There’s this amazing British guy called Alastair Humphreys. He originally came to my attention when he cycled around the world and I read his book about it. The Husband and I then went to see him talk and came away inspired to do something crazy. (We had a baby and moved to the States, which wasn’t quite the point of the talk, but whatever). He’s become quite the adventurer but in between spectacular expeditions, he’s become an advocate of the ‘micro-adventure’. The kind of adventure that you fit in on a Thursday evening between finishing work and getting back to your desk the next morning. These kind of adventures are much more realistic for us at the moment.

The Husband was away with work for a few nights, so I decided to plan a micro adventure for me and the Dude. The plan was that I’d turn up a school on Monday to pick him up, but instead of coming home, the car would be packed and we’d do a quick overnight camping trip to Half Moon Bay. We’d wake up next to the ocean, have a cup of tea, collapse the tent and drive back home in time for school drop-off and preschool summer school in the morning. Clearly not ground-breaking stuff, but hopefully an epic micro adventure for me and the Dude!

It would be epic for me in particular because this would be the first time I’d taken the Dude camping by myself. I’m about to say something very un-PC and un-feministy, but I can’t deny I felt a bit nervous about sleeping in a tent without my own personal Gregor Clegane by my side.

I picked the Dude up from school. He was bemused at all the stuff in the car and then he worked out what was happening.


We camped at the campsite off Kelly Avenue in HMB. It’s not a pretty campsite by any stretch and it was jam-packed full of RVs. We had this funny little site (18) near the loos (good) and in full visibility which made me feel safer. (If you ever camp there, go for pitches 17 or 19…they’re slap by the ocean, their views were wonderful).

camping HMB cocoon
The cocoon, surrounded by GIANT RVs

We put up the tent and then hit the beach for half an hour of digging and playing. It was actually quite chilly by the ocean, but we had fun and we saw a seal swimming very close to us, which thrilled us both. Then we went back to the campsite, had a picnic of bread and cheese, I took a shower (50 cents for 2 minutes of hot water, bring quarters) and then we hunkered down in the cocoon for the night. Once inside, we were snug as bugs and both conked out pretty quickly.

HMB beach ocean
Like a British summer!
camping me dude
One of us is sleepier than the other

I woke several times in the night, which I think is testament to my unease camping alone, but I have to say it was MUCH less scary than I’d expected! I woke up in the morning feeling pretty triumphant. I’m a bit of a chicken really, so it was good to push my boundaries a bit.

My dreams of a glorious ocean sunrise were dashed – it was grey, misty, cold and even drizzling a little so we quickly got dressed, collapsed the tent and drove away in search of coffee, bagels and sandwiches for the Dude’s lunch. We arrived back at school in time for kindergarten drop off,  just over 12 hours after pick-up. It was a fab little micro adventure – the Dude has already asked to do it again!

Sunrise. Huh.
Sunrise. Huh.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Grace says:

    What a fabulous idea! There are always steps you can take if you worry about camping alone — obviously tell multiple people where you are going and when you should be expected back, for instance. I find doing that always quells MY fears. We’ve planned a whole summer of weekend mini-adventures (cycling around Martha’s Vineyard with the baby in a bike trailer, strawberry picking, camping in New Hampshire) – much easier and more mentally doable than a long trip!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Your mini adventures sound all kinds of cool!!! I want to come cycling with you.

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