Wander Well: 5 Ways To Adventure Well & More Often
As Richard Branson once said, "If happiness is the goal - and it should be, then adventures should be a priority."
The research agrees. This Psychology Today study is one of many that shows spending money on experiences, rather than things, brings us more happiness and fulfillment. The happiness derived from material possessions diminishes once we become used to them, but our experiences give us rich memories which become a part of us forever.
So what exactly constitutes an adventure? While adventure is defined as an exciting or remarkable experience, especially the exploration of unknown territory, I also believe it's a state of mind. When we choose to view things with fresh eyes, we open ourselves to the possibility of new experiences. The best part of an adventure is the way it requires us to use all of our senses and be fully present in the moment.
If you love to travel and are yearning for such fulfilling experiences more than a couple times a year, below are ways you can be intentional about creating space for more frequent, life-giving adventures:
1. Budget For Travel
I know the B-word isn't always popular (or exciting), but one of the main reasons people give for not traveling or trying new things is lack of financial resources. So instead of thinking of a budget as a restriction, view it as permission to spend on certain things. Think of your finances as energy you exchange for something you value, and make sure your spending habits reflect your values. If traveling is something you aspire to do, start by setting aside a portion of income each month for that alone. Having a trip to intentionally save for gives you something to look forward to, and helps you savor the experience all the more. And just think, the next time a friend wants to take a spontaneous weekend trip, you'll be in a better position to say yes on a whim and enjoy a fun adventure, without the financial stress!
2. Look Local
While the word adventure certainly conjures up images of glacier hikes in Iceland or visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, don't ignore the possibilities that may be closer than you think! It's easy for us to grow accustomed to our surroundings, especially once we've established a routine. Do a little research and find things to do or see that are within driving distance, and head out on a day trip. Or pretend you're a tourist visiting your town for the very first time: where would you go? What would you do? By choosing to look at the familiar with a fresh perspective, you may be surprised at what you discover in your own backyard!
3. Create a Travel Vision Board
Most people have a list about a mile long of places they'd like to see in the world. However, 'out of sight, out of mind' and we easily become sidetracked with busy schedules. Which is why keeping your goals and priorities in view can help you make decisions that better represent what you truly want. Go buy a simple board and print off or cut out photos of places you dream of traveling to one day. Then, set a tentative date for when you'd like to go, and start saving! I love using My Bucket List by Axel and Ash to plan and journal about my adventures. Having tangible travel goals helps create a sense of excitement and motivation, so we remain focused and are able to satisfy our wanderlust.
4. Prepare Well
You're probably not going to enjoy an experience if you're "hangry" or freezing, and you won't be going very far in those shoes that give you horrible blisters (speaking from experience here). Anytime you're exploring a new place, you're going to need plenty of energy and the appropriate attire. So make sure you have snacks, water bottles, good shoes, and versatile clothes on hand (a first-aid kit and an epic playlist are also top priorities!). It's pretty disheartening when you have the energy and desire to keep going, but you're so physically uncomfortable that you don't enjoy the journey. When we're well nourished and properly dressed, we're ready for anything, whether that be wading through a stream, hiking up a mountain, or exploring a new city on foot!
5. Maintain a Positive Mindset
At their core, adventures are what we make of them. You may not be able to control your surroundings or other people for that matter, but you can absolutely control yourself. Whatever you look for, you're likely to find it. So stay on the lookout for silver linings from seemingly annoying circumstances, and potential opportunities from the detours you encounter. Adventures rarely go perfectly according to plan, and with the right mentality, the unexpected hiccups could end up being some of the most memorable moments.
Where will you be adventuring to next?