Step out of your comfort zone toward a new you

By Jason Santerre

Five hundred traffic jams; 478 coffees; 236 lunches eaten at your desk; 178 meandering and mostly meaningless meetings; 17 annoying colleagues; four broken staplers, and one bad case of carpal-tunnel. It all adds up to your so-called career so far.

There’s got to be more to life than this, right? Right. It’s time to incorporate some “micro-adventures” into your life, and Alastair Humphreys is here to guide you. Named National Geographic’s

Adventurer of the Year for 2012, Mr. Humphreys knows a thing or two about adventure.

For one, he took four years to cycle 75,000 kilometres through 60 countries and five continents. He walked across southern India, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat, ran through the Sahara, trekked to the North Pole, and carried a magic ring across Middle Earth to be destroyed in the fires of Mordor.

Okay, that last part’s not exactly true, but the point is, this guy knows adventure. But what’s so “micro” about all of those accomplishments? Nothing. But he’s an adventurer by profession and knows the value in starting small, besides, you’ve got bills to pay, kids to feed, et cetera.

So for 9-to-5 folks like us, Mr. Humphreys says all we need to do is get outside, step out of our comfort zone, go somewhere we’ve never been, do something we’ve never done. Better yet, get there on bike, on foot, or by swimming across a lake. Every micro-adventure should include a little bit of sweat. A lot of sweat is even better.

He also says that we don’t have to be an elite athlete, expertly trained or in a higher tax bracket to have an adventure. “Adventure is only a state of mind,” says Mr. Humphreys. “I believe that adventure is about stretching yourself: mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability.”

A few micro-adventuring ideas to get you started this summer:

  • Go jump in a lake. Literally.
  • Sleep in a hammock in your backyard for a night.
  • Not adventurous enough for you? Sleep under the stars on a nearby hilltop with nothing but a sleeping bag — on a Wednesday.
  • Hike to a forest, field, park or beach before sunrise. Watch the world come alive as the sun rises and nature awakes.
  • Walk in the rain. You won’t melt. Enjoy the quiet.
  • Go camping solo, even for one night.
  • Paddle down a river.
  • Ride a bike somewhere and have a picnic.
  • Try out that rock-climbing gym. Take that yoga class. Try an open-mic night, whether it’s for comedy or poetry. Bomb or blow them away. It doesn’t matter.

The point is to push your boundaries and exit your comfort zone. Fit in at least one micro-adventure each month. Keep a journal filled with notes in point form: How do you feel? What’s changed? If you don’t come out of it all a different, more engaged person, it’s okay. At least you tried.


Summer 2019, Vol 11 N°3

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