By Matthew Jones - Adventure Expert at Universal Dialect
Whether as pirates sailing the Caribbean, settlers seeking new lands, or cattle herders wandering to greener pastures, humans are hardwired to seek out the unknown.
For some, however, this adventurous spirit is a means to an end, a way to build a better life. But out of necessity not desire.
Yet for many others, this thrill of adventure is the end goal itself. Exploring new cities, finding new sights, and connecting with unique cultures makes life more exciting and more fun.
But no matter why you explore and adventure, this lifestyle does one thing to us all: it makes us happier.
However, what the human heart wants and what it gets aren’t always the same thing. Many of us wish we could just drop everything and set out to explore the world, but it’s just not that simple.
If we’re fortunate, short trips here and there can quench our thirst for adventure, but most of us are left wanting more.
What is an Adventure?
The solution to this problem is not to work harder to make more money so that we can travel more and live with more adventure. Doing so would likely consume all the spare time we would otherwise spend exploring.
Instead, the answer lies in mindset, in finding ways to turn adventure into a lifestyle that we can live each and every day, no matter where we are in the world.
To do this, it’s important we distill our perspective about an adventurous experience from the experience itself. You may have spent time backpacking around Europe, or hiking in the Himalayas, or exploring America’s national parks. These are adventures, no doubt. But what was it about them that made them so special?
Most of us understand that the place played a role, but it was ultimately how we lived those experiences that defined them. And if we stop to reflect on these experiences, we’ll likely find they included all or some of the following things.
An Open Mind
One of the defining characteristics of an adventure is that we don’t know what’s to come. We might have a plan and expectations, but any adventurer knows there’s no way to predict what will actually happen.
In our day-to-day lives, this type of perspective would probably make us anxious and afraid. No one likes to feel their lives are out of their control. But just because life is difficult to predict doesn’t need to cause us stress. In fact, unpredictability is a cornerstone of life. Allowing it to bother us is like getting mad at the sun for being too bright.
Think about how many times have you showed up to work expecting one thing only to find out everything has changed? If you’re like most people, this is probably every day.
This is very similar to what happens on an adventure, but the only difference is that we weren’t open to the possibility of change before it happened, and so instead of smiling and enjoying the chaos, we become frustrated and upset.
As a result, to live an adventurous lifestyle, it’s crucial you learn to manage expectations. It’s fine to plan, but instead of getting upset when that plan doesn’t work out, embrace it and love it.
This is what you would do if you were traveling in a foreign country, so why not apply it to the rest of your life?
A Focus on the Positive
Imagine you’re traveling by train through Europe. You’ve booked a ticket from Rome to Florence, but when you get to the train station, you find out you misread the date and there are no more trains for the day.
You need to get to Florence soon because you have a flight in a few days and you’ve booked some tours for the final days of your trip, but to get there you will now need to take three trains instead of one, meaning it will take you hours more than you originally planned. Your hotel doesn’t do 24-hour check-in, and you have no internet to book a new one.
It sounds like a disaster, and there are some stressful moments, but everything works out in the end.
When telling this story later to friends and family, you’ll have two options: 1). You can focus on the long, boring train rides, the stress, the frustration, the self-loathing, etc., or 2). You can talk about the beautiful countryside you saw on your extended train trip, the people you met (hopefully), your new hostel, and your ability to simply go with the flow when things go horribly wrong.
When sharing experiences from a trip, most of us will choose the second method. But when talking about daily life, we use the first.
This denies us the ability to enjoy the things that happen to us, even when those things initially inconvenience us. So, to turn your lifestyle into an adventure, make an active effort to focus more on the positive. You’ll find doing so will cause you to stress less about the little things and enjoy life much, much more.
Another key component of an adventure is risk-taking. By its very nature, going on an adventure is a risk simply because we don’t know what’s going to happen. But while so many of us are willing to take risks and try something new when we’re in a different city or country, we’re often rather risk-averse when we’re home.
This lack of risk makes life seem more predictable, less exciting, and less fulfilling. But it doesn’t need to be this way. We can easily take more risks in our everyday life and enjoy the excitement that they bring.
Risks in your everyday life could be as small as trying a new restaurant or going out with a different group of people. Or they could be as large as taking a new job or moving apartments to get a different feel for the city.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you take the perspective that launching yourself into the unknown is what’s best for you in the end.
Lastly, always remember that all adventurers have one thing in common: they’re always looking for the next adventure.
Of course, it’s good to learn how to be happy with what you have, but don’t ever think that just because you had some fun when you were younger you don’t have the right to do so now.
Each and every day is a gift, an opportunity to learn more about who we are and the world in which we live. Don’t ever think you already know what’s going to happen because you simply don’t.
Instead, embrace the fact that every moment is precious and intended to be enjoyed to the maximum.
If you can develop this insatiable thirst for life, then it won’t matter if you’re in the jungles of Myanmar, the streets of Paris, or the park down the street from your house. Life will be an adventure that you can’t wait to live each time the alarm sounds in the early hours of the morning.