January 19, 2017 by James Kell

How To Be More Adventurous

Want more adventure? Here are some tips.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

"I need to have an adventure."

― You, about five minutes ago.


Gus Kell "let's just take a selfie", halfway across the Atlantic

There is usually a tipping point to asking yourself the adventure question. Nowadays your social media feed provides a lot of opportunity. An Instagram photo of your mate summiting a peak.  Facebook updates of friends sailing in the Mediterranean. Or even your buds who managed to secure a house on a random beach in the Caribbean for a long weekend.  That same question in one of its forms raises its head: "how can I be more adventurous?".

If you're asking that question you're not alone.  It is a challenge to maintain balance in life, with adventure taking a back seat to one’s career, family, friends and other goings on.  Adventure, or its lack thereof, can creep up on us.  

I would put to you the biggest obstacle to adventure is willingness.  Next is ideas.  Then you head to the more practical obstacles like time and money. Those with time are normally hard-up for money. And vice-versa; if you have a well paying job you normally have a hard time taking leave.  If you have both a well paying job *and* have time, then there's absolutely no excuse to get out there!  Here is a well written post justifying adventure in case need more convincing.

As with many things in life, the beginning of all this is willingness.  The fact that you’ve read this far suggest you have that box ticked. So let’s move on.

Let's take a look at the question of "how can I be more adventurous?" by breaking it up into two parts.  The "how can I" part (how) and the "adventurous" part (ideas). Given the adventure part concerns ideas about what is on offer, let's look at that first. Then we can look at just how you can get into the adventure you are choosing.

Adventurous Ideas

Adventure is not just good for the stories.  It's good for your brain. There are so many options to choose from, even if you live in a big city.  Let's start with the end in mind.  We do this as the journey to your goal is all part of the adventure.  Go crazy with your ambition here.

With adventures I think something that sounds like a good story to tell your family (sometimes after the event!) is a nice place to start. You might want to climb Mount Cook in New Zealand (a difficult, tremendously beautiful mountain).  Or sail across the Atlantic (not as hard as it sounds; worth it).  Or ride horses across Mongolia in the middle of winter, kite-skiing when the wind was up (we did this in 2010.  It’s cold.).  We will look at those three examples: climbing, skiing and the wild card option.

"Life is either a great adventure or nothing."

― Helen Keller

Stepping Stones To Adventure (aka the How)

Now you have an awesome sounding goal.  A goal so ambitious that at first blush you'd say it can't be done.  Perfect.  Let's work with that.  Now it's a case of breaking this goal down into steps.  Each step should be fun in its own right (that whole journey / destination truism).  Examples of the three (climbing, sailing, wild card) shown below.  You can certainly skip steps and find a more direct route to your goal.  This is merely to give you an indication:

  1. Climb A Serious Mountain

(Timeframe, around 12 months)

how-to-climb-a-serious-mountain-more-adventurous© Sailing Virgins 2016 - Feel free to use this, just clearly attribute sailingvirgins.com

  • Find out climbing gyms in your area
  • Put your name on the board (if you're on your own) to find a partner
  • Do the introduction course they offer
  • Meet other climbers
  • Find out who is climbing outside and how to join them
  • Get some outside weekends away
  • Find out about a mountaineering school
  • Do a Technical Mountaineering Course
  • Either at the same time or later, book to climb Mount Cook
  • Climb it baby
  • Tick it off.  Adventure complete. 

"It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves - in finding themselves."

― Andre Gide

  1. Sail Across The Atlantic

(timeframe: from three to twelve months)

how-to-cross-an-ocean-more-adventure© Sailing Virgins 2016 - Feel free to use this, just clearly attribute sailingvirgins.com

  • Head on a sailing week like The Yacht Week, Yachts & Friends or The Soul Sail
  • ...or do another liveaboard sailing adventure somewhere
  • Find out about local sailing clubs and schools in your area
  • Put down for a sailing course (like the ASA 101)
  • btw learn the bowline properly. Pleeease. :)
  • See if you can join weekly races on offer at the sailing club
  • Head down to the Caribbean
  • Do a week-long fast-track sailing course with a school there
  • Head to crewfinder.net and a few other sites
  • Keep abreast of notices in your local sailing club
  • Apply for some sort of passage: anything that spans a few days
  • Expect to have it be "cost neutral".  Normally you need to pay for your own food.
  • Once you have done this, head back to crewfinder.net, look for a Transat
  • Sail across the Atlantic
  • Buy a pair of long red pants. You've earned it. For more info check here. 

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.”

― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

  1. Wild Card Adventure

(timeframe, around six months. But hey this is a wild card adventure. It could be anything.)

Things are fundamentally different for this kind of adventure.  This is about adventure for its own sake.  In the case of riding across Mongolia the very idea came about from a philosophy of "choose the hard way" (the reasoning behind this deserves another post).  In other words, for every decision point we decided to choose the more difficult option.  Where is a difficult sounding country?  Mongolia.  When should we head there?  Mid winter, when temperatures hover around -50ºC (-58ºF). Brisk. How should we cross the country? By horse and camel. What if the wind comes up? Kiteski.  Here is an article in Australian Geographic about that particular adventure.

Mongolia. No Engines. from fourcousins on Vimeo.

One key to a wild-card adventure is to "collect" sports and skills so they can be used in creative ways down the track.  Opportunity to learn to scuba? Take it. Horse riding course? Do it. Kite surfing lessons? Go for it. Grab those opportunities when they come your way. Then when you want to do a "meta-adventure" featuring one or more of those activities, you will be able to.

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Adventure is something we as humans are programmed to do.  Yet as the world becomes “safer” or at least more urbanised, the opportunities for adventure are not as automatic as they once were.  Yet we need adventure. This post puts three adventures to you in a “join the dots” formula to show you that if you have willingness, it’s yours for the taking. There are plenty of ways to reach your goal. This post suggests two. They are not the be-all, rather they simply hope to inspire you to have a go!

Writer James Kell founded Sailing Virgins in 2016.  Sailing Virgins takes regular people and turns them into sailing skippers.  These liveaboard, fast-track courses are run over seven days out of Sailing Virgins’ base in Tortola, the main island of the British Virgin Islands.  Click here to find out more information on sailing courses.



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