Living Local- Adventures
Why you should explore your backyard.
We've all heard about how buying local is better. It supports local businesses and farmers, gives you a stronger connection to the product, lowers the environmental impacts of travel and lessens contributions to unsafe and unfair work places. But what about adventuring local?
Adventuring can be defined as an unusual or exciting experience or as I like to define it, an experience with unknown outcomes. Pre-Covid I always thought of adventuring as a grand journey. Driving 5 hours to go spend a week rock climbing, planning and completing a multi-day hike, booking a plane ticket somewhere new. These were my 'standards' for adventure. That has changed. During Covid, I couldn't meet up with friends to go rock climbing, I couldn't travel or camp in national parks, so I focused on exploring my backyard and I was rewarded.
I found lots of local tracks that weaved through the bush, saw native animals usually hidden and learnt some history of my area. I found joy in going places 'just to see what's there', with no particular plan or idea of what was going to happen. One particular track I have walked 3 times and each time taken a different side track to somewhere new. They mostly only go for a hundred metres or so but its worth it to find out what might be there. Once I had done the initial exploration it meant I could take others there with the purpose of sharing my local area.
One of the things I've enjoyed exploring my backyard is that while there are a lot of nice recorded tracks, there are plenty un-mapped ones too. I'm not suggesting getting yourself lost in the bush but if you are being safe, go see where that little trail leads. It might lead nowhere, you might end up at a lookout, you might find some piece of history, the whole point is that you don't know. Our backyards can be filled with gems that we never see because we are focused on the giant chunks of rock further afield.
Adventuring doesn't have to be big. Any excursion no matter how small can be an adventure because let's be honest, you really can't 100% know the outcomes of any excursion. On a walk you've been on a hundred times, you might see a new bird, you might meet someone new, there is no guaranteed outcome. But pushing a little further than that, just because something isn't big doesn't mean its not worth exploring. A trail might only go for 2 kilometres so you've never bothered to check it out, but it is something new and you don't know exactly what the track looks like.
Another benefit to exploring locally is it required less effort and therefore less motivation. Rather than having to pack gear, take transport, coordinate with friends you simply say 'I'm going for a wander' and see what happens. Opening yourself up to possibilities. The more you explore, the more interesting things you'll find. Maybe they aren't recorded in guide books or on websites because they aren't that popular, doesn't mean you can't make your own personal adventure.
Adventures are also made with stories, and they don't always have to be yours. Research your local history and find a place to visit. Then, dig as far as you can to find a story. It might be how something was made, where it came from, a story about the people who lived there. Find old maps and photographs and if you can't find anything else, make up your own.
Adventures don't have to be big, they don't have to be far away and they don't have to be off limits or inaccessible to anyone. An adventure is what you make of it.