I’ll be the first to admit it, I’ve always been an overachiever. In my life there’s always been a new bar to reach, a new challenge, a new goal. And when I fought and met that goal I simply asked myself “Cool, what’s next?”
Although that mentality allowed me to open my own successful single-shingle business, has pushed me up mountains, across deserts and lead me to discover fantastic places throughout the world, it has a dark side as well. There is no room for satisfaction. And when things don’t go your way, you can quickly spiral into a toxic mental state.
With the ongoing pressure from peers, social media and advertising it’s so easy for us outdoorsy folk to get wrapped up in all of the things we aren’t doing. But you know what? Adventure takes many forms and it doesn’t matter how big or small it is. What matters is what that adventure means to you.
Focus on Your Experience
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about adventure, it’s that it’s yours. It doesn’t matter what other people are up to, what matters is your experience. Sure, social media gives us unprecedented access to new ideas, new destinations, and new experiences, but it also gives us an unrealistic view of the world.
So the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling your IG feed, remember that time you saw the sunrise over the mountains. Laugh at that time you missed your flight and your trip got interesting. Don’t let the paths of others cloud your own journey.
Adventure is You
You don’t need to sell all of your belongings, move into a van and spend all of your free time chasing type two epics in order to be an adventurer. All you really need to do is act on a curiosity. Wonder what it’s like to see the sunrise over the desert? Go do it. Looking to experience life in another culture? Save up and travel.
The dictionary defines “adventure” as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” Well right off the bat adventure is defined by you. The words “unusual” and “exciting” are subjective and therefore, you get to define them. Risk and hazard are also subjective concepts, different people define risk differently. So adventure boils down to what you make of it. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
When Something Forces You to Slow Down, Embrace It.
There are things that happen to us that can’t be helped, but our reaction makes all the difference. Recently I was plagued by a double-knee injury. I’ll recover, but it’s been a tough couple of months. My biggest realization was that although I can’t do the activities I love the most, I’m having just as much fun relaxing outside with friends. Sure I can’t brag about my mileage, but I can still get out and smile among the changing aspens.
Just because you’re limited by something, doesn’t mean it has to hold you back. The objective you’re after will always be there, mountains are thousands of years old and they can be climbed another time. Yes, it’s tough to see all of that training get washed down the toilet, but it’s much easier to get back into shape than it is to gain that endurance and strength to begin with.
Instead, focus on what you can do. For me, I spent time watching sunsets with friends, working on my climbing skills and relaxing at nearby lakes with my pup and partner. Whatever it is that has forced you to change course, get creative with your outside time.
Just Get Out There
Don’t fret about if what you are doing is “good enough.” That mindset is toxic. There is always going to be someone who is better, does more and pushes further. Just focus on getting out there! Let go of what you think you should be doing and focus on what you are actually doing. Keeping a present state of mind enables us to fully embrace the moment we are in.
Overall, adventure is about how you define it. You can be into the big, burly missions, or you can enjoy a simple sunset. Both are equally valid. Either way, you’re getting outside and experiencing the world in an exciting way. At the end of the day, it’s all about having a few smiles in a beautiful landscape.