Lauren Rains is the editor at large of Outdoor Minded Mag, one of Nerve Rush’s favorite websites. Lauren is struck by wanderlust and spends most waking hours of her life either 1) exploring the outdoors around the globe or 2) working on various passion projects, be it film, to microadventures, to cooking chili. You can read about her adventures in life, business and travel on her blog, The Mad to Live. You can also catch up with her on Twitter at @LaurRAINS.
Lauren took the time to chat with Nerve Rush about a recent microadventure that she completed. Lauren, take it away!
1. What is a microadventure? What is microadventuring?
A microadventure is basically a 12-48 hour (sometimes more) mini-expedition done through human-powered transportation (walk, bike, paddle, run, etc) that challenges you both mentally and physically, can be done in your own local backyard, and is one hell of a good time.
You see, I’m a traveler at heart. Wanderlust bit me in the butt when I was an awkward teenage girl, and while I’ve replaced awkwardness with sexiness ;-), the travel bug is still with me and going strong. I’ve lived all over from China to Argentina to France, so when I’m in the US, microadventuring is my way of traveling when I’m not technically traveling. It combines my love for travel and exploring, with my love for outdoor adventure and challenge.
While I typically look at microadventures as backyard adventure challenges to satisfy my wanderlust while I’m not traveling, this coming fall I will be embarking on my next world travel excursion and beginning my international microadventure series. After completing the Camino de Santiago (a 2 month walking pilgrimage across Spain) in August and September, I’ll be traveling to complete microadventurse around the world, including walking across Ireland by foot, kayaking the isles of Scotland, and then heading over to South East Asia to do things like SUP the western coastline of Thailand.
2. Deconstructing your most recent skating microadventure, tell us more about:
The plan was to start at sunrise and get there before nightfall. It would be an entirely self-supported trip, and upon reaching my final destination in downtown Denver, I’d hop on the bus and head straight back to my apartment in Boulder where I’d pass out immediately.
Everything went according to plan except that by the time night fell, I still had 5 miles to go, and I forgot to bring a headlamp with me, making skating through the pot-holed filled streets of Denver quite an interesting challenge.
Below you’ll see a map of the route I took, which I found through a bike forum online where people were discussing the best way to bike from Boulder to Denver.
While I love wearing top technology clothing, I decided to wear my “everyday” clothes on this trek:
Jeans, a loose tank top, an open button-down plaid shirt for the warmer part of the day, and my Patagonia goose down jacket I can’t live without for the morning and evening.
One of the great aspects of micro-adventuring is you don’t necessarily need all of the best, most expensive gear out there. I will say, however if I had chosen to do this over the summer, I would have sported a wicking base layer as wearing cotton will just slow you down and get heavy once you begin to sweat.
BOARD: I used a longboard from OZ Boards for this trek as my sponsor. I chose to seek out OZ as a sponsor because:
- They are a Colorado-based company, and being that this is where I now reside, I felt proud to be supporting a local business doing great things in my own backyard.
- They handcraft their boards with sustainable woods and use processes to make them – no bulk decks coming from China – this was made with 2 hands by a longboarder who loves what they do.
- They’re a small business run by entrepreneurs with passion. I fit right into this category with my own endeavors and love supporting those who are on a similar mission.
Wheels – Abec 11 Flashback wheels | Bearings – ABEC 7 | Board Length – 40” | trucks – Randall R-11 180mm
BACKPACK: I take my Kelty daypack with me wherever i go. It’s been with me on all my microadventures from the “50-Mile Walk Along the Atlantic” to “2 Days of Trekking the Himalayas.”
ACCESSORIES: I rocked a Solepack, which is a backpack accessory, that clips around either side of the bag and holds another pair of shoes. While this is perfect if you’re hiking to a rock climbing destination and need both pairs of shoes, I used this to hold some flip flops I could rock after reaching my destination 12 hours later, knowing my feet would be a bit tired of my shoes.
WATER: The Camel Pak is likely the greatest thing since sliced bread. When the sun is beating down and you don’t have the time or energy to stop and go, stop and go just to take a swig from your water bottle, the Camel Pak solves all of those problems.
d) Food & Energy
Water and Cliff Bars (white chocolate macadamia nut to be exact) throughout the day. I took a break around 3PM just outside of Denver to snack on an Italian sub. Upon reaching Denver, I went and got myself a hot chocolate and took it all in.
e) Physical Training
The most important part of training for this trip is to learn how to push with both feet. This is absolutely essential. Could you imagine skateboarding for 12 hours straight pushing on the same leg over and over and over again? Your leg would fall off after first turning to jelly.
Other than that, just be in decent shape. I rock climb a few days a week after work, so I’m constantly keeping my body in check. As long as you aren’t a couch potato, it doesn’t take a lot of training to be able to accomplish t his type of trek.
3. You told me you had a mentor. Tell us about him/her.
When it comes to adventuring, the mentor I who has inspired me the most is Alastair Humphreys. He’s the one who turned me onto the idea of microadventures, being that he was nominated as a 2012 Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic for a project he did called “A Year of Microadventures”. My goal is to become the twenty-something, American female version of him – same amount of badass, just I don’t have a beard to freeze to grow icicles on!
Al Humphreys is a jack-of-all-trades adventurer: telling his stories with beautiful writing and videos with amazing cinamaphotography and photography. He speaks about his experiences to live audiences, self publishes books, has a popular blog – I admire his success, his commitment, and his dedication to quality on all fronts.
4.) One of your upcoming spring microadventures is TAHOE CROSSING: A SUP Across Lake Tahoe at its Widest Point of 22 Miles. Tell us a bit about this.
This idea was inspired by another one of my mentors, Jenny Kalmbach, a professional SUP who is not just an amazing athlete, but an amazing woman. She’s been nominated and has won the Female Paddlers of the year in the SUP awards, and once did a SUP journey called Destination: 3 Degrees in which she and fellow pro SUP Morgan Hoesterey, crossed the channels in Hawaii to bring awareness to plastic contamination in the ocean. In fact, she did a piece on the online magazine I run, Outdoor Minded Mag, for our Outdoor Hours series about the part of the trip they paddled over 80 miles through the night to cross one of the channels.
The Logistics: I’ll be SUPing across Lake Tahoe in an expected 12 hours. This trip will be supported in that I’ll have a kayak with me there to film and photograph the adventure, as well as to help me navigate the boats as well as keep a cooler full of a few cold brews and a burrito.
I look forward to seeing if this will kick my ass more than skateboarding 30 miles in 12 hours from Boulder to Denver!
Where did you go on that first trek?
I titled the first trek “From Sea to Marsh”. I started at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and didn’t stop until I hit the Saint John’s River 30 miles due west from the coastline. It was an extremely tough skate trek being that Florida is the flattest state in the US. There were no hills to glide down – it was one push after the next – through the morning, afternoon, and night. It kicked my ass, and I loved every moment of that day!
How big a challenge was it?
A big one!!! It was actually more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Sure, my legs felt like jelly by the end of it, but what was tough was going 12 hours on a solo mission skate trek. I remember at around 3 PM the sun was beating down, I was tired, I was hungry, and I knew I still had 15 miles to go. I wanted to turn back, and the only one there to tell me to keep going was myself.
I think moments like those are very important though – when you face a challenge and you and you alone must get yourself through it. It builds our life muscle.
What impact has skating had on your life muscle?
Skating has taught me how to enjoy the process of getting from A to B. And I don’t just mean this in terms of 2 cities, but in terms of going after the things that I want most in my life. Sometimes, we get so focused on our final destination and outcome, that we forget to enjoy the ride, and to focus on the steps we need to take to get there.
For the Boulder to Denver skate trek, I was so focused on getting to Denver before the sun set. Around 5 PM, the sun was fading and I still had a ways to go – and so I realized at that moment to stop rushing, to take it in, to let this be MY day, and to enjoy the process.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I work a lot, but I love my work! I run Outdoor Minded Mag, which is an online digital magazine for world travelers that love outdoor adventures. I also run my own web design / media consulting company called Wild World Creative that caters to the travel industry. And when I’m not working, I like to just have a cold beer with friends. And when I’m not in the US doing that, then I’m traveling around the world and exploring. I also love rock climbing.
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Thanks so much for sharing my story on NerveRush Alan! It’s an honor to be up here with some of the other great adventurers you’ve interviewed!
I say you come visit me in Colorado and we embark on some other crazy kind of microadventure together! You in?!
– Laur 🙂
I like where your head is at. Let me grab my longboard and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Might take a while from Boston, eh?
Fantastic article – delighted to see microadventures booming in the US too!