Get The Adventure Habit: Practices for an Adventure Lifestyle
We are what we do. If you want more adventure in your life it’s down to you to get on with it and make it happen. You don’t need a lot of money, time or to travel to exotic locations for an adventure lifestyle. But, if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in a comfort bubble, you may need to develop some adventure habits; practices that help you notice, seek out, create or seize the opportunities for adventure that exist around us everyday. Forget apples; an adventure a day is the well balanced way.
Hardwired to adventure
As human beings I believe we’re born hard-wired to learn, discover and explore. We are born natural adventurers. If you’ve ever looked after a baby or toddler you’ll know what I mean. They are programmed to seek newness and to learn from it. All day. Every day. Life for them literally is an adventure.
But as we ‘grow up’ it’s easy for that adventure spirit to get lost; to be squashed by parents, discouraged by those who tell you to ‘be responsible’ or repressed while you prioritise regular work or family commitments. And so we slip out of the habit of an adventure a day, maybe even lose touch with our adventurous core.
Dream it or do it?
Some people dream of living a more adventurous life. I see them sitting around waiting for opportunities to present themselves. They talk a good talk, look fondly back on things they did when they were young, free and single, and chat excitedly about grand plans for the future. But their talk is of tomorrow, next week, soon, sometime, one day.
Others just get on with it. They make adventure a priority in their everyday. They notice opportunities for adventure around them. They create them. They seize them. They do little things each day to make adventure a habit and so live a life of adventure every day.
The adventure habit
We are what we do. Our everyday actions are far more powerful in bringing about change than grand dreams and goals. So if you want more adventure in your life, don’t wait, dream or set ambitious goals; start doing it now, today. In whatever small ways you can.
By doing small things every day you create space for adventure in your everyday life, cultivate an adventure mindset and develop the ability to see, take and create adventure opportunities. In short you create an adventure habit. Want to get started? Here’s ten practices we think will help.
10 Practices for an Adventure Lifestyle
1 Break with your routines
Routines are great for running an efficient life but the antithesis of adventure. So don’t do the same thing everyday; shake it up, vary it and see where that takes you. You don’t need to be radical, just intentional. Big adventures can flow from small changes in routine. So find a different way to get to work, do your weekly shop somewhere new, choose somewhere different to go on holiday, cook an unfamiliar meal for dinner, join a new club, get a new hobby, go meet some new people, talk to someone on the bus, or just sit in a different seat. Adventure can take many forms but routine isn’t one of them. So don’t let yours squash your explorer spirit.
2 Give your gadgets a break
I love my tech and know apps, maps and social networks can be great for planning, capturing and sharing adventures. But the very same apps that facilitate and connect can also leave us disconnected, dependent, even lonely. 21st century tech enables us to experience the world in the most incredible ways without ever getting up or going out, but it can’t touch you the same way raw, real world experience can. So put your gadgets down, give them a break and remind yourself what the real world is like. Meet people face to face, feel the warmth of a handshake and the frisson of mutual gaze. Forget Google glass, Sat Nav and activity trackers, get out your map and compass and go and get lost instead. Turn off FourSquare alerts and ask a stranger for a recommendation. Let your eyes be your window on the world and your legs be your interface. Venture out often and gadget free, feel the real world and let it move you.
3 Say ‘Yes’
If necessity is the mother of invention, I’m sure improvisation is the father of adventure. I love the edgy, not quite knowing what happens next feeling that comes from improvising whether in music, in the kitchen, a relationship or a crisis. In the world of stand up, the first rule of improvisation is “say yes”. When invited into a scene, to become a character or pick up a prop, this rule says “say yes’ to the invitation; go with the flow, accept the idea offered, breathe life into it and move the improv on. You can apply this rule to create moments of adventure everyday by saying yes to those moments that invite us to break with routine and do something different. Take a breath, stamp down the reasons why not, and adopt an open mind. Step forward, accept the invitation, say yes, mean it and see where that takes you.
4 Say ‘Yes and..’
The second rule of improv says don’t just say ‘yes’, say ‘yes and’ – accept the invitation and add something to it, an idea of your own, a suggestion, something that takes things even further. When you say “yes and” you become a contributor, a co-creator. Now we’re not naysaying, not just accepting adventure invitations but we’re making them and shaping them. No more watching and waiting; we are actor and initiator.
5 Take the path you’ve never travelled
A well trodden path is usually easy to spot while the path less travelled or untravelled can be hard to find. If you’re looking for everyday adventures neither of these are particularly useful; what you want is the path you’ve never travelled. The road you’ve noticed but never been down, the footpath you walk past every day, the back-road you avoid because it takes a little longer, the canal you’ve never found time to explore. When you take the path you’ve never travelled you’ll see things you’ve never seen before, perhaps meet people you don’t know, maybe find another path and who knows where that might lead. And when you get tired of paths perhaps you could ignore them altogether and follow your nose instead.
6 Do talk to strangers
I know this probably goes against advice your parents gave you and contradicts stranger danger stories on the internet, radio and TV, but the secret truth is most strangers aren’t dangerous. In terms of absolute risk, talking to strangers is a pretty safe activity. It may be unusual, uncomfortable, even embarrassing but it’s very unlikely to harm more than your ego, especially if you use your intuition. On the plus side talking to strangers can open up new worlds, strange worlds where all kinds of adventures lie in wait. Conversations with strangers can introduce you to new thoughts and ideas, sports, hobbies, people and places. They can change your view of a place or an issue, lead you to do or try something different, even invite you to be someone different. So, do talk to strangers, the stranger the better.
7 Rest your strengths, learn something new
Playing to your strengths, doing what you do well is great for the ego and of course there’s many an adventure to be had polishing hard won skills, taking them to the next level or into new and unfamiliar environments. But there’s also fun to be had looking the other way, doing what you know you’re not good at, exploring undeveloped skills, trying something completely new. Learning is always an adventure into the personal unknown, an everyday opportunity to try and not know if you will succeed. And, if at first you don’t succeed, well think of it as a chance to try and try again. And then when you do succeed, go try something else. And don’t let age be an excuse, you’re never too old to give something new a go.
8 Gamble responsibly
I know this sounds like more bad advice, against the counsel of parents and teachers, but we all know life gets more interesting when there’s something at stake. But we’re not talking your money or your life; it doesn’t have to be high stakes. Risk and uncertainty are adventure fuel. They add frisson, drama, excitement, emotion, consequences. So if you want a bit more adventure, do the math and build a little in. Give luck, opportunity, coincidence and serendipity a chance. Take a chance on missing the last bus, risk going somewhere where no-one will understand a word you say, try something you might fail at. And see what happens. Stack the odds in your favour if you like but if you want things to get interesting make sure the outcome isn’t a dead cert.
9 Pop your comfort bubble
I love comfort bubbles. They are safe, familiar, warm, fuzzy and undemanding. What’s not to like? Except the fact they’re not terribly interesting or developmental. From inside a bubble, life beyond may look unfamiliar, but that’s because you’re looking through the distorting film of the bubble itself. Just beyond this iridescent layer, all kinds of new experiences are waiting, within easy reach. So stop looking at your beautiful bubble and pop it. One finger and one deliberate moment is all it takes. Release that surface tension, step through the distorting thin film of your preconceptions and find out what the world beyond is really like.
10 Do something new everyday
Never mind an apple a day, let’s aim for an adventure a day. That’ll keep the routine away. An adventure mind-set is a matter of habit, not money, time or expertise. Opportunities for adventure abound, we just need to train ourselves to notice them, seek them out, create them, choose them. These are practices. Practices, when practiced, form habits. And habits become our modus operandi. If you want a life of adventure then by all means dream big, then start small, get help if you need it, but above all else do something everyday that invites adventure into your life.
Adventure is calling. Are you listening?
They say adventure is always calling but that doesn’t mean you’ll hear it. Adventure may not be banging on your door but I bet it’s whispering all around. Clean the wax out of your ears and you’ll hear it. Look again with your eyes wide open and you’ll see it.
I believe adventurers aren’t born, they’re made; self-made, through the choices they make day to day, and over time. When they hear adventure calling, they listen. And choose it. Cultivating your own adventure habits can help with that. So, will you?
Over to you
What are your tips for developing the adventure habit, creating opportunities for adventure everyday or evolving an adventure lifestyle? Do leave a comment below and let us know.