The Tiny Adventures Project
As 2020 begins, the start of not just a year but also a new decade, I am about to embark on a series of tiny adventures. Would you like to come with me? I’d love it if you did. It is for everyone. Make some #2020TinyAdventureGoals with me.
“But I’m not adventurous!”
A tiny adventure may be tiny, BUT can still be risky, out of the ordinary, exciting and exhilarating, unique, frightening, include failure and be life changing. I propose that adventure is relative. What presents no challenge for one may overwhelm another. For me, the only thing that is tiny, in a tiny adventure, are the resources required to take part or that the distances required to travel are tiny, it never suggests that its importance or outcomes are tiny, in fact the opposite is true. You can be a master of tiny adventures, wherever you are.
Does “tiny” mean it’s somehow not as good as the big version?
Many great things are tiny and in their raw immediate state are somehow often better than their over produced, over planned larger counterparts. The tiny pocket sketchbooks of the Romantic Artist, John Constable, for example, demonstrate an immediacy, a freedom and loosness not found in his often-overworked six footer, oil paintings. In fact the term Constable snow, refers to the addition of white dots added to the oil landscapes in order to liven the work up again and bring back freshness.
The Tiny Desk concerts are an example of how something almost ridiculously small can have a character and mood not achievable in a much larger event. The musicians, forced by a tiny space to reduce their kit and production, make the most vibrant, raw music. Certainly, some of my favourite artists have been discovered by experiencing their guts and passion in this tiny concert environment.
Sometimes, fantastic small things can appear to be an oxymoron like the lifestyle choices of blogger Britt in her “tiny ambitions” work. She describes her work as being tiny “because life doesn’t need to be lived big”. Committed to a minimalist lifestyle and not buying much, Britt demonstrates through living that tiny can also be also big, in terms of benefits and impact. The same goes for tiny adventures, they do not have to be big budget, big planning, big skills based, for only big established explorers and adventurers.
Is adventure just for the wealthy or privileged?
I love the idea of adventure and have an adventurous and curious spirit. Life has at times shown me that adventure is what you make it and that not everyone is in the privileged position to undertake adventure in the way that they dream about. Sometimes our adventures through certain circumstances can only come through our creativity and what we read, listen to or even watch. Adventure needs to have a broad definition so that, no matter who we are, what we have, who we have responsibilities for, what our background is, what experience we have, or our level of fitness, levels of confidence, we all feel that adventure is something we can have if we want it.
Certainly, in the work I do, in my outdoor practice and research, I know that the cheapest of all adventures, camping for example is still unachievable for many. Austerity means that more and more people do not have the basics they need for living. Many will not have adequate coats or footwear and food may also be a struggle. To talk about cheap adventure as camping for example would still exclude many without tents, sleeping bags the spare cash for a camp site or the transport to get them there. We will then, be looking further than just the obvious and see if we can carve out tiny adventures for those living with very limited resources, not just those who may take fewer trips abroad this year or those who decide to holiday in the u.k. but also those who may adventure with just a cup of tea, a packet of crisps and a new walk with a mate, near to where they live.
I am a single mum of three kids so my experiences will most often also be theirs. Another barrier to adventure, even teeny tiny adventures can be the responsibility for the care of others. Babies, children or family members that need your care, either mean that you must take them with you on your adventures or that your adventures may be snatched in limited windows of time. My adventures have always been and still are within the realm of what my family and our best dog friend, Moss, can also take part in.
For reasons of income, confidence, physical ability, responsibilities for care, health and geography it is 100% vital that the idea of a tiny adventure is not a negative, diminutive one. It is not less than other global or more high profile adventures. A tiny adventure is still adventure. The tiny adventure should match the needs of the adventurer, no matter who they are.
What’s the point?
This year I begin A PhD exploring how those with an economic disadvantage already make and have adventure and what models or resources can be created to help everyone experience more adventure. A PhD is an adventure for me. I totally take the first step into the unknown here!
Full time study and single parent-hood means that finances will be stretched for my family. In this scenario I feel I need ways to ensure I can keep the spirit of adventure in my life for free or very low cost. I am fortunate, my work means that I already have access to lots of useful kit and equipment that will help me to have tiny adventures but I will also be looking for adventure without specialised kit. I will be having tiny adventures for academic curiosity and research but also for my day to day life, my health, creativity, my mood and my relationships.
To keep my motivation up and record my journey I am going to write and document my experiences. There will be no separate space for these, all will be titled The Tiny Adventures Project or #TinyAdventuresProject #TinyAdventureGoals and shared in all of the usual places. Like many adventures, my tiny adventures project can be planned to a point and then so much of it is unknown. It will be a journey with an unknown destination, I will be making the map not following one, but I hope to meet, read and write about many people who will act as expedition guides.
Please join me on this first year of tiny adventures. Please tell me what you get up to, what kit you needed if any, where you went and how it impacted you. I am mostly interested in those tiny adventures that were free or low cost, those that you walked to from where you live, or those that you undertook in a day, over night or even in a couple of hours. Tell me if some simple kit or basic knowledge would have made all of the difference, tell me what you loved and tell me what was scary.
I am starting my #2020TinyAdventureGoals with:
A night sleeping under the stars at least once per month
A night walk on every full moon
A quiet, listening walk on every new moon (suggested by my friend Carol)
Regular sky eyes time- cloud watching, looking through trees to the sky, sketching
Some wild swimming (I am much more turf than surf so this is going to be a proper challenge!)
Getting to know tiny things-exploring, looking closer and more carefully at tiny things in nature and finding out more about them.
Make or take a meal outdoors at least once per week.
There will be more ideas I'm sure. Watch this space, get in touch, follow me and my tiny adventures or tell me about yours.