I've been meaning to start this journal for a while but after this weekend I decided - no more excuses - it was finally time. Actually, it's been a weekend of no more excuses.
Adventure is a loose word, a spirit of trying something new, trying something difficult.
Easter fell this past weekend which means two very important things: firstly, chocolate; and secondly, a four day weekend. Since I'd banned myself from chocolate and all things sugary, my main interest this year was the latter.
Desperate to make the most of the holiday and after a couple of failed attempts to make plans to go away with friends, I decided late on Thursday night that - no more excuses - I'd have an adventure all to myself.
It took me until the following morning to decide I'd join the Youth Hostel Association and book a couple of nights in the New Forest (the storms set for Sunday put me off camping) and to get there I'd cycle the 30-or-so miles. By 10:45am that same day, I'd set off.
Using the slightly longer of two options Google Maps presented to me (cycling directions have greatly improved since last time I tried) and only nearly getting flattened on a roundabout, I arrived in the beautiful village of Lyndhurst by lunchtime for a brief lunch at my new favourite café.
I had arrived at the hostel by 2pm and explored the area before heading for an early night.
I love how easy it is to meet interesting people at hostels and the next morning at breakfast was no exception. I asked to tag along with another lone traveler on a walk up to Lyndhurst. During our damp, 20-mile wander we covered the usual small talk, wildlife spotting and the obligatory mocking each other's slips, trips and sinkings (it was pretty muddy)! But she also introduced me to the concept of microadventures.
Microadventures, in the words of Alastair Humphreys, are:
adventures that are close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. A microadventure has the spirit (and therefore the benefits) of a big adventure. It’s just all condensed into a weekend away, or even a midweek escape from the office.
He explains further in his aptly named book, Microadventures. The book, though unnecessary for microadventuring, has spent recent days on my coffee table and in my work bag as inspiration. For those who don't want to shell out for the book, there's plenty of inspiration free online too - take this blog post for example, or any of Alastair's.
So, over breakfast the next morning, I ordered the book and we decided that this was my first microadventure. The first of many.
After a quick stop at a tea room in Beaulieu for lunch, cycling home in the rain and hail I realised not only had the excursion been my first trip completely alone; my first microadventure; but also one of, if not the best weekends of my life.