After a year living on the road and traveling to some of the most coveted outdoor destinations in America, I was terrified that settling down and “staying in place” would ruin my sense of adventure. Suddenly, I went from wide open spaces to the confines of city limits – and yet I quickly learned that it’s easy to find adventure close to home.
Whether you have all day on a weekend, or just a few hours during a lunch break, those who truly seek adventure can find it anywhere. To prove this point, I went out in Tallahassee and found fresh air, a scenic lake, a great 40-minute walk for my pup, and heaps of sunshine – all less than a mile away from the errands I was running on a busy day.
The easiest place to find adventure close to home is a local park. My little excursion brought me to Tom Brown Park, one of Tallahassee’s finest public spaces complete with mountain biking, a dog park, disc golf, and more. You could easily spend the entire day at Tom Brown Park, but since I was seeking just a quick moment of adventure to balance out my hectic day, I simply chose to wander along the trail around Lake Leon.
The trail itself is mostly paved, with a long boardwalk portion that takes you over the lake and along marshy wetlands full of lily pads and turtles sunning themselves on half-submerged logs. Amble got quite a kick out of peering over the boardwalk to look down at the water, and it was a great place to practice her “heel” command.
Even though the path is less than a half-mile long, strolling along it for a quick lap offered the perfect little escape from being indoors and scurrying around town. I think adventurers spend too much time focusing on big trips, and not enough time slowing down to enjoy the little, simpler moments of getting outside that can add a literal and figurative breath of fresh air into any day.
After soaking up a little sunshine, watching a turtle warm itself on a log, and meeting a few new dog friends, my mini adventure came to an end and I returned to the hustle and bustle of life in a city. The entire excursion lasted all of 40-minutes (an amount of time that anyone can spare in a day!), but it provided exactly the break I needed to remind myself that I am an adventurer, and being outdoors is where I find my happiness.
Want to find local adventures in YOUR backyard? Here are a few tips:
– Recruit friends or co-workers to get outdoors with you on lunch breaks, after work, or on a sunny weekend. Once you expose your cohorts to how refreshing it is to get outside, create accountability and make it a reoccurring activity to keep getting outdoors on a regular basis.
– Combine your mini adventures with an activity: pick up disc golf, join a weekly dog park meet-up, start trail running, or bring your lunch outside on a picnic.
– Do a little online digging and find the best parks in your neighborhood. I love using Yelp to find favorite local spaces. Better yet, ask fellow locals for their recommendations – they may even join you on your next outing!