What is a Micro-Adventure
To adventure means to “engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.”
Let’s break that down in the context of our unschooling lifestyle.
“engage in hazardous”: We are actively reaching beyond our comfort zones.
“and exciting activity”: We are following our passions, interests, and curiosities with hands-on fun.
“especially the exploration of unknown territory”: We are boldly soaring into new experiences to learn more.
We live a lifestyle of adventure but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are a full time traveling family living abroad or millionaire frequent flyers (though if anyone would like to sponsor our dream year across Europe or RV trip across the US, we would happily accept).
It’s less about a grand event and more about weaving what I refer to as “micro-adventures” into your rhythm. Micro-adventures are free of the pressure of those grand adventures and entail less expense, time, and effort with more flexibility. In general, if we can do it in a day, I consider it a micro adventure.
How Do You Micro-Adventure?
“What do you want to experience (/learn/try/do/see)?”
That is the magical question that I sit down and ask my children, one-on-one, on a regular basis (I ask myself too!).
“I would like to try swimming in a lake.”
“I want to feel what a snake feels like.”
“Can we see where a law is made?”
“I’ve always wanted to cos play at a renaissance fair.”
“Can we swim with sharks?” (Yes, this micro-adventure has been booked in the form of a cage dive at a local aquarium.)
This question is part of our collaboration session within The Bucket System, where we extend our goals, challenges, and passions across all areas of our lives. But it can be done on its own in the context of micro-adventuring too. Through these conversations with your children (and partner), make a list and hang it up. This is your adventure list.
In addition to self-directed ideas, it’s important to tap into a source of inspiration. After all, you can’t ask for an experience you didn’t know existed. I have found great success in joining several local homeschooling and unschooling Facebook groups, where ideas for togetherness, fun, and learning are shared freely. When an idea piques your interest, simply add it to the list.
Once you have your intentions set, it’s time to research how to make them happen. A simple google search, a recommendation or reviews, and some emails, and/or a phone call are usually required to nail down the details. This is when an intention becomes concrete – once it’s in the calendar.
Our family calendar is a google calendar that syncs automatically to each child’s iPad and my husband’s phone. This is a small but important component of a micro-adventure filled life as the children can see what is coming and when.
Once we get an adventure in the calendar, we often share an invite with our HACkschool (Homeschool Adventure Club) friends. Friendship makes our adventures that much richer (ahem, that dumb homeschool socialization question) and it often allows us to tap into educational tours and group discounts.
You can always follow along with photos from our micro-adventures here on Instagram. Some of our most recent adventures have included Fall City Wallaby Ranch, Mercer Island Adventure Park (treehouse building), Mt. Rainier, Ballard Locks (salmon ladder), Seattle Center swim fountains, Steel Head Lake, Fort Casey, Pronkin Pastures Alpaca Ranch, Whidbey Island Lighthouse, basket weaving, Freemont Solstice Parade, indoor bouldering, State Capitol tour, Olympia Children’s Museum, Snoqualmie Falls, Jubilee Farm, Flaming Geyser State Park, Vashon Island, Mt. Vernon Tulip Fields, Tacoma Nature Center, Nisqually Living History, Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, West Hylebos Nature Preserve, Marymere Falls, Madison Creek Falls, Bainbridge Island, Dash Point State Park, Rainforest of the Giants . . .
It’s also important because that calendar helps us hold space for our values and priorities. Adventure is a significant piece to that but so is wide open space. There is an ebb and flow to our rhythm that includes ample down time. We hold back busyness and we hold in the free time to follow our own quiet individual pursuits. This typically looks like one big, new, social adventure day a week, followed by 2 quiet days at home to process, decompress, and focus in on quieter activities. Ukulele is played, Minecraft, Lego, and Magnatile worlds are build, and solitary relaxation is enjoyed (and Sage Parenting books and blog posts are written). After a couple of those quiet post-adventure days, it’s all about saying yes.
“Can we go roller skating/rock climbing/sea shell collecting/swimming/bike riding/to the museum?”
In addition to the regular micro-adventures, we have bigger seasonal adventures. These are the overnight trips that include the Daddy and cost a little more than our very frugal smaller scale adventuring. We recently drove to an out-of-state unschooling conference. I just finished booking our cabin at a farm stay on Orcas Island to see the whales in their natural habitat. I’m working on the details for a trip down Oregon to a treehouse “treesort.”
A life of adventure really is as wonderful and awesome (in the truest sense of those words) as you might imagine. And it isn’t beyond your reach. You don’t have to be an archeologist to gift your children a life of learning through hands-on adventure. If that’s an interest for your child, you need only reach out to an archeologist and visit a dig! This is experience-based learning at it’s finest. Micro-adventure your way into this lifestyle. You will not regret it.