Adventure. It may be one word, but to each person it can hold a variety of meanings. It might remind you of the time you took a spontaneous road trip with your best friend. Or maybe it conjures up images of when you snuck into the VIP area of a private party. And it especially reminds you of when you booked a one-way ticket to a foreign country. For me, adventure is about exploring nature — the feeling of scraped knees and the smell of redwood trees.
Whatever adventure means to you, we can all agree it brings a sense of exhilaration. It challenges you by pushing past your comfort zone. Whether it’s a small everyday exploration or a big, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it not only makes life more exciting, but also helps us grow as people. Want to add more adventure to your life? Here are four tips:
Get Off Your Beaten Track
So often we end up on the same route, going through the same motions every.single.day. We drive the same way to work, walk on the same sidewalk to the corner store, and speak to the same people. Each day can start to feel monotonous. By sticking with this routine, we close ourselves off to new opportunities for adventure.
When I was living in Melbourne, Australia, I took the same street down to the beach every time I went. It was the fastest and easiest route, so I never thought to go a different way. Then one day I happened to go down a block and found the most adorable little street that led to the beach. Not only did I enjoy the refreshing change in going a new direction, but I stumbled upon a café that became my new favorite spot for iced coffee. Win/win!
We end up so concerned with getting to our destination that we forget to enjoy the journey. Try taking a different route during your daily routines. Hop on a bike to work or catch the local bus, which, let’s face it, is always packed with interesting characters.
Talk To Strangers
How many times have you been in a situation, maybe in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or at the DMV, where you think about starting up a conversation but decide to whip out your phone instead? Sure, it’s easier to bury your head in your smartphone, but what do we get out of that except making it to the next level of Candy Crush? Talking to strangers can be scary, perhaps because we’re so fiercely warned against it as children. But 9 times out of 10, it’s so worth it to engage! Maybe the person you chat with will become a new friend. Maybe they’ll be a raving lunatic and you’ll have an amazing story to tell your girlfriends over drinks later. Or maybe they work in the same industry as you and you’ve just gained a valuable work contact without having to trudge through another networking cocktail party. 😉
When my boyfriend and I were in the airport heading to Mexico, we struck up a conversation with a woman who happened to run a large non-profit organization in Mexico City. That conversation led to a meeting at her office, which landed us a two month internship at a woman’s cooperative in a small village. Everyone has something to offer, it’s just about making the initial connection.
Spend Time Alone
Spending time alone comes more naturally to some people than to others. I happen to love spending time alone, whether it’s sitting down for a writing session or kicking back with a book. Doing things alone, though, is a bit more challenging. We tend to assume that activities are just more fun when we’re doing them with friends, and hey, sometimes they are. But next time you’re planning a day out, consider doing it solo.
Doing things alone frees you from conforming to the behavior other people expect from you. It’s good to wiggle around and stretch our comfort zones a bit. If you tend to be more reserved and shy, hit up a concert by yourself and dance like an absolute fool! If you’re more of the class clown type, go on a hike by yourself and have some quiet meditation time.
Doing things alone is exhilarating. It gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want, when you want it. It’s the ultimate “choose your own adventure.”
Connect With Adventurous Friends
This may sound totally contradictory to my previous section, but I promise you, it’s not. Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I think this applies to being adventurous, as well. We all have some crazy, up-for-anything type of friends, as well as some more laid back, home-body types. If you want more adventure in your life, seek out your most adventurous friends. You know the ones…last weekend they went snowboarding, sprained their ankle and were back for more the next day. The life of the party types who’ll spark up a conversation with anyone. The ones who know the best secret swimming spots and have a hidden stash of fireworks in their car. These are the people that will give you that extra boost of confidence to take the plunge when jumping off 30 foot ledge into a lake. Hit them up and tag along to their next outing. Adventure guaranteed.
p.s. Why the Hell You Should Travel This Year + 5 Ways Living in Japan Made Me a Better Person