There is no doubt about it, I live for adventure! Whether it has been swimming from Alcatraz, biking through Croatia, or living through a remodel – I am almost always up for an adventure. There is something about visiting new places, meeting new people, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone that speaks to me. When my life gets quiet, I purposefully go looking for adventure.
To be clear, an adventure can be as simple as signing up for a dance class at your local Community Center (Tango anyone?), joining a hike group, or mastering a complicated recipe. While I do dream of taking an African safari and hiking Machu Picchu one day, I have never let lack of time or limited funds get in my way of living an adventurous life.
Want to live an adventurous life? Here are a few easy steps to get you started.
How to Live an Adventurous Life
Be Interested in People. A couple of years back I was sitting in an AARP session at a blogging convention. A very friendly, colorfully dressed, woman named Abby sat beside me and introduced herself to me. She described herself as a convention goer. She was not a blogger but rather a person that loves going to conventions to learn about new ideas and meet new people. She was busy collecting business cards of people that she struck up conversations with. Abby and I became Facebook friends – and I am so glad that she choose me to sit next to! In her late 60s, she still runs races, has a smile for everyone, and believes in living life to the fullest. She is an inspiration. Her life is an adventure in part because she loves to get out to meet new people. Sometimes that is all it takes – being interested in meeting new people.
Be Open to New Ideas. Join a new club, learn a new skill, attend a speaking forum – do something that brings newness to your life. Being open to new ideas can be challenging. We are most comfortable with what we already know. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone is by nature uncomfortable. Being open allows for new possibilities.
Make a Plan and Put in the Effort. Living an adventurous life also takes effort. I admit, sometimes I am tired and want nothing more than a quiet evening at home in my jammies, but then adventure calls – and I need something more. It takes effort to get up and out the door. While we might like to think that living an adventurous life is all spontaneous, it often is not. Most of us cannot simply drop everything and run off on a whim. We have jobs, we have responsibilities, and we have commitments to others. Adventure happens because we plan for it! Make a plan to find a group or class and get up and go! Yes, it takes some effort – but the effort is very much worth it!
Don’t Overthink It. Seriously, we can talk ourselves out of anything if we spend time overthinking it. I believe in taking calculated risks. That means that when I am faced with a situation, I will run through the worst case scenarios. I then try to determine the chance that the worst case scenario will happen and then I make up your mind. If I accept the risk, the next step is action. When I was planning on swimming from Alcatraz, I did my shark attack research. On very rare occasions Great Whites have entered the bay, and I found no record of shark attacks in San Francisco Bay itself. So while my fear of sharks was still present when I jumped from that ferry boat into the water, I knew that the chances of me being attacked by a Great White was exponentially less than me winning the Powerball Lottery. Don’t overthink all the negative possibilities!
Trust Yourself and the World. I once booked a trip to Costa Rica for myself and my two young daughters (ages 11 and 14). I was offered a great deal – a price that was too good to pass up – so I purchased the tickets, reserved the condo, and booked a car rental. It wasn’t until we landed that I thought, “Whoa! I just took my young daughters out of the country to a foreign land, none of us speak Spanish, and I am the only adult – This is some serious responsibility.”
Our rental car company meet us at the gate and drove us offsite to get our car. While I had ordered an automatic, the only car they had for me was a manual Jeep. My daughters were terrified! They did not believe that I knew how to drive a stick as they had never seen me in one before. But after a slightly bumpy start, my high school driving skills returned and they realized that their mom really could drive a stick. That began our first adventure into a foreign country together. in Northern Costa Rica we found bumpy roads with very little (if any) signage, monkeys chattering in trees, delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and friendly people everywhere helping us navigate a foreign land. That was an incredible adventure that I was glad that I shared with my daughters.
Get Comfortable Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone. It’s OK to be the one that does not know, to be the one that makes a mistake, to be the one that is completely out of step in the dance class. It really is OK. Learn to laugh at ourself, accept that everything is not easy and sometimes we just plain flub it up. With this attitude, it is much easier to put ourselves into new and often intimidating situations. If you are feeling really intimidated, let others know that you are a newbie and uncertain. I have always found that the more experienced around us are wiling to help and guide us through the scary moments of trying something new. Pretense is a killer to living an adventurous life. Be comfortable with the unknown.
Approach the World with Wonder and Curiosity. This just might be the single most important key to living an adventurous life. Watch a young child, they are guided to learn and try new things because of their innate sense of wonder. Wonder and curiosity can drive us out of our comfort zone. When we wonder, we are taken outside of ourselves. We don’t yet know the answer and we do not have any expectations – we simply follow the questions and see where it leads us. Often the answer will lead us to a new question. This cycle of wondering, seeking, finding, to only wonder some more – all the while having no expectations of what the result or answer will be – is the basis of opening yourself to new adventures, both big and small.
When you open yourself up to living an adventurous life, your world grows!
So what are your next steps? What are you going to do to invite more adventure into your life?