Everyone and their brother is flooding the internet with their adventures — Instagram is full of dreamy photos from trails, tents and mountain tops, you rarely scroll through Twitter without seeing a few #humblebrag #vaguetweets hinting to someone’s big plans and if your Facebook friends are anything like mine they’re always crowdsourcing ideas for breweries, trailheads and more for their next adventure.
Adventure is everywhere. This is a good thing, right?!
Well, yea, it is. Unless you’re new to this hyped up social version of adventure and you’re not sure where to start. All this internet oversharing makes adventuring rather intimidating, even for those of us versed in the discomfort of exploring the unknown.
What if your adventure isn’t as photo worthy of those Instagram accounts you stalk?
Are you experienced enough to survive a mountain hike? If not, how do you get that experience?
What if you don’t actually enjoy remote camping? What if you don’t “find yourself” out on the trail?
Where the heck do you start? Whose advice is accurate? Whose advice is skewed by egos?
And I’m pretty sure those questions just scratch the surface of all the uncertainty new adventurers face when they are eyeballing all the possibilities. Now, I’m not foolish enough to think I can answer all your questions [I’m still learning from plenty of my own mistakes] but I do want to share a bit about how I survived the transition from a city dwelling, 9-5’er to a nomadic, plan-as-you-go wanderer….things I learned along the way that I sort of wished I’d truly believed in when I was chasing down my first adventure!
Start small…make something familiar into an adventure by exploring close to home. Go camping less than an hour away from home. Tag along with patient friends the next time they do something you’re not experienced in [ahem, trail running…climbing…SUP’ing]. Head to that trailhead you keep driving by while thinking “maybe some day”. Just go do something different. If it scares you a bit, good. Be safe, but get your tush out there!
Do what makes YOU smile. It seems obviously, right? But sometimes it’s not. When you’re watching other people flaunting their stunning campsites and mind blowing mountain views a stifling urge to compete with that rises up…or at least it does for me. For me this feeling makes some of my own “must do” trips seems too small or too boring. Psht. If you’re out there having fun and finding your own little bubble of happy who cares? No one. And you won’t care either once you out there. Again, just get yourself out there!
Ignore the pressure to “create content”. I am making some assumptions with this one but I think it’s a pretty safe bet you like sharing your stories online, right? I mean, you’re reading this on Teton Sports’ site…the brand behind the #hikerchat community. Either way, my biggest bit of advice for truly enjoying yourself once you do get outside is to make sure you’re taking it all in and enjoying for what it is in that moment…not what it could become in a future blog post or Instagram post. By all means, take pictures! Just don’t forget to take time to enjoy it while you’re out there experiencing it. If the words + photos don’t look perfect later it doesn’t matter, the important part of adventuring is being in that moment while you’re out there. Trust me, the photos will never, ever do it justice!
Like I said, I’m no genius…but I have learned a thing or three while out exploring on my own. Even now, with miles of experience on my trail shoes I will catch myself overanalyzing the what if’s of an upcoming trip or getting wrapped up in things that pull me away from the immediate experience. At the end of the day you just have to lace up whatever shoes you choose to adventure in and go chase down adventure!
Surviving just one adventure will do two things for you. First, you’ll want more. If everything goes right [it probably won’t] you’ll be scheming up your next adventure before you get back to your car. If things go awry but you survive [you probably will] it may take a few weeks before you’re gung-ho for your next trip but it’ll happen, trust me.
Second, you’ll learn just how much you are capable of. The truly adventurous parts of all these adventures are the parts that don’t go as planned…you’ll get creative and learn how to roll with the punches. When you realize you can survive whatever Mother Nature + karma throws your way you’ll find that imaginary line that creates your comfort zone has shifted a bit. You’ll learn a lot about yourself as you discover new ways to survive adventures.