative therapy

25 microadventures you can start today

Alternative therapy / treatment is really something that is growing, but it is something that a lot (myself included) can have some prejudices about. Feeling that way, only makes it even more interesting. There is something to learn most places in the world, so why shouldn’t there be here?
When I was in China I thought I would try to get a look inside the world of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), that goes back many more years, than the practices we know from the West. I got a session with a specialist in this, which was a combined conversation about lifestyle and then acupuncture and cups. After seeing a lot of Chinese with these marks on their backs in swimming pool of my gym, I thought I had to try it.

Even though there is a lot of  things about TCM that I find a bit fluffy, there is so much to learn. For example, they are much more proactive, compared to here in the West, where most people don’t see a doctor before they are sick.
There is a lot of different forms of alternative therapy, so do a little searching and book one session to start with. I really like the combination of conversation and then trying something physically on your own body.

#9 Pick up a hitchhiker

25 microadventures you can start today

One of the easiest and cheapest way to learn something new is to pick up a hitchhiker. It is a very simple experience, but it can give you great insights to a strangers world.
I have only tried this one time, driving down a mountain. We picked up an older couple who had walked to the top, but now wanted to go down to their camping area. It was only a short drive, but they were great to talk with. In the 15 minutes we drove, we talked about our respective countries and differences. They were extremely grateful for the short ride and their smiles were well worth the trip.

This is definitely something I would like to do again, but on longer drives and with different kind of people.
If you want a bit more adventure than this, then you should hitchhike :-)

#10 Try a 30 day challenge

25 microadventures you can start today

To try something new for 30 days is both challenging and something you can learn a lot from. There is a lot of small projects you can try for 30 days: Write a diary, take one picture each day that ??, don’t complain, don’t eat meat. You can also use one hour each day for 30 days to do something you always wanted to do, like writing a book, starting a blog or something else.
I have done a bunch of 30 day challenges, and I think it is great. It is a great combination of a challenge and to learn something new. And for most cases it is totally free.

I can really recommend this TED classic from Matt Cuts about 30 days challenges. The picture is from a 30 day challenge I made, where I tried not to complain. To remind me, I had this band on and I changed it to the other arm every time I complained.

#11 Participate in a race

25 microadventures you can start today

There are a lot of races you can participate in. All distances and types, for example triathlon and adventure races. The feeling just before the gun goes off and satisfaction of reaching goal is great. Choose a type of race or distance you haven’t tried before. Make it simple, do a short triathlon where you don’t need all kind of gear.
It is a great way to challenge yourself and it is easily accessible for most. You can decide how big you want the project to be.

Should it be a microadventure, then it has to be something a bit more crazy than you are capable of now, but not that crazy, that it will cost you a lot of money, training and time.

#12 Participate in a Meetup

25 microadventures you can start today

I really like the platform Meetup. All sort of different kinds of groups meet up around different topics. There are  groups in most areas, and of course a lot of them are hobby and fun related. You can find local groups that climb, hike, run, do yoga, crossfit, bike and much more. You can easily see online who is going to participate.
When I moved to Barcelona I participated in this group about trail running. A great way to meet new people if you are in a new place.
This is a great combination of trying new things and also to meet new people, which are the perfect things for a microadventure.

#13 Spend the night outdoors

25 microadventures you can start today

There is a huge back to basic trend, where people want to keep things simple, get out in nature and away from crowded cities, computers and long hours. We are tired of working so hard and always being online. For us entrepreneurs we NEED to be online to run our businesses, but sometimes it is great to break free and go back to basics.
One of the most simple ways to do this, is to grab a backpack and a sleeping back and then just walk out in nature and sleep. I must admit I have never done this myself actually, which is a bit embarrassing but it is one of those things I really need to try soon.
No planning, no camping area, no tent. Just out in the nature on an adventure.
This picture is from one of my favourite areas back home in Denmark.

#14 Catch your own food

25 microadventures you can start today

This follows the back to basic trend that we talked about in #13. This is one of those microadventures I really want to try. A lot of us take food for granted, I know I do. I’m sure that catching your own food will give you another perspective and respect.

It must a great feeling to catch and cooking your own food out in nature.

#15 Walk a route you normally drive

25 microadventures you can start today

At Refuga Barcelona we had a cook named Thomas at one event. When he’s not cooking he is an adventurer, who travels around, mostly with his bike. Right now he is cooking in Greenland, but he got a one way ticket for him and his bike to the Middle East, where he will start a trip around the world.

When he lived in Denmark, he did a microadventure which was really cool. He walked a route he normally drove, from his house to his parents. Instead of taking the normal transport, he found an alternative route through a forest and via the beach. He planned on arriving for breakfast, and then he took off in the evening before. He slept at the beach.
As many of the other microadventures, this one can give you another perspective on areas you take for granted. Try this with your transport from home to the office.

#16 Buy a flight ticket and go today

25 microadventures you can start today

A spontanous trip has always been on my list of things I want to try. It must be great feeling of freedom to go to the airport, buy a ticket and then just go. Within your budget, you just pick the one that sounds like the most fun.
This is a microadventures that costs a bit of money and takes a few days, but it is one of those, where you should just switch off your brain and do it.

The picture is from a short trip to Riga. I didn’t order the tickets the same day but I definitely want to try this some day.

#17 Try couchsurfing

25 microadventures you can start today

I have only used Airbnb, which has been really awesome. To visit a foreign country like this, makes you meet some locals, who will give you some insights to their life, country and city.
I have this idea that Couchsurfing is even more valuable than Airbnb, considering this. If you let strangers borrow your couch, you must be interested in meeting new people and some everyday-adventures.
To stay via Couchsurfing is a real microadventure and it is definitely on my list.

#18 Follow a homeless person for 24 hours

25 microadventures you can start today

In most places of the world, homeless people, are a part of the picture in the cities. But most people really don’t see them, because it so normal. I think that is horrible.

I am sure this could be a very valuable experience, where you will learn a lot about yourself and really start to appreciate the small things in life. This must be an awesome challenge.

I can really recommend this blogpost from Wil Reynolds, who lived on the street as a part of a charity project.

#19 5 jobs in 5 days

25 microadventures you can start today

I often thought of doing this project and documenting it. I am sure that trying five different jobs in 5 days will be very valuable. My own thought was to try five pretty different jobs, like flipping burgers one day and follow a politician another day.

I got this idea when I did some work for a charity organisation in Denmark called Svalerne. Everyday I worked with people that were +60 years old. To hear their stories and learn about their lives, was really interesting. It gave me some insights into some people lives, that I learned a lot from and some advice that I still use today.

#20 Try freediving

25 microadventures you can start today

Last year I tried a freediving session. It was just a session for beginners, so everybody can do it. We started with a talk about the body and freediving, which gave some insights into how the loungs work and some techniques that could be used for staying under the water for as long as possible.

Water is something that most people can be a bit afraid of, so trying to stay under the water for as long as possible can be scary. I just tried what they call static, where you try to relax as much as possible and just focus on staying under for as long as possible.
It took three hours, i learned a bunch and I was a bit scared before going in to it. A perfect microadventure.

The following five are microadventures that Jens Jakob Andersen of Runrepeat has tried, which he recommend people to try.

#21 Sail between two countries in a kayak

25 microadventures you can start today

This adventure is demanding, free and makes you think about life.

After having sailed in kayak only ten times, I took a 25 km trip between Denmark and Sweden. The people we met in small boats out there said “It’s freaking dangerous”. That was why it was so great. When you are so far out at sea, there is nothing to see. It was a special thing to try. And it was free. I had food for five days and we also did some fishing also. This adventure was really good, because it was away from our normal setting and everyday life. We met very few people and had no devices or other smart gear with us. It gets extra interesting when your paddle break in two.

#22 Learn to skateboard

25 microadventures you can start today

I have never tried skateboarding before. I accidently found a skateboard in the water. It was rusty and broken, but free and I was really motivated to use it. For four months I only used the skateboard as transportation in the streets of Barcelona. It was without a doubt the worst skateboard in the city, but I’m sure I was the guy who had most fun.
It was a small thing, that I will never forget. It was spontaneous and straight forward. Nothing fancy. Simple. I learned a lot.

#23 Jump from a bridge

25 microadventures you can start today

In Red Bull Cliff Diving they jump into the water from 26-28 meters. The highest I could find was a highway bridge that was 24 meters over the water. It’s pretty dangerous if you land badly.
This was a nerve wrecking experience. To hit the water with 100 km/h really hurts and is physical not healthy. I am convinced that the feeling this gave me was well worth it. Was it dangerous? Yes. Do I regret it? No.

#24 Just get out in nature

25 microadventures you can start today

This adventure was free and a combination of the worst and best I have ever tried. It’s about getting out in nature whatever weather it is and coping with it.
My friend and I biked 100 km to a place where there were cliffs by the sea, so we could jump from them. It was a very, very wet experience, because the weather went crazy, so we were freezing before we arrived. I was wet for 26 hours straight and slept 10 minutes in total. I slept in a wet t-shirt and shorts. From 9 p.m., to 3 a.m., I just watched my phone for the time. I fell asleep and woke up again. Everytime I fell asleep I dreamt that I was in a big, comfy bed and got a big bucket of ice thrown at me. This happened ten times.

This experience was good, because today I really appreciate a bed. Even just having a dry place to sleep can make me happy. At least once per week I think about this episode. It shows how cold I actually was. It was one of the most demanding challenges I have ever tried, and I now appreciate being dry and warm, like I never did before. It is not always best, that everything is perfect all the time.

#25 Build a wall for a stranger

25 microadventures you can start today

This experience is primitive, free and fantastic at the same time.

One morning I decided that I wanted to help someone, without getting anything in return. I was at Bali at the time, and I saw some locals, who were building a wall for their house. In Bali white people are normally considered very rich and someone the locals look really up to. I tried to talk to them, but nobody understood anything, so I just started carrying bricks for the wall, while they protested.

I ended up helping the family for four hours, until the wall was done. There was now ten indonesian people, that just watched the whole thing.
When we were finished I just said thanks to the family and went off. A really great microadventure, because I made a difference for the family. Not because I build the wall, but because I entertained them and hopefully gave them a memory. They were speech less. A white doing slave work?

You can do the same thing no matter where you are in the world.

Get more out of life: 25 microadventures you can start today. CLICK TO TWEET

Read more about microadventures here.
Which microadventures do you want to try?
Which microadventures can you recommend to others?

Tell us in the comments.

Nikolaj Astrup Madsen I am the founder of Refuga. I'm danish, but I'm traveling the world while building Refuga and whenever I have time I go for a run in the mountains. I hope you will join me on this journey!

11 Responses to “Get more out of life: 25 microadventures you can start today”

  1. Interesting read. I definitely agree that you don’t have to travel half way around the world to have nice and inspiring experiences. The hot air balloon is no. 1 on my list:)

  2. Peter Jessen says:

    Great post! #19 could be cool to try out.

  3. Lars Thomasen says:

    A small thing I try to once a month, is to use an entire day on something I have never done before. Normally I do this the first saturday each month and then I just have a list of things I want to try. Climbing, take a dance class, trying gospel or anything.

    I try to sometimes do some things that I never dreamt about doing (like gospel). Why? Because I think it is really healthy to do something differently, just to see how it is. It can be a bit weird, but it’s always fun :-)

  4. Bogdan Raczynski says:

    Great post! Great to be reminded that nice memories dosen’t have to cost a lot and that it is something most people could go out and do to today.

    I would also recommend visiting an abandoned place. There is a lot of them out there, and many websites can tell you more. I’ve always thought it was quite interesting going to these places, because they have a very weird atmosphere.

    • That is a great idea Bogdan. I actually went to an abandoned water park, a month ago, in the small city of Sitges, just near Barcelona in Spain. I really want to do explore more places like that. I agree about the atmosphere!

  5. Jennifer Anderson says:

    This definitely gave me some ideas to microadventures I should do myself. When thinking back, I can only say the same thing: It is normally the small things that I remember and stands out in my memory.

    My friends and I have a yearly canoe trip. We normally go to a new place every year, for a few days, where we cook outside and sleep in tents. So basic, but so many good memories.

    Thanks for a nice post. Looking forward to following this blog.

  6. Pia Larsen says:

    Thanks for the post. Didn’t know the term microadventure, but it makes great sense. Will buy Alastairs book and get even more inspiration.

  7. Lisa says:

    This post is perfection. Everything I stand for, eloquently written.

    Thanks for connecting with me on Instagram so that I could stumble across your fantastic site! Such a wonderful concept!

  8. […] know where to start? You will after reading “Get more out of life: 25 microadventures you can start today“, written by Refuga founder, […]

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