“A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.”
This is a quote from Alastair Humphrey, a British adventurer, author and keynote speaker, who developed the trend ‘microadventure.’ The idea of a microadventure is that it’s a movement to try to be in the moment – a form of mindfulness. A microadventure is easy, in front of our doorstep and we can do it today:
“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. The appeal of microadventures is that they make adventure accessible to people who may have very little outdoor experience.”
We all know the feeling of needing a change. The everyday routine sits above us like a dark cloud and we ask ourselves: what can we do to flee this situation? We get stuck in daily routine, with our heads full of work issues or family related things. But we don’t have to wait or prepare for the perfect moment for an adventure. We can go outside and do it today.
Yes, we know the excuses that will come up right this second: The kids are too little for adventures, we have no appropriate equipment or no annual leave days left to use. Time has always been the biggest issue in making excuses to do things. But taking a microadventure does not have to be that hard.
The most important thing is to ask: What would a microadventure be for myself? There is no general rule on what to do that can be applied to everybody. Everyone has their own comfort zone with their own microadventure ideas. There can be ‘rules’ such as taking a time span of six hours for a microadventure or using no vehicles such as cars or planes, but in general, Alastair Humphrey recommends taking a small adventure in your close surroundings that doesn’t need a lot of time or money. Simply move outside of your own comfort zone and embrace the uncertainty.
Saying this doesn’t signify that we should make a challenge out of a microadventure. There is no need to always go higher, for longer or to travel further away (especially at the moment, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in many areas). Instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others’ adventures we should see what is important to and will benefit ourselves.
A first step to a microadventure could be to spend time outside during the night. We can leave the house as soon as the sun sets and go for a walk without any explicit goal. We simply walk and decide at each corner which turn to take. Preparing a meal on the camping stove outside could be a great end to a night walk. But microadventures can be all sorts of things. We can spend a night in a hammock, drive our bicycle instead of our car to the next town or help the farmer next door. We can climb a tree, sleep in our backyard or hike up the highest hill in our town. Let us sketch our view from our balcony or make our microadventure about ‘making a difference and leaving no trace,’ by going for a walk and picking up all the rubbish we find along the way. Alastair Humphrey offers some of his ideas online or we can mind map together with our families. Keep in mind that microadventures are about ‘firsts’ and also about doing regular things differently. Let us break our routines!
Microadventures are fun when not everything is planned beforehand. Goals make us move and leave the house, but we should try and loosen them along the way and be prepared for spontaneous changes by simply embracing the way.
Adventure shouldn’t be dependent on a destination. Fleeing thousands of kilometers away by flying to the other end of the world will bring us right back to our doorstep eventually. But with microadventures we can transform our daily life in a sustainable, exciting and fun way.
Microadventures help us grow and teach us to live without constant stimulation. We can even go on our own and accept the silence on our own doorstep.
We all engaged in microadventures as children, but don’t let being an adult stop you from venturing out of your normality zone and exploring what surrounds you with fresh eyes.
The Ecotourism Australia team had its first meeting last week with the new cohort of ecotourism PhD candidates from the University of Queensland, who have now begun their studies into some of the most pressing matters facing the industry.
Four students, hailing from a diverse set of backgrounds, were offered scholarships last year following an extensive and competitive selection process. The four PhD topics were collaboratively designed by The University of Queensland Business, Economics and Law faculty staff and Ecotourism Australia, taking into account the future needs of the industry as well as current challenges. The establishment of the PhD placements and securing of scholarship funds were made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organisations at Ecotourism Australia’s Global Eco Conference in Townsville in 2018.
Regular updates about the progressing research will be provided through Ecotourism Australia’s communication channels over time. If you are interested in learning more or being involved, please contact Lina Cronin at [email protected].
Name: Csilla Demeter
Research topic: Transitioning to a Low Carbon Future
Professional/academic background: I hold a master’s degree in International Business and Economics from the University of West Hungary and a masters in Tourism, Hotel and Event Management from the University of Queensland. I held various positions in the hospitality and event industry. I worked as a casual academic tutoring across courses like Hospitality Small Business Enterprises; Tourism Policy and Planning; Managing Resources in Tourism, Hospitality and Events and Global Hospitality Operations at the University of Queensland.
Your favourite outdoor activity: ocean swimming, snorkelling
Your favourite ecotourism destination: Great Barrier Reef
Name: Ana Ximena Alvis Gonzales
Research topic: Sustainable Tourism Destinations
Professional/academic background: I’ve worked in the field of tourism for more than 10 years in 3 countries. In Bolivia, I coordinated with communities, and the public and private sectors to implement best practices in sustainable eco-tourism. In Mexico, I supported the development of cultural tourism in indigenous communities with the goal of improving rural women’s livelihoods. In the USA, I supported CREST, an international NGO focused on promoting sustainable tourism.”
My academic background both at the graduate-level and undergraduate-level complements my professional experience. I completed a master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism from the Universidad de Cooperacion (UCI) in Costa Rica. In Bolivia, I completed a bachelor’s degree with a specialization in eco-tourism, with a focus on tourism design and customer service.
Your favourite outdoor activity: Bush hiking in all the green spaces that Queensland has to offer.
Your favourite ecotourism destination: Too many to count!! But my favourite so far is Whitsunday Island, Queensland.
Name: NGUYEN, Thi Hieu
Research topic: Overtourism in National Parks
Professional/academic background: Hieu possesses a Master of Environmental Management degree from the University of Queensland in 2015 and a Bachelor of Environmental Science (the major of Human Ecology) from Vietnam National University in 2008. Hieu has led a number of research designed to conserve natural resources, assess impact of development projects and to improve livelihoods of rural people, particularly ethnic minority/Indigenous peoples and women, whose livelihoods rely on the natural resources in Vietnam. These projects have applied the views of both environmental and social sciences to align the technical, legal, policy and management factors which are needed to address social environmental issues.
Your favourite outdoor activity: bush walking and trekking
Your favourite ecotourism destination: cultural and natural heritage sites
Name: Sonya Underdahl
Research topic: Researching the social licence of conducting commercial tourism into National Parks
Professional/academic background: Ecoguide, National Parks, Environmental Sociologist, Tourism Resort Manager, and PhD Candidate.
Your favourite outdoor activity: I love swimming and snorkelling, walking through forests, eating Tim Tams with a coffee, and gardening, although the latter I am not great at!
My favourite ecotourism destination? Each has something different, something unique to offer, making a singular destination impossible to choose. However, with Covid-19 I am rediscovering the magic of the rainforest in my back yard – Springbrook National Park. It captured my heart when I was a young girl and continues to do so now.
[Header image: Port Douglas by gyuste17/Pixabay]
Caribbean Tourism Group and environemental leader pledge climate action collaboration this Earth Day
Are you spending a lot of time at home looking out of your windows, dreaming of all the places you’d rather be? Well, it’s time to make your staring count.
From now until Sunday the 19th of April, you can join people from all around Australia for the National Wild Pollinator Count – a long-term citizen science project that tracks native pollinator species around Australia. What’s required of you? Just to sit and watch any flowering plant for ten minutes and record the insects you see.
Yes, making a difference in the world can be that easy.
Photo: Uralba Eco Cottages / Facebook
The National Wild Pollinator Count is just one of many activities happening around the country as part of Citizen Science Month this April, so if counting bees and butterflies is not your thing, you’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of other opportunities to get involved, too.
And you don’t even need to break any ‘iso’ rules to contribute!
Photo: Cruise Maroochy Eco Tours / Facebook
From recording the birds you see around you (bonus points if you see any of the special April birds) to finding, recording and validating frog calls in your backyard, citizen science – or public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge – is an easy and productive way to pass some time while you’re forced to stay at home.
The best part is, your contribution could make a real difference to conservation outcomes and advances in scientific knowledge related to the environment, disease control and much more. Plus – you can get the whole family involved. Win-win!
Photo: Broger’s End Kangaroo Valley
“Citizen scientists can work from home too,” says Dr Julie Vercelloni, Research Scientist Fellow at QUT and one of the scientists behind the Virtual Reef Diver project, which brings spatial science and maths together to map the Great Barrier Reef’s coral cover and help protect the Reef for future generations.
“On Virtual Reef Diver, you can help protect the Reef by classifying underwater images. We have data that need to be analysed and transformed into valuable information to help scientists and managers monitor the Great Barrier Reef. It’s an excellent opportunity to stay connected with your passion while you are not able to travel.”
Photo: Wings Sailing Tours / Facebook
For more great citizen science projects to get involved in this month, check out the links below:
- Collect and record data that will help shape Australia’s scientific response to climate change with ClimateWatch.
- If you live along the coast and hinterlands of the south-eastern corner of Australia, you can help document the biodiversity of the region by recording what you see on Naturemapr.
- Play the Questa game – the world’s first game that allows players to help save life on earth!
- Set up a Backyard Bio Blitz to track nature in your own backyard and be part of the City Nature Challenge happening in Adelaide, Geelong, Redlands City and Sydney from 24-27 April.
Photo: Understand Down Under / Facebook
WILDLIFE IN CITIES
- Help monitor wildlife in Australia’s cities by recording what you see in the Urban Wildlife app. This information helps scientists to understand how native wildlife populations can best co-exist with humans.
- Complete quests to help Australian scientists understand how galaxies grow and evolve by joining Astroquest.
Photo: Wilpena Pound Resort
OTHER HELPFUL INFO:
Have you been involved in any citizen science projects? Let us know in the comments below!
[Cover image: Tropic Wings Cairns Tours & Wooroonooran Safaris / Facebook]