Written by Kitvision Ambassador, Extreme Hiker and author of @InspiredToLive - Maxine Erasmus
For many the concept of ‘adventure’ means expense, commitment and fear. However, Oxford English Dictionary defines it is ‘an unusual and exciting or daring experience’ - that doesn’t sound so scary, does it?
We can define it but essentially I believe that adventure is different for everyone and it comes in many forms. My love of adventure started in 2014, with the first of our travels, and yes, it was an expense, and a pretty big commitment and I was scared. In fact my nickname soon became the ‘reluctant explorer’ because I wanted to be in all of those places and do all the exciting things we were doing but along for the ride came my fear, and that was ok.
In those two years we walked to Everest Base Camp, trekked and slept in the world’s third largest cave, backpacked through South and Central America and worked and lived in Australia for a year. It was a wonderful experience and my fear travelled alongside my excitement the whole way. The funny thing is, after you’ve said yes to the first ‘adventure’ it does get a lot easier to say yes to the next. You just get used to the fear being there and you learn how to suppress it a little.
Last year I became an Ambassador for Kitvision, and my fiancé Tom and I walked the Appalachian Trail in the USA; every single grueling mile of the 2,189.6 mile trail (when you’ve walked that far the .6 counts), through 14 states, from Georgia, to Maine. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but worth every blister, tear and fall because I proved to no one but myself that I had the grit and the determination to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying everyone should sign up to the Appalachian Trail because over the course of the last 4 years one of the most important things I have discovered is that adventure doesn’t just count for the big things and you don’t have to walk to Everest Base Camp to get your ‘adventure badge’. Adventure is in the tiny steps you take in just trying something new, in the attitude that comes with agreeing to go somewhere you’ve never been, and with that will come a little piece of adventure that will stick with you forever. Adventure is having the fear but doing it anyway; whether it’s applying for new job, booking a different kind of holiday or trying an activity like ice skating for the first time.
I think more people need adventure in their lives and by that I mean a little bit more spontaneity, a burst of bravery to try something different and the grit to see it through, and by all means you can take your fear with you. I sure do, every time!
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve never just gone and done it? Now is the time to try, you are in control so, whether it’s eating Thai food for the first time, riding on a Segway or going skydiving. You can make it happen; search online for a restaurant near you and go, book that Segway experience or start saving - it’s as simple as that. If you want something bad enough, you will make it happen.
Drive to work every day? Why not try the train? You can sit back and look out the window, see the world with new eyes, listen to music or read that book you’ve wanted to start and then enjoy a sunny spring walk from the station to the office and start the day a little bit differently. Who knows what could happen next! Or at the weekend, leave the car at home, choose a nearby town to visit and get the train there. Walking allows you to explore; no parking or directions to worry about, you’re totally free to go anywhere, just walk and see where your feet take you!
You don’t need to take holiday or a whole weekend to visit a new town or city. Get the train or drive, there’s bound to be somewhere within an hour’s journey away from home that you have never been to, am I right? Take our historic capital, Winchester for example, a beautiful city with so much to see. The Great Hall and the Round Table, the Cathedral and grounds (perfect for picnics) and the historic cobbled high street, great for wanders and coffee shops. What’s stopping you, go explore and feel how great it is to have a mini adventure.
Sometimes adventure is about finding a new activity to try and getting outside. Find a nearby walking route online, dust the bicycles off or hire them, or even book a horse ride. Whatever you do, getting outside and immersing yourself in nature, getting a bit grubby and hearing the birds sing is an adventure away from the office, house and all the screens we’ve filled our lives with. Plus, it gives you that been-outside-playing-all-day-tiredness you had every day as a child. So go have fun outside.
Sometimes we don’t really take time to explore where we live. So why not enjoy being a tourist for a day. Go see the sights, do the local tour or visit the local museum and learn more about where you live. In the New Forest there’s the fantastic New Forest Bus with audio commentary about the wildlife, villages and history of the National Park and you can hop on and off all day to see more of the quaint countryside towns, pubs and even stop off for a delicious cream tea somewhere!
It’s easy to get into a routine when it comes to cooking at home and dining out. We tend to make the same things for ease and go to the same restaurants because we love them but sometimes adventure is found in the trying, not just the enjoying, of new flavours and experiences. So it’s time to mix it up, cook with a new recipe, try some new ingredients or go to that restaurant you’ve always heard about but have never been. If you’re trying a new cuisine for the first time, tell your server that it’s your first visit, they may be able to recommend a few dishes or go with friend or partner and pick a few different dishes; that way you have more chance of finding something you like, you can try more than one dish and really get a true experience of the cuisine.
Often truly finding time to relax is its own adventure; we are too busy to give our mind and body a chance to stop and unwind, so perhaps your next adventure could be to make time to relax; try some mindfulness meditation or if you’ve never tried yoga, find a guided session online or at a local sports centre. Or book yourself an afternoon at a spa or in for a massage. Looking after ourselves is not always an indulgence but a necessity. A clear mind and relaxed body can de-stress and help us to cope with all other aspects of life. An adventure of its own.
So, now that you know how to find some adventure in your life, what’s it going to be? Put the calendar down this weekend, put the diary on the shelf and just go for it. You can’t book in a time or date for spontaneity; you just have to make it happen. The biggest step is agreeing to do it, after that there’ll be no stopping you.
So go find it and happy adventuring to all!
Go for it! Spontaneity never felt so good. Book your New Forest Escape today and enjoy your micro-adventure in the enchanting forest soon!
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