Microadventures and Other Holidays Near Home
Tourism as it is, isn’t sustainable. One of the main problems is that more and more people are travelling to distant places, usually by plane. While trips to distant countries promise special experiences, there are many ways to explore and relax without travelling far. Spending holidays (almost) at home offers a lot of potential to become part of a sustainable lifestyle in the long run.
Microadventures are about exploring places and trying out activities that are a little off the normal destination for the Sunday stroll or the well-known theme park, but still no more than an hour's drive away.
Microadventures – the new trend in (not) travelling
The pandemic's enforced break from travel has spurred a trend that had already developed before, namely to have experiences close to home that were previously associated with long journeys to far-away places. 'Microadventures' is the buzzword for which countless entries exist on the internet and dozens of guidebooks can now be found in bookshops and libraries.
Microadventures are about exploring places and trying out activities that are a little off the normal destination for the Sunday stroll or the well-known theme park, but still no more than an hour's drive away. As a rule, the focus is on experiencing nature, and in some cases corresponding outdoor activities. Hiking through beautiful forests, canoeing across rivers and lakes, cycling through rural idylls. If you like, you can combine this with climbing or camping or, if you are more comfortable, you can look for a glamping site or a tiny house for the weekend. If you want to increase the outdoor adventure, simply spend the night outdoors! (1)
So, microadventure in no way means that the adventure is small, but rather points towards the effort involved. In relation, therefore, an enormous experience can be ignited. With little effort and a correspondingly good ecological balance, holidays can be created that offer at least as much experience and relaxation as a week in the Mediterranean, but without the stress of airports, overcrowded tourist destinations, etc.
Holidays at home: discover endless possibilities.
Explore your region with new eyes: what is out there, nearby, that you have never visited or never paid attention to? There are always many new things to discover. This applies to nature in your neighbourhood, but also to culture. There is surely a lot to explore about the history and traditions that exist or once existed in your region. If you’re less excited about history and regional studies, then the topic of culture could be followed along your own cultural experience and creativity. Nowadays, we live in a wonderfully colourful world – every region offers a mix of traditions and modern, intercultural lifestyles.
Accordingly, there are endless possibilities to get to know and try out new things. What clubs, workshops and festivals does your city or region offer? Here, you can find great opportunities to gain new experience, meet people and get away from everyday routines. Learn how to dance tango or how to make sushi, start to sing or create a rap song, make films or play improvisation theatre – these are just a few ideas of the hundreds on offer. You can find courses and workshops at fair prices at education centres, youth associations and other providers.
Do you like to travel to get to know other cultures? In our globalised times, you can also do that at home. In any city, even a medium-sized one, there are people of many different origins. Through a local friendship or cultural association, you can take part in joint activities and probably gain insights into 'other cultures' that are more authentic and intensive than the arranged tourist programme in faraway countries. While tourism often provides a ready-made package and puts you in front of a backdrop, in your own environment, you can dive a little deeper and maintain the resulting contacts for longer.
Start your microadventure: first steps before take-off
There are now many books on microadventures with good first tips and the internet is full of blogs and websites on the subject. (2) Take a look around, get inspired and then start your own local-holiday project!
What could your microadventure look like? Plan something special or just make it up as you go along? Alone, in pairs or in a group? A variety of activities can be developed together. How about introducing each other to different destinations or planning surprise trips for each other? What could you explore together or learn from each other: visit special places in your town, have a night hike in the nearby forest, attend special cooking classes, plan visits to cultural clubs and events?
When browsing recommendations and offers check for availability and affordability. Not all activities can be realised everywhere: for a spontaneous mountain hike you need the appropriate landscape and the right equipment. And, following the big hype, some offers labeled as microadventure are nowadays professionally developed and thoroughly commercialised. These include events, such as an overnight stay in a special sleeping beach basket or hikes with animals like alpacas or dog sled tours with huskies, which can quickly become expensive, but might still be worth it.
And, yes, of course, it's also possible to have holidays without an adventure. If you prefer to have a relaxing holiday, you can aim for local wellness opportunities. Starting from a nearby spa to simply lazy itineraries for cosy days. Which coffee shops entice you to stay for a long time, which park is nearby and allows you to hang a hammock? How slow could you actually move around your neighborhood to increase the holiday feeling?
Whether a microadventure or local laziness, holidays at (or near) home mean reversing the mindset that we need to travel and that we only treat ourselves when going far away. Travelling differently for future would mean going far away less often (and then with more enjoyment and awareness), while with shorter holidays we seek relaxation, adventures or personal growth experiences in the vicinity.
Do you have some ideas or experiences? Let us know and share them with our travel-different-for-future crowd!
- Overnight stays outdoors are an opportunity for a special adventure. Unfortunately, simply pitching a tent somewhere is only allowed in a few countries, but sleeping in the open (with a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat) is generally permitted. It’s of course possible to ask nicely if you can pitch your tent on a farmer's meadow.
- Besides the many new books with tips and tricks, you can also read some more philosophical manifestos on slow travelling, like the one by Dan Kieran: The Idle Traveller. (Title of the German Edition: Slow Travel).