How to Have an Adventure and be the Hero of Your Own Story
Last week, I wrote an article on how to start your own adventure. Whatever your goal is, treat it like an adventure and it will be a whole lot more fun to get there.
This week, I’d like to talk about what to do when you actually start your adventure. Like the heroes in stories, the true heart of our tale is in the path to success. The end of the book is just that – the end. The real beef is in the middle with all that messy stuff.
Without adventure, life is dull. Yet, so many people embrace the end result and throw the adventure away. They’re so busy trying to get to the end that the miss all the important stuff.
Unless you embrace adventure, you’re going to be unhappy and worse – bored.
So, now that you’re packed, you’ve got your map and you’re ready to go, it’s time to hit the road.
So Now What?
Now that you’re on your merry way, here are a few tips for having the best adventure you possibly can on your way to complete your quest.
- Take the road less traveled – Adventure isn’t adventure if everybody’s doing it. Sure you could take a trip to Paris like everyone else – or you could visit the Pantanal Wetlands in Brazil. You could do boot camp or you could take a circus aerial class. The road less travelled is almost always a more worthwhile experience. If something looks more fun – but more dangerous – then why pick the boring option? There won’t be a next time around. Make your adventure worth having.
- Take a single step – You can’t get to where you’re going without taking a step forward. You can plan and pack and make maps and gather friends, but if you’re going to stop there then there’s no point. You have to move forward. You don’t even have to move a lot. Even getting to the top of Everest takes slow, calculated movements – one at a time. Sign up for a dance class. Put $10 in a jar to fund your trip. Once you know what road you’re taking, take a step down that road. Now. Right now.
- Enjoy every minute – There is a reason we love adventure stories. We wish that we were on those adventures. We live vicariously through heroes from the safety of our homes. But what would the story be if the hero was complaining the whole time or she gave up and went home? It wouldn’t be a very good story. Make yours a great story. Learn to enjoy the process for what it is more than for the end result. Therein lies adventure.
- Fight the bad guys – Every adventure has its ups and downs. Every hero has his enemies. But again, the story wouldn’t be so good if the hero tucked tail and fled every time he hit a snag. The best heroes are the ones who stand up and fight. It’s all part of the adventure. In order to complete your quest, there are bad guys you have to face. Maybe it’s your sweet tooth, maybe it’s lack of time for playing. Whatever it is, you have to learn how to fight. Each time you fight, you learn a little bit more and you become more skillful at your fighting. No excuses. Face your enemies head on.
- Eat well – If you don’t have the right fuel for your journey, you won’t get to where you’re going. And you will be cranky and tired the whole time. Eating well is the very foundation of pretty much everything in our lives. Food affects our entire bodies and can help or hinder our goals. Perfect your hunter/gatherer skills and pick out the best foods to help you complete your quest.
- Get outside – It’s hard to journey while lying in bed. And while I suppose it is possible, without Disney magic, it’s not very likely to happen. Adventure happens outside. It doesn’t even have to be outside outside. It could be outside your comfort zone. Whatever it is, don’t sit there alone and in the dark. Nothing will ever happen. Adventure will not come to you, you have to look for it out there.
- Learn along the way – What is the point of going on a journey if you don’t learn anything from it? How boring would it be if you read a long book only to come to the end and find your hero has learned nothing? Super boring. Every time you hit a bump, every opportunity you can find, learn something. There is a whole universe of knowledge waiting to be known and the best way to do that is to open your mind and experience things.
- Embrace fear – Fear is often seen as a negative emotion, but I think fear can be a good thing. If you let fear master you, then you will spend your life small and alone in the dark. But if you master fear and use it as a tool, it can lead you to great adventures. Fear is a guide. Fear will show you the path least travelled. It will lead you to great victories. Ask yourself what you really fear, find out what you’re most afraid of and head in that direction. You will find the biggest treasures down that road.
- Make discoveries – What’s an adventure without discovery? Be your own Indiana Jones and find something new to share with the world. You don’t have to sail across the globe and discover a new island. Although that would be awesome. Anything you do, you will find something new that you can share with the world. Be your own science experiment. Find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Learn how to make new things or do new things. Whatever it is, get out there and expand your horizons.
- Get messy – Life is not perfect. It is never sunshine and rainbows all the time. We need rain to make the plants grow, we need fire to fertilize the earth, we need dirt and sweat and blood and tears to make a real life. You might reach your goal, but there will always be another quest behind it. The books we read, the TV shows we watch, the video games we play all end and are usually wrapped up in a neat little bow, but life is not like that. We will never really reach the end until we die. All those little shadows, bumps and chips in the paint are all part of the final product. Just like you embrace the fear, embrace the mess. Take those little areas of life that don’t fit neatly into your plan and see them as opportunities. Get messy, jump in the mud and laugh while you’re doing it.
- Tell your story – Keep a journal, update twitter or Facebook, find a forum to post in, write a book. It doesn’t matter. Adventures are meant to be shared. You can’t expect to go on an awesome journey and keep it all locked up in your head for no one to ever find. Leave your mark on this world. Take pictures. Do sketches. Make cave paintings. It doesn’t matter. Just put your story out there because no matter how small your victories, there is always someone out there who will benefit from what you have to say. If you follow all of the steps above, your story will be one you’ll want to tell.
Get up and go on an adventure now. Don’t make excuses. Don’t sit around and wait for an adventure to come to you. You have to make it happen. If you wait then you won’t even realize that life has passed you by until it’s too late.
Find out what you want and go for it. Right now. Start here and just go.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
What adventures would you like to begin? What do you fear? Tell your story in the comments below or email me