In his best-selling book, Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes, the British author and adventurer Alastair Humphreys describes adventure as, “A state of mind, a spirit of trying something new and leaving your comfort zone. Adventure is stretching yourself mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing something you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. You do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure.”
My wife, Kelly, drives away down the dirt road that winds along the wooded slopes of Mount Hood. When the taillights disappear, I’m left in the dark — just me, a sleeping bag, pad, a small bag of kit and my handcycle. My tent and wheelchair I’ve left at home, some 50 miles away. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent a night under open skies, and longer still since I’d been so far away from my wheelchair.
The thought makes me a little nervous. But the air is fresh, the night silent save for the faint rustling of branches in the breeze, and directly in front of me, the moon peeks through the forest canopy. I click on my headlamp, crack a can of wine — yes, in Oregon at least, this is a thing — and open up my book, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Who cares if I don’t have a wheelchair? This is my happy place.
My life, pre and post-disability, has not been short on adventuring. I like testing my limits, being outside and trying to get from point A to B under my own power. And even though the word may conjure thoughts of large expeditions and far off lands, adventure, at its essence, is far simpler than that.
A microadventure can be as simple as taking your morning coffee to a nearby green space.
Image credit: Photo by Author