I’m shaking as I push removed from shore. My hands firmly grasp the paddle and my feet are practically superglued to the board. In the face of fear as I set out on my first stand-up paddleboard venture, my extremities have forgotten that holding on tighter doesn’t guarantee I won’t fall.

Not 5 feet from the little beach on the north side of Bde Maka Ska, the river in Minneapolis where I’ve rented my craft, I’m already hurting: My toes are gripping the foam padding of my board so difficult, I wonder if I’m sufficiently strong to accidentally break them.

“Do you know where you’re going?” calls the skeptical teenager stationed in the rental shack where I obtained my gear. I glance to my left: The high-visibility lake is stuffed with sailboats and anglers and windsurfers taking advantage of the day’s gusty breeze. To my right is a dark but calm canal leading to Lake of the Isles.

“This way,” I call back without turning around and I take off toward the canal. I’m still shaking and my feet are still throbbing, but I’m out here looking for adventure, I remind myself. Being unsure of what lies ahead of or beneath me within the canal seems like a good start to my seeking.

Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, long held a strong draw for me. For one, it’s a great workout, lighting up the core and torso as well as the fine stabilizer muscles of the hips, knees, and ankles. Moreover, it’s one way to connect with nature. I love water in all its forms — i fear it. SUP, with its focus on gliding upon calmer water versus catching a wave in rougher conditions, felt accessible and powerful.

I finally stepped onto a board in July 2021, thanks to a challenge from a friend. Martin Rittenberry, a Twin Cities–based fitness coach and graphic designer, got tired of hearing people complain about being bored, especially in the summer and especially in Minnesota — where and when there are plenty of activities to relish during our long, glittering summer days. He created Move in Minneapolis as proof that adventure lies as close as your backyard, if you’re prepared to go looking for it.

The monthlong challenge had a simple goal: See how many new experiences you are able to collect right where you live. There were no rules and it wasn’t a competition — simply a call to action to create your personal adventures, big or small, wherever you are.

I took up the mantle with SUP as my first challenge. The next day paddling, I rented a bike and retaught myself how to ride. Dads and moms and weeks that followed, I tried static trapeze and acro yoga, bouldering and German-wheel acrobatics. I hiked around Minnehaha Falls, a legendary waterfall in the middle of the city.

Some experiences, like SUP, were things I’d meant to try but hadn’t gotten around to. Others, like German wheel — circus tricks performed in a large hoop — were activities I would never have known to try basically weren’t attuned to adventure seeking.

I discovered new beloved hobbies: I started training in static trapeze and went on to perform in two circus recitals; Minnehaha Falls is one of my favorite spots to visit throughout the year; and I try to get out on a paddleboard at least once each week all summer.

Many people who joined Martin became reacquainted with a truth that regular adventurers hold dear: You don’t need to go far, spend a lot of money, or risk your safety, because even small toe-dips into unknown waters can imbue life with richness.

Now each summer I take up Martin’s challenge to get up, get out, move around, and see what I can easily see, out in the world and inside myself. Yes, there’s room for adventure every single day, but setting aside a month dedicated to bringing and keeping it surface of mind made a difference in my follow-through. And the more new things I tried, the more willing I was to get out of my safe place all year round.

It’s a reminder that adventure isn’t an objective that has to wait for a reshuffling of time, money, or priorities. It’s just there, wherever I choose to see it.