5 simple ways to go (micro)adventuring this summer

How to get the perks of adventuring for less time and money this season.

If, like me, you live in the Northern Hemisphere where it’s currently summer, you may be looking for a few easy and simple adventure ideas that will fit into your schedule and budget. Whether you’re working, volunteering or studying over the summer, microadventures can still provide you with the perks of adventuring — new perspectives, experiences, memories — but for less time, commitment and cost.

A term created by adventurer-turned-author Alastair Humphreys, microadventures are all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new for a short period of time — like an afternoon or evening. According to Humphreys, the best microadventures are cheap and local to wherever you are. They also tend to involve minimal planning or preparation. Instead it’s about going with the flow and making the most out of every free moment, whether that’s a weekend, evening or morning.   

Unlike an exotic vacation or week-long wilderness journey, microadventures are a more realistic way to adventure alongside all of life’s responsibilities, commitments and challenges. And they’re needed more now than ever. As Humpheys puts it, “As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, busy, and stuck in front of a screen, microadventures offer a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia.” That’s the beauty of microadventures — they can come in any shape or form that you could possibly think of.

So, what are you waiting for? Leave your screens, grab your gear and head out to try one of the microadventures below!

Photo of UBC students pointing to and looking at a map on campus.
Photo by Jamil Rhajiak / UBC Brand & Marketing

1. Go geocaching

Whether you want to explore the next town over or your own neighborhood, consider trying to locate a geocache or two this summer. Similar to a treasure hunt, the goal is to find hidden containers by their coordinates and log your progress.

If getting outdoors and unearthing treasures sounds like your thing, join other UBC grads in a special Geocaching Adventure this summer! Hosted by alumni UBC, as part of their Summer Series of fun activities, you’ll be able to track your discoveries, see where other participants are finding geocaches and even get entered in a draw for some great prizes. You might even discover your new favourite town or adventure spot during your search.

2. Get active with the virtual race

If you’re hoping to work on your fitness this summer, don’t miss out on the chance to participate in alumni UBC’s Virtual Race, another event in the Summer Series. Race ‘alongside’ fellow grads to get from the Vancouver campus to the Okanagan campus.

True to the unique form of microadventures, this course can be completed in whichever way you wish, from running to swimming to parkour to rollerblading. You’ll get to track your progress on a shared dashboard for some extra motivation (or friendly competition) and like the Geocaching Adventure, maybe even win some prizes! In addition to staying active, you’ll also learn some fun facts about UBC, connected to some of the locations you’ll be ‘passing’ as you make your way through the virtual course.

Shot of UBC campus with a biker and a pedestrian in the distance
Photo by Don Erhardt / UBC Brand & Marketing

3. Exercise outdoors

If the weather is nice where you live, consider bringing your exercise routine outside. This could include circuit training with outdoor exercise equipment, a beach run or an ocean swim (and you could even record some of these activities as a Virtual Race participant!). Or, try out a calisthenics-themed workout using only the equipment that nature has to offer.

4. REdesign your commute

Instead of taking your usual route to or from work, errands and/or school, consider using this pocket of time to switch up your everyday route and the way you get to your next location. You could walk, cycle, rollerblade or even SUP (a.k.a. stand up paddleboarding). By changing up your commute, you may just discover your new favourite place, or way, to adventure (and, again, even log some of these activities towards the Virtual Race).

5. be a tourist in your own city

If you’ve been living in the same place for years, it’s natural to forget that exploring your own city can still be an exciting experience. After all, it’s easy to take the attractions in our own hometowns for granted, or to say, “I’ll visit them one day.”

Start by asking a few friends (especially from out of town) for recommendations and come up with your own custom tour of your city — whether you’re into history, art, music or food. You might be surprised at how fun and interesting your city is through the eyes of a tourist!

Photo of three people walking along a city street.
Photo by Martin Dee / UBC Brand & Marketing

With a little curiosity, creativity and consideration of what’s possible, adventures can be found anywhere. Remember, microadventures are designed to be easily integrated into daily life. Start small and don’t be afraid to try out different ideas until you find the types of experiences that best suit your schedule, budget and lifestyle. Ultimately, the most important component of a microadventure is that it works for you.