Caught in a Trap
Which resonates more with you; ‘flogging a dead horse’ or ‘carpe diem’? Do you look back on your younger years through rose-tinted glasses and sigh “Ah…I was so carefree then…I was so alive…my life stretched out before me full of the promise of adventure and excitement…I travelled…I rock-climbed…I tried underwater archery…I was bitten on the ass by a shaman…ah, look at me now….my neck imprinted with the boss’s stilettos (from pinning me to the ground daily) and I’m shackled down with a mortgage that could buy enough camels for all the camel-yearning, camel-caravaning camel-minders in the world.”
The Girl Who Gave the Trap Two Fingers
So when you pick up a magazine and read about the beautiful Sarah Marquis, National Geographic’s 2014 Adventurer of the Year nominee, who trekked through deserts and jungles, walked for three years from Siberia to Australia dragging her supply-cart after her, facing attacks and near-death experiences, hunted for her food and collected condensation to drink as water, you take your measly sigh back and let out a roar of awe. As you read her interview, you discover that she is not a spoilt, half-cracked, bored billionaire adventurer but a strong, self-aware, unassuming, intelligent woman. From a mindfulness perspective, it’s interesting how she comments that a few months into her solo walking quest, her mind stops chattering, she begins to feel completely present and in the moment and how heightened her senses become. She believes that she is a link between humans and the natural world. Call it what you will, but it sounds pretty much like the state I want to reach when I hand over half my year’s salary to a bearded man called Buzz who promises me a retreat full of polished floors, scenic views, chickpeas and enlightened states of being.
The Easiest Way to Resuscitate Your Inner Explorer
If there is even half an atom in your body that glows with admiration and applauds Sarah Marquis, there may be at least two atoms that are jealous of her carefree, windswept, liberated lifestyle. Fear not, there may be something that you can do about it that won’t involve putting the kids up on ebay or trading your house for a Harley Davidson. It’s time to look at micro-adventures!
Micro-adventures are manageable, low-cost (or free) and often local endeavours that you can undertake to give you snippets of the aliveness that Sarah Marquis describes. The internet abounds with suggestions for micro-adventures, while for those who want a bigger thrill, there are companies who will do the organising for you. The idea is to break out of your routine, stepping into an experience which often involves unplugging yourself from the couch/t.v., smartphone, internet and getting out into nature. You may pack a picnic and walk in the woods, cycle to a friend’s house instead of driving, sleep in a tent in your back garden, walk on a beach, participate in a 10km charity walk. By introducing new experiences to your current routine, you are advocating for yourself and shouting: “I was born to live, not just to exist. I am free” (at which point the wind picks up and you look a bit like Braveheart surveying yonder distant hills). So if you are feeling a little comatose and lifeless, rather than hooking yourself up to a CPR-defibrillator, take a look at micro-adventures.