10 Tips For Living An Adventurous Life
We weren’t always this adventurous. In fact, we used to not even camp!!! For the first twelve years of our marriage, our vacations always revolved around a condo in Hawaii. It wasn’t until our fourth child was born that I got the itch to do something more.
Step 1: Desire, it’s a must
Do you have the desire to be adventurous?
Desire is definitely the first ingredient if you want to be more adventurous. Like I say in my book 1000 Miles of Memories…
“When you set out with the DESIRE to see new things, to meet new people, to experience more, the universe will conspire to make it happen.”
For me, the desire started out as curiousity. I wondered what national parks looked like, if my kids would like hiking, what it would be like to spend nights around the campfire. That same curiosity is still the driving force behind all our travels today.
Desire is the backbone for all accomplishments. If you don’t want it, you won’t work for it. Conflicting desires (or lack of desire) can also become a major source of conflict years down the road (Have you read my book, The Road Less Traveled?!). Take it from me, figure out your desires now and talk to your significant other about them. With the right desire and a plan aligned with those desires, adventure–or happiness, wealth, and health for that matter–can be easily attained.
Step 2: Start Small
Before we started camping and road trips, we just did bonfires once a week in the summer. At the time, my kids were young and just the excitement of packing the van with firewood, a barbecue, chair, and food was adventurous. I honestly didn’t even have the desire at the time to be this adventurous. One thing just led to another and five years later I’m in Barcelona complaining about being bored becasue there are no waves, rock walls, or trails. Along the way, we did a lot of weekend trips at local campgrounds and short weekend trips to the desert. I look at my life a series of ninety degree turns.
One thing always leads to another and it wasn’t until a many years later that my crazy obsession for road trips and waking up in a new location every day took root. Listen to your heart and be ready to take a small step, even if it seems like a big one at the time.
Step 3: Gradual Progression
Once you’ve got a few easy adventures under your belt, start pushing yourself. Seriously, for our first road trip, I rented a35-foott class A, handed Victor the keys and said “Were going to the Sequoias!” He white-knuckled it the entire drive up and was positive a bear was going to crawl into the RV window while we were sleeping and maul our children. It was great for us though. We learned so much about ourselves on that trip and quickly realized that we needed more nature in our lives. If we had stayed in our comfort zone of only camping locally, we would’ve missed out on this growth and so many adventures that have taken place since then.
Just remember that gradual progression includes progression! To be advnetuours, you should constantly be pushing your boundaries just a little bit more.
Step 4: Find a WOW Factor
Our first few road trips weren’t easy. Mishaps happen. In fact, they still do. But having that WOW factor on your trip helps keep everything in perspective. On one of our first long road trips, we blew a trailer tire at the top of a mountain. It took an hour to find how to access the spare, then we blew another trailer tire an hour later right before Phoenix (no spares now) and barely hobbled to drop the trailer at a tire center in Phoenix at midnight. It was exhausting, stressful, and a bit costly. But on that same trip, we camped on the shores of Lake Powell having huge bonfires under what felt like a million stars (with bats flying overhead), spent a day inner tubing and water skiing on Lake Powell, enjoyed our first trip to Zion (my favorite NP), and rock climbed at The Pit in Flagstaff.
If we had just camped locally at the nearby beach, we would’ve had fun, but it might not have been enough adventure to offset the stress and cost of two tires.
And the same goes for hiking adventures. We’ve covered a lot of miles on foot. Now, we prefer to cover our miles as vertically as possible because the wow factor is just so big when you’re standing on mountain peaks or by glacial alpine lakes that it’s worth the blisters and tired feet.
Step 5: Get Off The Beaten Path
I’ve found the more off the beaten path I can get, the more I enjoy my adventures. An easy way to start this is at a National Park. If you hike the easy footpaths, they tend to be very crowded. But as soon as you venture to the moderate to strenuous hikes, the crowds tend to thin and the rewards for your effort begin to rise exponentially. A good example is hiking Observation Point in Zion. This is a wonderful hike, but lesser known, which means you will be passing dozens of hikers instead of hundreds of hikers, even though the views are equivocal. Check out my favorite hikes of 2017 here.
Step 6: Rationalize Your Fears
We all are scared of something, myself included.
What if I get stung by a scorpion in Costa Rica? What if I fall while climbing? What if my kids get sick in Bali? What if I see a snake while hiking?
I have all these fears and more. But what keeps me from not giving into them is rationality. I take calculated risks. I plan out scenarios. I play my odds. And for a lot of things I just tell myself that if it’s out of my control, it’s not worth wasting energy worrying about.
I know how hard it is though to do all that because I’m married to a worrier. He’s gotten a lot better, but he still gets nervous anytime we move around–whether it’s halfway across the globe, from one state to another, or even one European village to another.
Repetition has been key. He no longer gets nervous at places we’ve already been to. Now he asks me to go to places like national parks and Hossegor, France (see…desire is surfacing!)
Assessing the risk is very important. Obviously, you don’t want to start rock climbing on your own if you’ve never rock climbed before. But rock climbing on top rope with a guide is extremely safe. Some of my all-time favorite hikes have a great deal of exposure (meaning you are close to the edge) but it would be extremely hard to fall off of these hikes.
The mind can play crazy tricks and it’s up to us to slow down those racing thoughts and pounding heart rates to assess the actual risk.
Tip: If you are afraid of heights, practice overcoming that fear without your kids around at first. One, because you don’t want to project your fears on them. And two, the thought of something happening to our kids brings out our worst primal fears and it will be hard to work on overcoming your fear of heights when you are worried about your child falling off.
Step 7: Set Yourself Up For Success
When it comes to outdoor sports adventures like climbing, not only is repetition key, but so is setting yourself up physically for success. Making sure you have a little sugar and protein. When you get nervous, you burn through your sugars very fast. I recommend you have a cookie or bar in those situations, but make sure to follow it up with a fat or protein like nuts, jerky, or salami so you don’t get the follow up low blood sugar either. If you need help with this, check out our Eat To Play course. Also, make sure you’ve gotten a good nights sleep before you tackle a new activity. Personally, I take a ZMA every night when I’m training a lot to help me recover and get a good nights sleep. If you find yourself often getting low blood sugar or hangry, you might want to address your adrenal health and take some easy steps to feel better.
Step 8: Get in Better Physical Shape
Also, get yourself in the best physical conditioning that you can. Vic’s coaching series is perfect for building strength, flexibility, and endurance for your next adventure. He also helps you with managing aches and pains that tend to creep up on us as we age. Yep, it happens to me too.
Step 9: Try Different Elements
If you still have trouble being adventurous, maybe you haven’t found your element. I have an entire blog on this. For me, I had no idea how happy being in the mountains was going to make me. I didn’t realize this about myself until I was almost 40! Maybe you’re a water person or need snow. Check out my blog and how knowing my kids’ elements has helped me with parenting them.
Step 10: Alway Improve Your Skill Set
I may seem extremely adventurous but I’m really not when I compare myself to most climbers and surfers. The thing is that I love the action of doing it more than the competitiveness of being the best or even really good. I’m not on a strict training for my sports, but when I do them, I am giving it my all. The cool part is that every year I do improve. If you continue to push yourself, try your hardest, and take care of your body you’ll be amazed at where your adventure may take you years from now.
The cool part is that every year I do improve. If you continue to push yourself, try your hardest, and take care of your body you’ll be amazed at where your adventure may take you years from now.
It’s never too late. This summer, in maple canyon, I met the camp host, who was in her sixties, and shredded btw, who told us how she climbs 5.13 regularly and that she had only been climbing 24 years, which meant she was about the same age I was when I first started climbing (38).
I’m not sure if climbing that level will be my goal, but I sure was inspired to keep trying to improve my skill set and see where it takes me.
Need more help? Hire a guide!
Taking baby steps, having the right mindset, creating a wow factor, and being physically fit are all great ways to live a more adventurous life. But sometimes it’s nice to take the worry and pressure off by just hiring a guide. That’s how I got hooked on climbing. I was lucky to have the perfect guide who set me up for success and nurtured my skills in a safe and progressive way.
That’s the idea behind our guided family road trips for next summer. We want to nurture other families through an outdoor adventure road trip so they can experience the beauty and excitement of nature and adventure. We’ve taught kids gymnastics and worked as trainers for over 20 years. One of our gifts is being able to understand people’s needs and take them through steps in a gradual progression. Whether it’s learning a cartwheel, cleaning up their diet, hiking to the top of a mountain, climbing their first rock wall, or camping. We are here to help others live a more adventurous life.