Tim muses on maps, gaps, and the special nature of microadventure.


I ran a new trail this morning.

This wouldn’t be that extraordinary, except that I did it last week too.

And the week before that.

While living in Australia’s largest city.

Having run in this area for years.

It was a reminder that there’s so much out there, right under our noses. If you lived through the Melbourne lockdown you might have a special understanding of what I’m talking about. Of how much can be crammed into a 5km circle.

But I also noticed something else.

I had no preconceptions about the track (and it blew me away), but half the fun was just finding out what that part of the map really looked like.

Reading a map’s a bit like reading a book. You fill in the gaps with imagination, flesh out some details with your own experience, and gloss over the rest. You create a picture in your head, but it’s hazy.

Nothing can compare to going somewhere for real.

Maybe it’s a little rock pool just big enough for two. Or perhaps it’s a tree with a curve that holds your back just so. It could be a section of trail covered in pine needles that add a spring to your step, or a sandstone cave where you can watch the world pass you by.

Sure, it’s probably not the ‘best’ rock pool, or cave, or tree. But does that really matter? It’s unique, and what’s more, you’ll probably have it to yourself.

Nothing can compare to the real thing. Even our best articles can fall short; whole senses are lost, highlights curated.

And although we’d love you to read every article we write and watch every film we produce, there’s something we’d love more.

It’s you, outside, more often.

That’s the whole point of We Are Explorers. It’s our mission statement.

Because the outdoors is powerful, and most of us aren’t getting enough of it.

I’ve got a challenge for you. Go to a map without any adventures on it (so not ours) and choose a spot close to home. Make sure it’s not Area 51, or some kind of rubbish tip, pack your bag, and go check it out.

Indulge in that feeling of experiencing somewhere completely new, all while in your own backyard. Smell the sharp tang of the pine needles, feel the coarseness of the rock against your palm. Promise yourself you won’t wait too long before doing it again.

When you’re home, check out our map and see if your adventure was on there. If it isn’t, why not add it to the site? Or, if it sucked, tell me about it!

Sometimes it’s nice to tick a box on the bucket list that you didn’t know was there.