By travelling and putting yourself in new and different conditions, you allow room for new things in your life to take place. In the process, you learn a lot more about yourself and your surroundings. Travel and keeping a sense of adventure allows us the opportunity to challenge our own perceptions about the world, learn to become more resilient and live fun-filled lives that aren’t bogged down by routine. If it’s true that familiarity breeds contempt, then a sense of adventure is surely the answer to a fun-filled life of endless discoveries.
Start where you are
To maintain a sense of adventure and be inspired to travel locally, it’s important to start where you are and to work with what you already have. Adventure is dependent on your means. Our sense of adventure is often lost because we’ve somehow managed to convince ourselves that we need to book a flight to Thailand or Dubai before we can declare it an adventure.
A sense of adventure is cultivated by paying attention to your immediate surroundings, being curious and immersing yourself in the thick of things to find out. By starting small and where you are, you allow yourself the chance to explore your neighbouring suburb, town or city and in the process learn more about yourself. Try out every restaurant in your neighbourhood. Forget the flight, the bus and the drive and start with what’s within your walking distance — you’ll be surprised what awaits.
Find out what people around you are doing to open up exciting possibilities right under your nose
To remain curious about your surroundings, it is important to talk to locals, whether you are a visitor or resident. A recluse life away from everyone else can offer a sense of peace and security but it can also quickly result in a lack of awareness in your surroundings and a dull outlook towards life. The only way to find out about the hidden store in the neighbourhood or where to get taxis to Fourways is by asking questions and talking to people living around you. No man is an island, so make an effort to extend yourself in conversation by asking questions pertaining your surroundings.
When was the last time I did something for the first time?
Constantly asking yourself this question is one way to ensure you maintain a sense of fun towards life and to never got bored with life. Write a note somewhere in your house or desk (where you will most likely see it almost every other day) with the question: when was the last I did something for the first time? The more you ponder on this question, the more you will easily come up with creative ways to infuse your life with a sense of novelty and fun.
Never fear a failed experiment, for it’s often a lesson in disguise
We are often scared to try new things, because we fear that things might go wrong. A failed attempt at going to a new restaurant, for example, is a lesson about never going back there again or trying out a new meal the next time. You walk away from a failed adventure with a sense of accomplishment at having tried something new and having learnt something about yourself in the process. You’re better off having tried. After having gone a bit overboard with “trying new things” I learnt that a Bloody Mary was not a refreshing and sweet cocktail!
Keep a short-term bucket list of adventures you’d like to try out in the next week, month or year
After you’ve overcome the idea that travel counts only if it’s overseas, then it’s time to re-adjust your bucket list. Short-term goals are easy to achieve because they aren’t often monumental to accomplish, and the more you accomplish, the more you’re encouraged to reach for bigger ones. Keep a list of restaurants you want to try out this year, create an adventure activities list, write down nearby towns you’d like to visit and what you’d like to do while you’re there. Which nearby hikes do you need to try out in the next two months? Make your short-term bucket list your new companion.
Go somewhere new alone
We’re always inclined to travel with someone else as a familiar cushion for navigating new places. Travelling alone is challenging because of the pressure to constantly rely on yourself to navigate in an entirely new space. But solo travel (micro or macro) presents an opportunity for you to learn things about yourself that you wouldn’t ordinarily learn under any other conditions. Travelling alone, at least occasionally, will give you the confidence to try out new places alone more and have the confidence to manage new conditions with less fear.
Challenge and freshen up your perspective
In your pursuit of adventure, you would be wise to occasionally allow your worldview to be up for discussion. One of the greatest and most educational aspects of travel is the ability to expose yourself to new ways of thinking, new ways of doing things and new ways of being. Never assume your view is the ultimate truth, for it exists in a plurality of truths. Be open to different ways of doing things, even if they challenge your own. This will make you an open-minded person who is open to engaging with and learning from people from different walks of life. When you are a curious and open-minded person, you will want to know more about your surroundings and people around you.
Push yourself beyond what you imagine to be your limitations
Push yourself mentally, emotionally and intellectually. But also push yourself physically with an adventure that requires a bit more than you think your body can do. After two days of having learnt to ride a bike, I was sent to ride a bike on the coast of Mozambique for four days. It was tough. My body was challenged … (someone even suggested towing my bike with a bungee rope. I refused). But it was well worth it. Every time I look back on that adventure, I am reminded that my body can do a bit more than I think and that’s increased my sense of adventure. Try skydiving, bungee jumping, horse-riding, trail running, a multi-day hiking trail, or an MTB challenge. You’ll soon learn that there’s actually very little you can’t do.