In the age of Instagram, it’s easy to con yourself into thinking that only far-flung trips qualify as true adventures. Nonsense, we say. If you reframe how you view the 16 hours between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.—not to mention your midday lunch break—rejuvenating microadventures are always within reach. Here are a few ideas to help you break the routine of your workweek and discover a new side of your city.
Maximize your time outside of work by putting together a weeknight car-camping getaway. Keep things simple: a cooler of beverages and a one-skillet meal for the stove, but bring a telescope to watch the stars and a slackline to get your body moving. And get creative when choosing a campsite—Hipcamp is an excellent resource for finding in-town and near-town patches of land open to camping for a small fee. We found multiple privately owned farms that welcome campers within a quick train ride of Manhattan, and gorgeous glamping opportunities in the hills outside Los Angeles. If you’re lucky enough to have nearby public lands, you’ll get a primo spot, because the crowds are home watching Parks and Rec reruns.
Take a “Working” Lunch
Nineteen-year-old Brooke Raboutou, adidas Terrex athlete and one of the most promising young climbers in the country, is lucky enough to travel the globe in search of new routes. But she still relies on quick bouldering sessions outside her hometown of Boulder, Colorado, for a midweek fix. “I’m still discovering new adventures close to town,” Raboutou says. “I recently went up to Flagstaff Mountain, which is really just a foothill, and stumbled onto a really fun cave that’s perfect for quick afternoon sessions.”
Follow Raboutou’s lead by packing a sandwich and heading outside during lunch. Depending on where you live, your midday break could see you bouldering in Central Park or pedaling up canyons in Los Angeles. Most large cities were built on rivers, which means you could even rent a SUP and turn that waterway into an outdoor gym. Or check out AllTrails, which has an extensive database of mapped trails all over the U.S.—the number of opportunities to hike close to your office might surprise you. Keep a pack of Epic Wipes in your workbag; these towel-size wet wipes allow you to “shower” on the go so you’re fresh for an afternoon of productivity.
Rise and Ride (or Run)
Sleep is important, but so is adventure. Set your alarm for two hours early once a week. Get a good bike light or headlamp and knock out a short lap on your favorite in-town loop. Bonus points if you time this adventure during the full moon, which will loom large and bright in the wee hours of the morning. Pack some oatmeal and coffee in an insulated thermos and mug that won’t leak inside your backpack, and enjoy breakfast on the trail while watching the sunrise. And invite your friends—the best alarm clock is knowing you’d be letting a buddy down by snoozing.
Rethink Your Commute
The internet is filled with stories of extreme commuters—overachievers who run to work or heroes like this guy, who uses a folding boat and bike so he can paddle/ride into his New York City office. But you don’t have to get that extreme to get your blood pumping on your commute. Live too far from work to ride or walk? Drive or take the train halfway and commute by bike or foot the rest of the way. Or look into buying or renting an e-bike—the new breed of pedal-assist bikes allow you to cover more ground with less effort, while still feeling the wind in your hair and getting your body moving.