In theory it’s as easy as putting on a cowboy hat and yelling giddy-up, but after we turn 12 these things start to get more complicated. We assume that ‘adventure’ takes a plane ticket and an astronomical budget. Or we think it means we have to quit our day job. Or that we have to sell all our shoes and swap TP for maple leafs. Whatever our first inclination of adventure is, it never seems easy.
So we put it off, or when we do get the opportunity we usually paint over it with the help of Pantone.
But the truth is, there are so many simple things we can do to ensure we step out of our comfort zone and into the next John Wayne movie it’s alarming that so many people stay on this side of the tracks.
So, as summer approaches, i’ve rounded up the 5 easiest steps to guarantee your next trip to the grocery store is epic.
1// Forget it
There’s nothing like accidentally leaving your cell phone at home that jump starts the adventurous spirit — that is, if you can prevent yourself from turning around to go and get it. Some of my best adventures have been when I’ve accidentally forgotten something at home; a cell phone, a charger, the hotel name, the bug spray, my passport . . .
So, passport exempt, why don’t you go out on a limb and purposefully leave something you rely on at home? I don’t mean forget to bring enough water for your hike, but surely you can manage without your Google Maps. People were hiking long before we had access to satellites. Or, if that sounds too daunting, what about forgetting your list of recommended food stops. Sure, I love taking Instagram’s advice when it comes to choosing restaurants (and seriously, this taco place in Portland was the best advice Insta-advice I’ve ever taken), but there’s something extra special about being the person to discover a new gem — not knowing if you’re going to get the best or worst club sandwich of your life.
Adventure isn’t about planning ahead, it’s about being prepared for whatever lies ahead. So go ahead and forgetaboutit.
2// Trust your gut
Once you leave some of those comfort necessities behind, you’re stuck with your own intuition to lead the way. Yeah, that’s a scary thought if your intuition once led you to eat Oysters from a road-side stand in Ohio, but we live and we learn and our gut tends to remember those sorts of experiences. Trusting your gut isn’t as woo-woo as it sounds, either. It’s not just about how the look of the gas station washroom makes you feel, it’s about tapping into our God-given ability to solve problems and find our way without Siri.
Sure, I mix up my lefts and rights when left to my own devises, but that’s all part of the fun. If I’m feeling left, you best believe we’re going left. So go ahead and make the executive decision and for the first time since your 12th birthday go ahead and say “because I say so.”
3// Say yes
No, not to the dress. Although, you can do that too if the spirit moves you. The entire point of an adventure is to experience the unknown and we all know that ain’t going to happen if you’re letting fear be your chauffeur. Yeah, I’ll admit, there have been times when I’ve told Steve to keep driving because I don’t like the sketchy vibes I’m getting from a corner-store on the Mexican border, but I’ll blame that on my gut. Saying “no” isn’t going to get you on the path to excitement.
Saying “yes” on the other hand will encourage you to put one foot in front of the other and the rest is all history . . .
4// Hold On
As Hunter S. Thompson would say, if you buy the ticket, you take the ride. Once you say yes, you’re in the throes of it. You roll with the wrong turns, laugh at the stranger’s joke, buy the cola with the fuzzy lid, pull over in the middle of nowhere to pee in the shrubs . . .
The hardest part is getting started — once you’re moving the Universe will do the rest. By holding on we reassure ourselves that we are open to new experiences, whatever they may be. We acknowledge that we’re uncomfortable, but we talk ourselves through it one second at a time and trust that through this we will learn, we will stretch and we will grow.
By holding on, we give credit where credit is due.
5// Ride it out
You know, that scene in Finding Nemo where it’s all “duuuude,” “wooooah,” “gnarllllyyyy.”
Once you’re in the middle of the desert there’s no where to go but through it. You can let go and just ride it out. Not all adventures are great ones and not all adventures are a blast, but we knew that before we even started. We don’t seek out adventure because we enjoy staying in Hilton hotels and asking four times for no ice out of fear. We want adventure because that’s not enough for us. We want something real.
& if there’s one thing we know about reality it’s that the seats aren’t always comfortable, the potholes aren’t always filled in and sometimes, the airbags are going to break our noses.
So here’s to adventure! What is this summer pulling you toward?