Although I’ve done a lot of big trips throughout the past few years, especially when I was studying abroad in France and traveled to a dozen different countries, I’ve done a lot of the same thing in all of them. By that I mean, they were pretty much all big cities–Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Prague, Amsterdam, Rome, Lisbon, etc. and there is a kind of basic plan most people follow when they get to one of these big cities: Get a map, get a drink and then Choose Your Own Adventure–visit the famous museums, parks, monuments, mountains; drink the famous coffee, beer, liquor; taste the famous pastry, cheese, meat. I’ve gone on a lot of walking tours and I’ve seen a WHOLE LOT of cathedrals. My friends and I were study abroad students; we were broke so we ate street food and walked everywhere and booked RyanAir flights and stayed in hostels and saw Europe on a shoestring and loved every second of it. We were always squeezing trips into long weekends or short school breaks, so we never had enough time to *really* dig much deeper than the quintessential city offerings.
Now, I’ve been living in Amsterdam for 7 months. I’m saving up for 2 big trips this summer, so I’m not doing much traveling right now, but especially with spring in the air, I’ve been feeling re-energized and adventure-hungry. I love this time of year, everything seems possible again. I’m not gonna lie… I spent a lot of the past 3 or 4 months hibernating because it was cold and windy and rainy all the time and I hated biking around in it. Now it’s getting nicer again and I’m so excited.
2 weeks ago, on the first day that showed a glimmer of spring, I took a 2 hour train ride through Holland to meet some other au pairs to go ice-skating, and after a few months of being not-so-active, it kind of woke me up. Getting out and doing things feels good. Especially new things or, in the case of ice-skating, things you did one time when you were 11. It was just an afternoon trip, a small-scale adventure to another town I’d never been to, but it was enough.
So that is what I’ve begun to love lately: micro-adventures.
Of course we don’t have to fly to another country or go bungee jumping or hike a series of mountains to be adventurous. Perhaps one of my biggest adventures these days is learning how to cook over here. I don’t even have to leave my house for that, and yet, it’s a whole new, scary world full of European measurements and instructions written in Dutch, and on top of that, I can barely cook in English. This past Sunday, my micro-adventure was going indoor rock climbing for the first time at a gym 20 minutes away. Next week I’m going on an 8 hour hike through the dunes of North Amsterdam, and the week after, I’m trying bouldering for the first time. A few weeks later, I’m going to a neighboring city to go ice kart racing (YES, all Mario Kart-style.) I’ve also signed up to play dodgeball in a trampoline room, and indoor soccer in a sumo-wrestler bubble suit. BECAUSE WHY NOT?!
Life is crazy and good. And adventure is everywhere.