I have an office job. I have a wife with a job that she loves. I have a son about to start kindergarten. I have a daughter that has more control over my heart then Cupid himself. I have an unquenchable desire to explore and be on an adventure. Where do I find a balance to fulfill all my roles and pursue my desires? Work and my career are necessary to participate in society but it also is the biggest hurdle. Modern society has put many of us in quite the predicament. Most people complain about how out of whack they feel when they get off schedule. Routine is seen as a savior and not a hinderance. At an early age we get the habit of making excuses because we do not have time. Or that we cannot do something because it does not line up with our normal routine.
The past few years there has been a huge increase of people that are quitting their 9-5, selling all their non essential belongings and hitting the road all in the name of adventure. #vanlife. They cannot handle the daily routine anymore. I understand this. I have thoughts of walking out the door of my office job and never looking back. I would love my life to be one big endless adventure. But I also want my wife and kids to be happy, have a social life, school experiences, a chance to have some roots if they want. It is hard to balance the drive for adventure and the desire to be home with my family.
A few years ago a guy named Alastair Humphreys introduced the idea of micro adventures #microadventure. Asking the question “What do you do with your 5-9?” In modern life, we are all sucked into the idea that the most important part of our day happens between 9-5. 40 hours a week we are required to be at work, school, or giving our time to someone else. That leaves 128 hours a week for us to accomplish other things in life. Yes we have to sleep, but most of us are willing to sacrifice some sleep every week to binge on a Netflix series. Yes we have to run errands, grocery shop, attend to responsibilities, But again most of this falls into the hours close to that 9-5 block. With a little planning and creativity you have a lot of hours each week to accomplish so many things. How do you break out of the mold of being a working stiff and be an adventurer while still being a working stiff?
I remember many years ago. I thought the title of “weekend warrior” was a derogatory term. I thought adventures were not meant to be confined to just weekends. I always wanted to maintain the ability to drop everything mid week and chase a dream. Limited vacation days were something so corporate! My view changed once I landed my first 9-5 job. I came to realize the value of those 2 precious days at the end of the work week and the few weeks each year. They are greater then any paycheck, bonus, stock option or 401k. They are a saving grace, a therapist, a recovery sponsor. I could not do it without them. Like a kid that has just stepped out of the candy shop with a bag full of loot, there is strategy and planning that goes into ensuring not one drop of sugar is wasted or left unappreciated. I have learned to plan and cherish every moment with my sweet time away from work. Whether that is with the family, or in the woods, or dreaming and creating schemes that I know no one will see the vision of except me. Luckily we all have the ability to find our own way to create adventure. It is quite easy for me. I live in a place where adventure is closer then my office. I do not need to load a van and drive across 6 states to get to where I want to be. I can find six lifetimes of adventures within a half days drive.
So here is my challenge to myself and anyone else that wants to join. I am going to accomplish 12 adventures before Halloween. Most will be micro. Some may be solo. A few may be total failures. Some may be with kids on my back. One will include roller blades. And all of them hopefully will be unique and inspire you to think up an adventure for yourself. I will describe the pros and cons, the cost, my expectations and my lessons learned from each one. Documenting the process on this blog each week I will prove to myself, a dad, 9-5er, weekend warrior, partial slave to the corporate world, that my adventurous spirit is alive and well and can be satisfied in-between my daily responsibilities. Join me as I help to change your definition of adventure and help to recognize the many adventures waiting right outside your door.
“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation” – Yann Martel