Adventure seems to be perceived as an experience rife with risk, to be limited to faraway exotic lands. I do not believe this to be true.
So, you want to live an adventurous life? The secret is to start now, wherever you are. No plane tickets required.
I believe that every day presents an opportunity for adventure, regardless of where you live. For a long time, I restrained my desire for adventurous exploits. I didn’t feel I neatly fit into the mold of an “adventurer.” I’ve since learned that regardless of whether you’re an elite athlete or a self-confessed bookworm, you can lead an adventurous life.
That said, there is one habit that can prevent you from having new experiences. I am guilty of this; you probably are too. Do you regularly succumb to a rigid routine? This seemingly comfortable existence is rampant with hidden dangers. This quote by Paulo Cohelo echoes the sentiment:
”If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine – it’s lethal.”
I had fallen prey to a banal existence. My life followed a familiar pattern each day. I woke up, went to work, came home, and stared at a screen for entertainment before going to bed. There was little to be excited about.
I desperately needed a change.
I came across an article written by illustrator and writer, Alex Mathers, titled, Why Idea Adventures Have Become the Most Important Part of My Day.
In this article, Mathers speaks at length about a trip he took to Iceland and how ‘the beauty and uniqueness of the country revived my spirit and infused new color into my greying senses. Physically moving through unfamiliar landscapes gave me the opportunity to think about and feel the world differently, almost as a different person.’
‘As someone who relies on fresh, creative ideas, feeling alive, and being inspired, this kind of experience holds a tremendous amount of value for my work and my sanity.
I decided to bring adventure into my daily life instead of a once in a year short burst.
‘On every day that I can, I will go on a walk, sometimes a long one, and I will bring my notepad and my phone to take pictures and videos. I will use this adventure to collect and note ideas or simply document things I see as I go.’
This article ignited my curiosity and inspired me to create my own adventure.
While travel to distant lands was not a possibility at that time, I decided I would observe the sunrise over the nearby iconic mining town of Coober Pedy. In the Outback, I had access to the most spectacular sunrises in Australia. I realized I was choosing to squander such a unique opportunity. For the first time in a long time, I was excited!
Creating Your Own Backyard Adventure
Step 1: Create a Plan
Follow your passions:
Narrow your field of focus by thinking about what excites you. Move towards this. Allow it to shape and create your adventure. For example, I love to run, so my mini-adventures revolve around running. I choose a new route to run along and document the experience with a camera.
Explore your local area:
I am sure there are places in your locality that you’ve never explored. Google maps is my savior for plotting points of interest, discovering unexplored areas, and setting a route.
Pick your mode of transportation:
Once you have decided where to go, it’s time to determine how to get there. Do you enjoy walking, running, cycling, or rollerblading? Any of these can be incorporated into the adventure and may even add to it. Feel free to get imaginative when it comes to choosing a mode of travel. I find exploring unfamiliar landscapes on foot exhilarating, especially since some hidden places are only accessible by foot.
My own mini adventure:
The morning after I hatched my plan, I was up before sunrise to run to a nearby tourist attraction called The Winch, aptly named because – you guessed it – it is indeed a big winch! Located on a hilltop, it offers a panoramic view of Coober Pedy. It’s the perfect place to drink in the details of a desert sunrise.
Step 2: Follow through on the plan
The early morning light slowly began to illuminate the desolate landscape. I watched as the darkness gave way to the light of a new day. It was the perfect backdrop for my mini adventure.
I navigated unfamiliar dirt roads as the crisp morning air pricked me awake. I felt alive. My feet pounded the thick red dirt and set off an orchestra of barking dogs nearby. Their pitch reached hysteria, cutting through the silence. Excitement tingled in the pit of my stomach. I silently hoped that the dogs were of a friendly nature.
The Winch at sunrise possesses a transcendent, otherworldly beauty. I surveyed the apocalyptic landscape, illuminated by heavenly hues whose splendor was emphasized by the solitude. In Coober Pedy, the addition of iconic mining machinery sporadically strewn across the scene adds to the bizarre Outback experience.
This step is simple… once you’ve set a plan in place, follow through! Wake up early, as planned, and don’t let anything hold you back from the adventure that awaits.
What did I learn from my mini adventure?
Even though it involved getting up at an ungodly hour, witnessing Coober Pedy at sunrise was well worth the effort. The mini-adventure reawakened my curiosity about my surrounding environment. I’m grateful that I get to experience the Outback – not everyone does. The adventure also served as an important reminder that my time in the Outback is fleeting and I am responsible for making the most of my time here. I made a pact with myself to watch more of these sunrises.
The perfect moment for an adventure will never appear.
Adventure functions similarly to time. If you want more, then it’s up to you to create it. Even when it seems like there’s no time for adventure, it’s possible to build in moments here and there.
Moments quietly spent marveling at the wonders of the natural world are invaluable. Create them.
The world around you is incredible! What natural wonders can you find near your own home base?
Adventure does not need to be limited to faraway lands.
I create my own experience wherever I am in the world. So do you. Do not be afraid to explore. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, even if it’s around the corner. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.
In her TEDx talk ‘The key to living a life of adventure’, Ginger Kern, creator of the online platform Traveler’s Mindset, encourages us to ‘adopt a travelers mindset’ whether at home or traveling abroad. Adopt this mindset by asking the following three simple questions:
- How can I be more courageous?
- Where are my boundaries?
- How can I be more open?
In asking myself these questions, I’m learning to unlock and endorse a culture of openness, curiosity, and adventure, leading me to the most essential element of creating an adventurous life — fostering curiosity. Children possess an endless enthusiasm for their surroundings. They move with a remarkable sense of purpose, radiate joy, and go on the most amazing adventures, both real and imaginary. The older I get, the harder it is to maintain this deep level of curiosity about the world around me. So…
Be curious !
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Go wandering. Explore. Take a different route to work. Go running somewhere new. Be open and vulnerable with others. Talk to people. Fear often prevents people from traveling, but curiosity can catapult you far beyond your comfort zone into uncharted territory.
Routine can quietly kill curiosity, which is a necessary stepping stone towards an adventurous life. Beyond the realm of routine lies your adventure. It is up to you to reach out and grab it.