ethanessig Jan/ 18/ 2018 | 2
2017 started with a list of goals. One of those goals and the loftiest was to travel somewhere outside of Kansas City every month of the year. When I set this purpose, I probably had half of the trips already planned out, so I would just have to fill in the gaps with micro-trips (2-3 days). I picked places close to me and made it happen. As I write this, I am sitting on the plane back to Kansas City from my December trip. It feels good.
In this blog, I am going to go through what traveling principals and tools that helped me accomplish this goal, and what I ultimately got from traveling every month of the year.
Disclaimer: This is geared towards the adventure traveler, but some principals apply to all micro-trips.
Ethan’s Micro-Trip Toolkit:
1. Keep it Close- Maximization of the experience is always the top priority, so that means the most time you can spare at your destination. This principle leads to several types of trips. Long weekends in the State Parks of Missouri, or a quick flight to Denver to make my way to Estes Park. I also expanded to Minnesota state parks that are a quick four-hour drive away. Remember, stress is not the desired experience, so get there quick and early.
2. Take a Night Drive- This is something I have done since my first trip to Yellowstone, and I love it. Lose some sleep, miss the traffic, and gain a full day at your destination. It goes along with the top section. I can leave work at 5 pm, get the car ready, and make it to the Badlands of South Dakota by morning. To some, this may not be worth it but adds to the adventure. At least drive halfway through the night and get a motel.
3. Go Alone and be okay with it- The most prominent hold back for travel ambition is wanting to count on a companion to always join. If you have to have someone go, then you won’t make it out very often. Remember, this is all for you, so only count on yourself.
4. A Plan that includes Flexibility- I apologize that this seems counterintuitive, but it merely means this; Know what you want to accomplish (specific summit, monument, trail, etc.), but don’t have that event consume all available time. The stress of focusing on it will overwhelm the trip.
5. Pack Smart, NOT Light- It is relevant to save weight, but it is more important to have everything you need. I have frequently been mocked for the amount of gear I bring the last two years, but who always comes through in the clutch? Yes, it is me.
The above toolkit may not be shocking to you, and pretty straightforward. That is good and makes me happy. Now you know the real magic to traveling as much as you want it just doing it.
I do want to highlight again, MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME. Go for the earlier flight, lose the sleep, and drive through the night. Find your way to experience your destination for the full 48-72 hours.
What did this teach me in 2017?
Successes and failures should be reflected upon. I set six goals for 2017 and accomplished one, and it was the one above. The simple answer would be that it is the only one I thought about. Maybe I should only set one in 2018! This just highlights what we can accomplish with focus.
The places I visited for 2-3 days at a time also influenced me a great deal.
1. Colorado- This state seems to be my second home. I’ve traveled there almost 20 times in the last two years. I made several trips out to see my friend and climb mountains. There were challenges on each journey. Infection when I visited Estes with Elisa. A storm was almost ending my friends and me on Blanca. Giving my a renewed view of the quickness of life. Most recently, a fun Friday night with Elisa and our friends, followed by a track through freshly fallen snow at 12,000 feet. All done in 72 hours.
2. Minnesota- Noah and I spent a night at Big Island State Park. Drinking whiskey and making steak. Reflecting on life, and appreciating this new wilderness only a few hours from home. It isn’t all about the big name destination.
3. Missouri- I visited a few new places in Missouri. One of them was Crowder State Park. When Elisa, Arlo, and I got deep into the forest, I had to ask myself “How have I been missing this the whole time?” There are beauty and peace everywhere.
There were several other new and old micro-trips that I took. The big lesson of all of these trips is, not much effort or time is required to break out and experience something.
2017 embodied what Humble Adventures is. Experiencing the world around you, regardless of what you do during the day.
I did my best to break the mold I often hear from my peers when it comes to travel. I figured out my system to maximize my time, and you will have to do the same for yourself. I hope the toolkit above is helpful.
I wish all of you a happy 2018