You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to undertake an expedition. Adventure is only a state of mind. Microadventures are simple expeditions and challenges which are close to home, affordable and easy to organise. They may be small but microadventures can still be challenging and rewarding. Each one is designed to inspire others to set their own challenges, challenges which may be short but which grasp the spirit of adventure.
Alastair Humphreys, the British adventurer & author that made the term microadventure common has this catchphrase of calling a microadventure “a 5-to-9 adventure.” A lot of people see working from 9 to 5 as an obstacle for adventure. But he promotes to look at the opportunity instead. After 5 p.m., you have 16 hours that are all yours. So you can ride your bike or take the train out of town, sleep outside somewhere and come back to work maybe a bit rumpled but feeling great.
A microadventure is an overnight outdoor adventure that is small and achievable, for normal people with real lives.Alastair Humphreys, British adventurer & author that made the term microadventure common
I was already familiar with the term ‘microadventure’ and already did a few short trips in the past that you can categorize as a microadventure, but it was Paulien from Outdoorinspiratie (Dutch website) that gave me an extra boost during COVID times to plan a new microadventure. I started following her a while ago on Instagram and subscribed to her free webinar about microadventures in which she tries to motivate her audience to plan a microadventure. She stimulates to think in possibilities instead of barriers. The motivation worked for me, the spark was lit, and two weekends later we were off for a 2-day hike in the Belgian Ardennes.
Most of our holidays involve quite some hiking. Day hikes, but we also like to tackle some challenging multi-day hikes like the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites in Italy. Why not go for a micro hiking adventure in our own country? We had no choice anyhow. There was a travel ban in Belgium, so that forced us to look for the most beautiful corners in our own little country. We found beautiful spots, and even more: we found quite some altitude meters! Belgium is a relatively flat country with the highest point peaking at just under 700m above sealevel. I looked for some hiking inspiration on blogs, and designed below itinerary on Komoot, in which we had to tackle more than 1.000 altitude meters in 2 days. Who knew Belgium had that in store?
Belgian Ardennes, a good setting for a microadventure
On Saturday morning we drove to Bouillon, where we parked the car. Hiking boots on, and off we went, with a backpack filled with camping gear. Yes, camping in March, it was a (micro)adventure after all. We chose to stay on a campsite though instead of wild camping which is not allowed in Belgium, we’re not too bold after all… Or at least not during winter. The camping part was less romantic than I had in mind. Most campsites were still closed, so the one that was open was filled with trailers & RV’s. Our stay in our little hikers tent did not pass unnoticed.
The hiking part was worth the trip though. We walked along the river and on steep trails in the forest, bringing us from one horseshoe bend to another. We included famous viewpoints like ‘Le Tombeau du Géant’, and the fun ‘Balade des échelles’ (laddertjeswandeling in Dutch). We passed scenic picnic spots. And to finish our hike, we walked along the castle of Bouillon. It was a good microadventure weekend!