Microadventurer Kam of Campfire Chic

Alastair Humphreys is the dude behind the idea of a microadventure. He describes microadventures as your 5-to-9 life…the time between getting off of work in the evening and heading back in the morning…it’s 16 hours of freedom waiting to be used. It’s the “reset button for busy lives.” Microadventures “are are adventures that are close to home, cheap, simple and short.” He has a whole book on Microadventures* that I haven’t read yet, but will get around to browsing soon enough.

Amy mentioned Alastair’s site to me and the term microadventure earlier this year and I was hooked. I mean, that’s what I do.

I am stretching this idea of the microadventure to include my weekends. Alastair would understand.

It’s getting out of work on Fridays and heading straight to the beach for a few hours of stand up paddleboarding. It’s spending an entire day driving and walking around Los Angeles visiting museums, eating the hottest things on Yelp, and taking photos. It’s going on a sunset hike to avoid the heat at home. It’s embracing the once-dreaded time change this winter…because I know that means night hikes and bonfires.

I follow plenty of adventure, outdoor, and travel bloggers and I hesitate to write the word adventure anymore because I’m not exactly through-hiking the John Muir Trail, climbing in various locations across the world, or spending extended periods of time living out of the United States. I’m hanging out close to home and trying new things as I come across them.

What I’m doing is microadventuring. 

Alastair has a ton of resources on his site including how to plan your microadventure (which is actually a ton of individual posts) and ideas for simple microadventures like commuting to and from work a different way. There are some things on his site that remind me that not everybody is going to be within reasonable driving distance to someplace where they can camp overnight and then head back to work the next day, so I’m taking things in stride and making these microadventures my own.

My plan:

  • Keep a microadventure kit in my car for an easy transition between getting off of work and starting my evening. I’m thinking it will be much simpler but should include a headlamp, water bottle, first aid kit, spare clothes, extra socks. I don’t need this to be a full bugout bag, but something close to it and flexible for the “seasons”. I say “seasons” because this is Southern California and I have no idea what an actual season is like.
  • Involve my friends. Sure we’ll get together for dinner on a whim, but what about a night hike? What about going to the grunion run? Or going on a night paddleboarding tour?
  • Keep trying new things. Because that’s the other thing I do. I like to try new things, experience being a beginner, and sharing what I learn.

What do you think? Are you up for some microadventures?

 

*That right there is an Amazon affiliate link. I’ll get a small portion of the sales made through the link (of anything in your cart) which will then support Campfire Chic and upcoming microadventures. 

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in Adventure

Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web

I had an awesome (awesome awesome awesome) chat with Katie of The Small Change Project last Friday. My last chat with her was in November 2013 as part of the Network of Nice on YesandYes.org (check out the most recent Network of Nice here) where Katie was offering free coffee talk sessions to the first few people who contacted her. I was super nervous before our first chat but once we got into the groove of things and I let down my guard a bit, it was incredible. Fast forward 11 months and I was nervous all over again as I set up my iPad and handy yellow legal pad for my second chat with Katie. A lot has changed in the last (almost) year and I tried to talk myself into not gushing about how my first meeting with Katie helped guide Campfire Chic and how I crossed a ton of things off of my list that we discussed (but I secretly thought was nearly impossible to do).

I’m going to be spending the rest of this year really focusing on small changes that (hopefully) have big results…ones that will help me get over some growing pains and ultimately (and most importantly) benefit Campfire Chic readers. Most of these changes are behind-the-scenes, so don’t worry about me changing things up all of a sudden (don’t expect any recipes, no fashion-blogger-inspired-pigeon-toed photos, or babies), all the changes will be for the best.

If you feel like you need to chat with somebody (who isn’t your mom!) to get unstuck with something, I suggest scheduling some time with Katie. We talked about business, confidence, Imposter Syndrome, routines, and more during my two meetings with her. She’s super easy to talk to and it’s nice to talk to somebody who isn’t expecting my usual excuses and will call me on my bullshit.

But enough about me…

This Week’s Essential Reading:

 

 

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in Essential Reading

LA Tour - Say Cheese Street Art

Last week I shared a little about the self-prescribed Los Angeles Food Tour we took. While I would love to pretend that we were able to eat non-stop for 13 hours, our double-date involved a fair amount of non-food exploring and a handful of photos to document our micro-adventure.

Between eating at Blu Jam Cafe, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and drinks at the Upstairs Bar, we planned some stops that would allow us to digest our meals and catch some air conditioning. It was a very warm weekend so anywhere with free parking and air conditioning was high on our list!

The non-food places we visited:

  • LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Eighty-Two
  • Shops in the Artists’ District
  • Pershing Square
  • Angels Flight
  • Los Angeles Public Library

LA Tour - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

LA Tour - LACMA Metropolis Exhibit

LA Tour Downtown Los Angeles

 

We went through several great exhibits at LACMA including Breathing Light (such a trip if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into), Levitated Mass (that giant rock I’m “holding” in the photo above), and Metropolis II (such a cool exhibit, the people-watching alone is worth sticking around). We didn’t spend much time in other exhibits, but we did take a quick ride in a giant elevator…which sounds super dumb, but it’s a thing…and the chairs in the outdoor patio area inspired the color palette for a future quilt!

We spent a fair amount of time in the Artists’ District (where Salt and Straw, Blacktop Coffee, Wurstküche, and The Pie Hole are located) including Eighty-Two which is a barcade. Alex and I love Ground Kontrol in Portland and all other barcades are held up to it so we weren’t blown away by Eighty-Two. I assume the club scene on weekend nights is what draws people in. 

In order to work up an appetite before dinner, we walked around Downtown to find some locations from 500 Days of Summer including the park bench Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character) sits to look out at the skyline. The area is kind of blocked off while Angels Flight is on hiatus but we were able to see the short railway that normally carries folks up Bunker Hill. We also did a quick tour through the Central Library location of the LA Public Library system to see some of the art, the card catalog-covered interiors of the elevators, and the gorgeous dome and old card catalog area outside of the Teen Library section of the library.

We are brainstorming ideas for our next tour through Los Angeles and Hollywood, so if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know.

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in Adventure, California, Weekend

Sport Chalet Expert Ambassador Kam Altar of Campfire Chic

Fun Fact: I grew up going to the original Sport Chalet in La Cañada, California. As a kid, I would go with my dad to get my fishing permit and stock up my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tackle box with Power Bait before heading up to Mammoth for family vacations every year. During high school, the store was an unofficial turnaround spot for long runs during cross-country season. As soon as I started driving, my dad slapped a “I’d rather be running” license plate frame to my car.

I grew up with Sport Chalet. 

You can image my “this must be a scam” reaction when I was emailed by Sport Chalet to let me know that I was selected to be an Expert Ambassador for the company and invited to join their community.

I quickly wrote back to explain that I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in anything other than being a beginner. 

But they insisted, so here I am. Sport Chalet launched a brand new site and introduced communities — I’m in the Outdoors Community but there are others including Running, Fitness, Cycling, and SCUBA. If you follow other outdoors blogs, you’ll probably recognize a few familiar faces if you browse through the Explore Your Community page. Things are just starting to ramp up, but expect more resources and information shared through those communities and by the Expert Ambassadors.

You’ll see me Tweeting, Instagramming, and Pinning using the #WildernessWanderer hashtag, which is part of the Outdoors Community. Feel free to use the hashtag, too, if you’d like to get your photos featured on Sport Chalet’s Instagram account.

One of the benefits to joining the Outdoors Community is that I get to help two Campfire Chic readers gear up for Fall activities with a giveaway.

One reader will win a $100 gift card and a second reader will win $50 gift card to Sport Chalet.

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BONUS from Sport Chalet: Adventure of a Lifetime Sweepstakes // Trek New Zealand!

This giveaway is hosted by Sport Chalet and I am able to share this giveaway with Campfire Chic readers through this new partnership. Opinions about Sport Chalet are my own. 

 

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in Active, Giveaway

Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web

 

30 Days of Lists is my life right now. And so is paddleboarding/kayaking. And carbs…but carbs are kind of always my life.

Some things coming up: Project Life® posts — I finally put in a giant order of photos and I’m ready to roll! Mini-albums. Personal posts — like things that I’m making and our micro-adventures. More books to feed your wanderlust…and probably a few jokes about Dungeons & Dragons as I get started on two different campaigns (one of which I will be DMing, so there’s that).

 

  • If you’re looking for cute and inexpensive workout clothes that also flatter your body, check out Fabletics. I have a TON of their clothes, so feel free to ask questions about specific pieces…if I don’t own it, I’ll find somebody who does and get you an answer. I’m also an ambassador for Fabletics, so I’ll get credit (for more clothes and bragging rights) if you use that link to sign up for the site.
  • I’m Pinning everything mini-album related lately and this post and this post are just fueling this strange fire
  • Each year I get behind on Project Life and my biggest challenge seems to be printing photos — it may be time to order a photo printer. Kelly Purkey’s recent travel album post has me convinced that the SELPHY may be the best option for me (no space, easy to use)
  • It is this kind of post that has me making huge messes in the living room lately
  • Heather shared some backpacking tips for beginners
  • If you’re thinking of trying canyoneering for the first time, read up on these 10 tips 
  • It’s a bit of a read, but Neil Patel (so you know it’s a good read) wrote a blog post for Buffer on how to safe time each week on social media
  • 24 packing tips — because I have cabin fever and need to book a trip ASAP

What I’m reading:

I’m slowly making my way through Four Boots, One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness, and Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail by Jeff Altwhich was sent to me for review in July. The book follows a newly married couple as they make their way along the 218-mile John Muir Trail in California. The trail goes through three national parks and includes Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. Jeff thinks the hike will do Beth some good following the tragic passing of her brother. Beth is the hot shower and warm bed kind of gal so taking her out for a big backpacking trip with mountain lions and food shortages is a little out of her comfort zone.

I emailed the author’s wife, Beth, to see what she thought of the idea of hiking the JMT and she responded,

Jeff showed me brilliant pictures of the Sierra lakes and the mountain views.  He knew how much I love water and beaches. He carefully left out the word “glacial” though. He knew I didn’t like the cold. He also said there would be a resort half-way. What he didn’t fully explain to me was that to qualify as a resort in the backcountry simply requires cold beer, hot food, and a shower. There were no massages or chocolates on the pillows. The rooms were rundown, the mattress was as if a boulder dropped off the cliff and landed on the bed leaving a pit in the center of the mattress for us to roll in. But, the staff was great, the food was good, and the beer was cold and we had the option of sleeping in our tent if we didn’t like the rooms. It all worked out (Ha ha).”

When asked what she brought with her on the trail to stay comfortable, she let me know that travel wipes, hand sanitizer, and plenty of toilet paper are essential to comfort.Beth also recommends that adventurers find a comfortable backpack, synthetic undies (the unsung hero of all outdoor adventures!), lightweight boots and wool socks.

I think my favorite part of our chat was about the memory-keeping aspect of Beth’s journey:

“Journaling gave me emotional comfort. Walking in the mountains surrounded by raw beauty combined with the euphoric state from the workout conjures up inspiring thoughts to savor by writing them down.”

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and learning more about the John Muir Trail…who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to look into getting permits for next summer!

I was contacted by the author’s publicist to do a review of the book. I received a digital copy of the book and requested a short interview to share with Campfire Chic readers. All opinions are my own.

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in Essential Reading, Review