Two weeks ago, Charlotte and I decided to go camping. We live in the most beautiful state on the planet yet had all of this lightly-used camping gear. So, we packed everything into the car and drove into the mountains ready to explore the wilderness.
Things didn’t go exactly according to plan.
The campsite we were planning on staying at hadn’t opened yet for the season. With a very weak cellular signal, we were forced to call local park rangers asking for open campsites.
Once we found a campsite and setup camp, we were given a few hours of enjoyment before rain clouds covered the sky.
Our tent was just big enough for Charlotte and I, but our dog just couldn’t resist joining in on the fun. Instead of sleeping in the rain fly, he curled up at the top of the tent sleeping with his paws pushing against my face and chest.
While the execution could’ve been better, we still had a blast.
Last weekend, I gave a talk on creativity at WordCamp Denver. One of my major points was that we spend too much time living inside of a box. Remember in school when everyone told you to think outside of the box, but you had no idea what that actually meant? Living outside of the box has a similar application but more tangible action steps.
Living outside of the box means pushing ourselves outside of our ordinary rut. It involves opening ourselves up to new experiences, eating at different restaurants, and talking to different people. It opens our minds to different methods of problem solving and creative thinking.
Living outside of the box sounds great in theory but difficult in practice. Traveling is expensive. Taking time off isn’t always possible. And, there are always a dozen or so other obstacles blocking the way.
A few months ago, I stumbled across the work of Alastair Humphreys. He has built up this entire concept of easily digestible adventures, aptly called microadventures. His idea is simple: Adventure is a state of mind not some elaborate year-long expedition.
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.
If that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Adventure is accessible to normal people, in normal places, in short segments of time and without having to spend much money.
Lately, I’ve been trying my best to put this into practice. For Charlotte’s birthday, we spent the night in a hotel downtown and wandered around the city until early in the morning, an activity usually cut short by the return trip home. A week later, we had our camping adventure. This weekend, we’re planning a hiking excursion to Estes Park and some standup paddle-boarding in the lake.
During my WordCamp Denver presentation, I provided examples of how Pixar encourages their movie directors to explore the surroundings they’re trying to create for viewers like visiting French kitchens in preparation for Ratatouille. But, the point wasn’t that you need to go to France. In fact, you don’t need to leave your city or state. Adventures are everywhere around us. We just have to open our eyes and our minds.
Let’s start living outside of the box and have some more microadventures. Life is far too short.