October is Adventure Month!
I am SO EXCITED for this month, everyone! I get my first annual leave and I’ve decided to use it to go to New York and London. I’ve been wanting to go to London pretty much my whole life and when I realized that I had not only the time but also the money, I booked the tickets and the hostel within an hour.
I’m going to New York because Amtrak was having a sale on train fares from Baltimore to New York. My fiancé has never been to New York so I’m going to take him with me so that he can see the city. We’re going to visit the Met, eat a really nice dinner, find some of that coffee in a blue cup and generally see the sights.
It’s going to be AMAZING and I’m super looking forward to it!
Going on trips like this is something that I absolutely love doing and I would suggest that everyone find a way to get outside their comfort zone and go on an adventure. This month I’m going to write about what an adventure is, why you should go on adventures and how to figure out where you’re next adventure is going to be. We’re also going to talk about practical stuff like how to not go broke while adventuring, adventures close to home, safety for adventurers and general gear for adventures.
Let’s start with what an adventure is so that everything else after this makes sense. In short:
An adventure is anything that is a little scary that will lead to an interesting experience, the completion of a goal, a lesson, or a story. An adventure is something you have to deliberately go out of your way to plan and execute and an adventure is something that is not expected of you.
Really quickly here, let me dispel this idea that an adventure is the same as a vacation. Also, an adventure does not require you to travel outside of the country and it is not just a time to relax. An adventure should have some sort of outcome. Something you achieve, even if that achievement is just another good drinking story. You earn the end of an adventure. You merely relax on a vacation.
An adventure is also just a tiny bit scary because you are never quite certain of what the outcome will be. The fear comes from uncertainty, not danger. Your adventures should not fill you with crippling fear. I know there’s a saying that goes, “If your dreams don’t scare you, you aren’t dreaming big enough” and that’s good and all but when it comes to adventures don’t put yourself in a position where you’re terrified to go. Big adventures start with baby steps.
It’s also something that no one is requiring you to do. You can get through your entire life without going on an adventure and if you don’t, no one will ever judge you for it. You are completely welcome to live out the rest of your days watching TV, making dinner and going to work. Believe me, that’s fine! An adventure is like a bonus level. An extra. You’ll still win the game if you don’t go on one but there are some special rewards for people who do.
So why take that extra step then?
Going on adventures will take you outside your comfort zone. When you expand your comfort zone, you’re also expanding your horizons. The more you expand your horizons the more you realize that there is to see and do. It’s important that at some point in your life you realize that the world is much, much larger than you and that it will get along just fine without you. When you realize this, you start to understand that the little every day calamities that you come across are really quite unimportant.
Adventuring will also help dispel misconceptions and rumors that you hold in your head. If all you know about a place or a people is what you’ve heard from someone else, read about, or seen on TV, you’re going to have some sort of skewed idea of what that person or place is like. When you go actually see and experience it for yourself, you learn what it really is like and you become a little more open minded. Having genuine experiences is a breath of fresh air. The difference between eating a French macaron in downtown Detroit and eating a French macaron in Paris might not seem like a big deal, but with the right mindset, it can be an incredible experience.
Adventuring, particularly solo adventuring, will also teach you a lot about yourself. When you go places alone you have to make decisions for yourself and get past your fears. The more you do these things, the more you begin to understand why you make certain choices. You start to understand what you really do and do not like. Not only that, but realizing that you can survive on your own gives you a sort of confidence that you can’t get from being smart or having a degree.
Adventures will also teach you to appreciate the things you have back at home. Your friends, the comfort of a familiar place, a country that you call your own, traditions and beliefs. They will also help to solidify your own personal beliefs because as you are confronted with other people’s ideas and beliefs, you will have to justify them with your own. You might not agree with someone else’s beliefs and that is 100% okay, but you can’t just refuse to listen to other people. Listen, learn and appreciate.
And ultimately, at least for this post, adventuring will scratch an itch that most people don’t even realize is itchy. I think that inside every human being is a desire to do something scary and intimidating and magnificent. Some people recognize that they’ll have to work in order to achieve that while other people just bury the feelings either out of ignorance or fear.
Yes, adventuring, taking risks and doing something scary is…well, scary. But how else will we figure out who we are if we don’t try to push the boundaries a little bit? How else will we know what we can’t do, if we don’t try to do everything?
All of the pictures you’ve seen in this post are from trips I’ve personally taken. I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life to have been able to travel to multiple countries and I don’t take that for granted. The trips have made me a better person by making me more open minded and curious. I’ve had some incredibly amazing experiences and met some awesome people. I have never regretted spending the money for a single trip I’ve ever taken and I will happily do it as often as possible.
Let me close by saying that I’m not trying to convince you to spend thousands of dollars so that you can travel overseas and take photos of ruins. I’m really not. A lot of my favorite adventures have happened close to home. Going on a road trip, performing at an open mic event, traveling to your nearest big city, climbing a mountain or hiking in the wilderness are all things that fit the description of an adventure: scary, require planning, no one expects it of you and they have an end result.
So this week, while waiting for the next post, consider things that you can do that will push you out of your comfort zone, even just a little bit. You don’t have to plan a trip to Europe (or, if you live in Europe, America?), but consider trying something that scares you, even just a little bit. Something that is going to teach you a lesson, give you a good story, help you experience something incredible or complete a goal you have. Long story short, adventure should change you.