What about the idea of adventure excites you?
Don’t be too quick to answer, because the truth may not be as close to the surface as we all think it is. Sure, we all like to believe that we’re in complete control, and that we exercise total mastery over our own feelings and drives, but is that really the case?
There’s an immense amount of outsider opinion involved in many of our decisions, whether we know it or not. The status quo is a very real thing, and we all seek to maintain it in some way or another. Some of us feel constrained to the social order that we grew up learning. Some of us fall into peer groups and spend the majority of our lives trying to earn their approval. It’s the human tribal mentality, and it’s largely responsible for those things we call “civilization” and “order.” All well and good, but where does the status quo fit in with your own journey and your own happiness?
I won’t deny that some people are truly happy following the established order of things. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, there are also plenty of people who feel trapped and out of place…square pegs in round holes, you could say. I’m one of them, so I understand. Maybe you’re one of them, too.
That’s the origin of wanderlust – the feeling and drive that this website is all about. The desire for something more, something different than what we’ve experienced. We may feel it because we’re curious, or we might just have that nagging feeling that there’s something better out there than what we’ve already seen.
Wanderlust leads to exploration, but there are a lot of options out there for quenching that thirst for adventure. Where does one start? It’s a great question, and I hope the following tips will help you on that path:
- Keep an open mind. You really never know what you’ll enjoy until you give it a shot. Part of adventure is experiencing new things, visiting new places, and taking risks. Going to Disney World for the fifteenth time is not adventure. What else is out there? You’ll never know if you fall into a rut!
- Avoid tunnel vision. Trying new things holds some of the same pitfalls as dating. It’s really easy to “fall for” something the first time you try it because it’s new and exciting. You might go rock climbing once and be completely overwhelmed by how awesome it is…then spend all of your time and money pursuing your next rock climbing excursion. That’s all well and good, but what if you would have enjoyed taking a downhill on a mountain bike even more? Or taking photographs in Alaska? Or skydiving? The world is a buffet, so don’t be afraid to try everything!
- Don’t buy in too quickly. This fits in with the tunnel vision idea. You don’t have to buy a comprehensive arsenal of gear for everything you enjoy, although we are trained to think that’s the next logical step with any hobby. If you liked that rock climbing trip, then you’d better spend thousands of dollars gearing up for the next one…you don’t want to look like a newb the second time you go out, right? Wrong. The less money you spend decking yourself out for one adventure, the more you’ll have to spend trying other things. When you do decide to buy something, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s not ultra-specialized gear that can only be used in one situation. Of course, once you’ve decided that you’re really dedicated to a certain sport, activity, or hobby, then there’s nothing wrong with dropping some cash on it.
- Seek the action, not the identity. Once again, this point stems from the previous. People will often dump a lot of money into an idea because they become enamored with what I call “the lifestyle trap.” This is marketing and capitalism at full tilt, people. Let’s say you get into hiking. So a logical step might be to buy hiking boots. But while you’re shopping for those hiking boots, you also get hiking shorts, hiking shirts, hiking sunglasses, and a hundred other things that you feel obligated to buy because “that’s what hikers wear.” That’s a lot of money to spend on a sport that’s essentially built around walking around, right? The truth is that you probably don’t need any of that junk to enjoy the activity, but advertisers are experts at making people feel like they need to spend money on the “identity.” What’s more important, looking like you’re doing something, or actually doing it?
- Forgot what other people think. I’m convinced that there are a lot of trending activities that wouldn’t be nearly as popular if social media didn’t exist. How many people would participate in a muddy, brutal obstacle course race if they couldn’t broadcast it on Facebook? I’m not being a pessimist here; it’s been proven that a large number of people feel obligated to participate in activities that will make them look interesting on social media. They do it because of the image it will supposedly create for them, not because they actually want to. It’s pandering to a false audience – a self-infliction of the burdens of being in the public eye (without the benefit of a celebrity’s paychecks.) You’ll be far happier in the long run if you focus on the activities that you truly enjoy, not those that will result in the most Facebook “likes.” How can you tell the difference? When you feel compelled to do something, ask yourself if it would be as much fun if no one knew you were doing it. I’m being serious here! Would you feel as excited about the activity if you didn’t tell anyone about it or post pics of it on Facebook? It’s actually a legitimate litmus test for your real feelings. Give it a shot next time the mood strikes.