Make life difficult for yourself to feel better? That sounds paradoxical. But luxury resorts, wellness oases, first-class food and doing nothing provide less and less of the relaxation that modern people really need: mental relaxation.

It’s about to start again: In Germany’s northern hemisphere, a car avalanche is set in motion so that after five hours in the car, people can take part in the luxury life of Sylt. It’s no different in Bavaria. The caravan pulls bumper to bumper to the alpine dream scenery. Our much-vaunted mobility is more of a theoretical construct, especially at the beginning of the holiday, but no traffic jam in the world could prevent the stressed brain worker from really recovering for a few days: park the SUV in the underground car park, sleep late, eat really well (or was it just a lot?) and digestive walks in a Camp David jacket with short shopping intervals.

It’s beautiful in these places and you can do that with your vacation. Something like that might have happened to me before. But the fatigue that many of my check-up patients complain about is insidious. Because if you are tired, you typically rest. The problem: After sleeping in, these people just don’t feel recovered. The exhaustion is only superficially a physical phenomenon. Of course, those who don’t keep fit and don’t go jogging find it harder to meet the demands of this modern world.

But more than that, it is the mental exhaustion that covers our vitality like a gray veil. It feels like you’ve already run 10 km, even though you just moved the computer mouse from left to right on the desk. She lets people who are dead tired dial the pizza emergency number instead of cooking something healthy themselves. It’s called psychosomatics. Our body speaks to us because the soul suffers. Massage, a good restaurant in South Tyrol and Netflix in the hotel room are nice, but they don’t solve this problem.

dr Matthias Marquardt wrote the “running bible”, is known in the running scene as the “running pope” and, as a sports internist and specialist for running injuries, looks after patients from all over Germany in his practice for “sport

Because this unpleasant restlessness is back after just two pages of reading the newspaper, which should actually serve to relax you. The mind merry-go-round is still spinning even when you are waiting for the meal in the restaurant. And even if you don’t want to and would never admit it: Fumbling with your cell phone somehow calms you down, while fiddling with your partner was a long time ago.

Children amplify the phenomenon. On their days off, they want adventure and quite rightly want to discover the world, while the driven, exhausted adults thirst for relaxation. In the hotel room or in the holiday home, this conflict of goals is solved with the television. Quite a few parents would claim at this moment that they were acting in self-defense. In the evenings, after the children had gone to bed, I often sat with my wife on the sofa in the holiday home and we asked ourselves whether this really was a holiday.

At home it was somehow more relaxed. In us the desire for relaxation, but also the desire for the right life, for experiences that you will never forget. But are Netflix, zoos and amusement parks really real experiences? Emergency brake Club vacation? Even if you don’t care about all the money for these things, amusement parks and club holidays have one problem in common: They just don’t deliver. They provide no experiences, no relaxation. So what to do?

At the thought of going out, simply out into the adventure, we lost courage at first. outdoors? There might be rain. The children? That’s not possible. Material? We dont have. But something had to happen! At some point we started cycling from pension to pension. Our adventure? Finding your way can sometimes be enough (and revitalizes a marriage completely!), the camping stove for food, being outside all day. Such things. Unexpected, fantastic side effect: the mood is always good.

Everyone has one goal and arrives happy and exhausted in the evening. In between there is plenty of time without any stress. And then, when you don’t expect it, things like this happen: A beekeeper we met at the edge of the field at his hives puts our children under the beekeeper’s hat with veil and explains to you the friendly world of his bees. The event agency would say: A money-can’t-buy moment. The beekeeper and I say: I don’t want any planned moments. i want real life

Was that already a micro-adventure? Of course, there are also “rules” for micro-adventures:

Ok, so it probably wasn’t an “official” micro-adventure. But for us it is!

Then came the corona pandemic. And with Corona the cabin fever. And with cabin fever, the big decision: We buy tents. We were already experienced with the bike and the camping stove. Secretly, I felt a bit like a cross between a troop of Fieselschweif-Scout and Rüdiger Nehberg anyway. So in March 2021 we started our first bike tent tour in the far north on the Schlei.

Pitched tents in the dark for the first time, got stuck in the swamp, froze like a tailor, found firewood, made campfires and were overjoyed, mended tyres, ate potatoes and thought they were delicious, saw porpoises in the morning sun, grilled fish on the beach, pitched a tent night in someone’s backyard who offered to help us because we missed the ferry, grumbled about the rain, celebrated the sun.

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When we got home, we were physically devastated. But the spirit was free. We felt more relaxed than ever before. That vague, burdensome feeling of tension, restlessness, fear, and worry was gone. These circling thoughts too. There was finally peace in my head. It was fantastic. So we did it again and again. But the necessary starting energy for such an adventure is always considerable, especially when you are caught up in the stress of everyday life. Micro-adventures are like jogging: you feel better after you’ve done them. You just have to find the strength to start.

Ascension is approaching again. We will do it again. The Weser, the bike, the tent, the camping stove. Only start and finish are planned. No accommodations. That forces us to talk to people, to find solutions, to experience things. We believe that we can always find someone who offers us their meadow and some water. And the meadow looks the same as before. Like the boy scouts. We will end up being physically exhausted. And yet have drawn so much strength.

Want to watch this madness with three kids? No problem: I take care of my own Instagram channel for cycle tours: Come with me and let yourself be inspired.

Your RunningDoc