As a recent émigré to New York from Sydney, Australia, I have a slightly warped perspective on urban living. Having grown up by the beach, in a “city” that you can walk from one end of to the other in about 25 minutes, getting outside was never something to aspire to, or that really took all that much effort. It was just something we did, regularly, and in healthy doses: before work, after work – and sometimes during if the boss was looking the other way.
So upon moving to New York, I fully expected that the weekend adventures that my girlfriend and I had grown so accustomed to would become a thing of the past. Those of us lucky enough to live in the Great Human Experiment that is New York City are acutely aware of the separation between urban living and nature. Indeed, many New Yorkers warned me, with great self-assuredness, that the handful of weekend trips they made during their stint in the city had been logistically challenging, expensive and thoroughly underwhelming.
Photo by microadventuresNYC
But while I empathize with their predicament, I completely disagree with their conclusion. America is a land of spectacular variety and expansive, public wilderness, the grand majority of which is accessible in an extended weekend and on a shoestring budget. There are a vast array of adventures easily accessible by car or train or a short flight that can break down the urban walls we build up around us and bring us back to nature.
When people talk about “adventures”, the mind wanders to grand coast-to-coast road trips, multi-month African safaris or antipodean backpacking odysseys. And while all of those notions are exciting in concept, they’re strikingly inaccessible to those of us juggling corporate jobs, a few gremlins at home or without two pennies to rub together.
Harriman State Park Shelter
Photo by Jerry Meagher
Fortunately, adventures don’t need to be expensive, extended or exhaustive. A Saturday tramp up a hill by moonlight in backcountry Vermont, with a sleeping bag, some dry firewood and a few mates in tow can often feel as refreshing and exhilarating as a week spent in the great mountains out west. Adventure, they say, is a state of mind.
That simple concept is the driving force behind @microadventuresNYC, a New York-based collective of itchy-footed, wander-lusting explorers and photographers dedicated to finding the adventures at our front door. Each week, we strive to post new, accessible adventures, so that city-dwellers like ourselves can be inspired to break the Monday-to-Friday monotony and get out into the great American wilderness.
Adventure is all around us, all the time. At its core are simple trips, for normal people, in spectacular places. And thanks to Hipcamp, those adventures are now waiting for you.
Photo by Benjamin Canevari
So what are you waiting for? Get out from behind that desk. Tell your boss the report can wait until Monday. And get out and explore our spectacular backyard.
For awesome, accessible adventures from New York City, check out microaventuresNYC.com, and the Hipcamps linked at the bottom of this post. Recent adventures include snow camping in Harriman State Park and oyster shucking in Greenport, Long Island. Better yet, if you have a microadventure that you’d like to share with the world, reach out to us through the website!
Tyler Drayton is one of the founders of @microadventuresNYC. When he’s not pounding pavement in New York, he’s probably out there getting lost somewhere in New England.