Book Review: Microadventures: Local Discoveries, Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys


One of the reasons I enjoy writing about outdoor adventure and travel so much is that I hope that by sharing the stories I do, I just might inspire others to get out and pursue their own adventures in whatever form they might come. That’s why the new book Microadventures: Local Discoveries, Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys appeals to me so much.

It is a guide book for finding adventures that are close to home – sometimes literally in your backyard – so that we can all take those first fledgeling steps towards the even bigger adventures that we all dream of.

The concept of a microadventure is a simple one. As the name implies, it is a small adventure that can be done in a limited amount of time. Possibly an afternoon, or over a single night. A weekend at the longest. But, by definition, they are short, inexpensive, simple, and yet oh-so gratifying. This book gives you a multitude of suggestions on potential microadventures, while also providing all kinds of good, practical information on to actually pull them off.

The author of the book lives in the U.K., and more specifically, London. That means that many of the microadventures that he suggests are based in and around where he lives. While that does make the book slightly more applicable to those that live in London as well, it doesn’t really detract in anyway from the overall message. While Alastair makes plenty of references to things to do and see in his home city, he also makes it easy to apply his objectives to whatever location you happen to live in.

The book itself is easy and engaging to read. The chapters are short, descriptive, and written in a manner that is informative and amusing. The author shares plenty of anecdotes from his own adventures, with plenty of tips to help us follow in his footsteps. There are also more than 150 photos spread liberally across the pages as well, which further help to convey the message. I actually reviewed the digital edition on my iPad, and was delighted to find the photos not only expanded to full screen mode, some of them were actually links to full videos as well.

The concept of a “microadventure” has been something that Alastair has been championing for some time. It his his way of inspiring us all to get outside, be more active, and embrace a more adventurous lifestyle, without trying something big before we’re ready. His book gives us all the tools we need to do just that, and it will inspire you to look at the world around you in a completely new way.

That local trail you’ve been meaning to hike will suddenly become a much higher priority. That bike you have sitting in the garage will become a trusty steed to carry you to places near and far. Your backyard will become a place to sleep under the stars and soak up nature that you might not have even noticed was there before. This book can have that level of impact on you, and much more.

Of course, the author is no stranger to big adventures either. Alastair’s travels have taken him around the world on his bike, across the Sahara on foot, and over the Atlantic Ocean in a row boat. He has trekked through Iceland and Greenland, and into the vast desert known as the Empty Quarter, amongst various other things.

He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of adventure, with plenty of insights into how we can accomplish our own. But those kinds of epic trips are not for everyone, which is why the concept of microadventures is such an important one. It gives everyone the opportunity to find the right adventure for them, and to do so with as few impediments as possible.

This book is perfect for the armchair adventurer who is longing to get out of his or her comfort zone, and find an adventure of their own. It will show readers how to do just that, by taking small steps towards that goal. But more experienced adventurers will find things to like here as well.

Alastair offers all kinds of practical advice, and the book itself is a good reminder that we don’t need to fly to the far side of the globe to find an adventure, something we tend to forget about when we’re planning that next big escape.

Whether you’re new to the world of adventure, or an old vet, I think you’ll find a lot to love in this book. It makes a great gift too, and I have a feeling it will launch a lot of adventures, both micro and macro, in the years ahead.