How to plan YOUR perfect adventure
We live in a world where professional athletes, influencers, and weekend warriors alike are constantly putting out extreme, epic adventure content. Just spending 30 seconds scrolling through social media or watching the trailer of the most recent Nat Geo expedition film can inspire you to ramp up your adventure planning. But how do you know how to choose the right adventure for you and your skill level? While one blogger may have incredibly rad photos of the ‘avalanche-at-any-moment’ conditions, the thought of partaking in that makes your stomach drop. But on another hand, the calm hike on heavily trafficked trails that your friend suggested may be a bit too tame for you.
So how do you create the perfect adventure for YOU? We suggest finding one that offers both challenging moments and familiarity. Life is short and you don’t want to settle into something that’s comfortable and easy for too long because of the tendency to become complacent. There’s no challenge. There’s nothing pushing you to become better. There’s no real incentive to dig your heels in and conquer the task. On the flip side, you may not want to opt for adventures that are constantly putting you (or your adventure partners) on the edge of danger to where you’re biting off a little more than you can chew.
Does any of the above sound familiar? Regardless of where you are at in your adventure planning, here are a few tips that are taken from my years as an athletic coach and elite cyclist that will also help you navigate the mountains.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. Just like the importance of learning new skills at work and pushing your intellectual limits, it’s also beneficial to get a little uncomfortable periodically by trying a new activity. Choose something that offers just enough of a challenge that it may be scary for a few moments, but is safe and manageable. The experience you will have by coming out on the other side will pay dividends down the road in every area of life.
- Appreciate progress. We don’t turn into Alex Honnold or Lindsey Vonn overnight (or...ever), but the skills needed for your dream adventure of razor sharp cliffs and double black ski slopes aren't available on amazon prime...the skills won’t show up two days after you start. Just like progress in your career or school, it may feel overwhelming at first, but little by little, week by week, season by season, you’ll get closer and closer to achieving skills needed for that next level. Be patient and create small milestones. Slowly increase difficulty as your confidence and skills grow.
- Leverage your motivators. Everyone has an ideal adventure environment and motivation isn’t always available 24/7. If you know you hate tropical climates, don’t agree to go with a friend on a ten day trip to Peru. Choose a destination and type of adventure where you enjoy the scenery and climate enough to still have joy when the moments of struggle arrive. Every adventure has its challenges, but they don’t have to include unnecessary amounts of bugs, humidity, snow and ice, or whatever else you don’t fancy. You’ll be much more inclined to push through the hard moments if you enjoy the environment.
- Schedule breaks. You don’t have an endless supply of energy. Think of yourself as a battery that needs to be recharged throughout the day. If you’re going out on an all or multi-day adventure, it’s important to have conversations with the people you’re with (or yourself, if solo) when you want to take breaks to refuel and rest. This can be critical, especially if you are with a group where half want to stop for photos or snack time, and the other half want to keep going. Have those conversations ahead of time.
- Prioritize your mental health. Life can feel like a race all by itself. Your adventure doesn’t need to give you stress. The whole point of adventuring is to get away from the complications of life and nourish your soul. If you feel pressured to take on challenges bigger than you’re ready for, it’s okay to say no. We live on a beautiful planet with countless trails and adventures to be had. It is perfectly okay to decline things that you aren’t ready for and focus on yourself.
Lastly, remember that adventures are supposed to be fun and memorable. Plan trips that excite you with people you care about who are patient, fun to be with, and present. Look for the winning combination of familiar difficulty combined with a few new challenges to keep you on your toes and sharpen your skills. Set small targets that you can hit along the way so that the end adventure goal doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to push your limits, but never be afraid to rest or ask for help either. The world is yours to adventure. Make them all a unique and memorable experience for you.