For many of us, when we were younger, a sense of adventure came naturally.
When we’re just starting out in the world, it can seem like there are endless possibilities open to us. In our 20s, it can seem like there are many potential grand adventures out there, just waiting for us to find them.
As we get older, we make life choices. Those choices put us on a path and our commitment to that path naturally closes off some options.
After a while, we get familiar with our path and the choices that we’ve made, and we know how to manage and walk that path. And while the mastery and wisdom that come along with that are immensely satisfying, it can be easy to lose our sense of adventure.
But the good news is, there are plenty of ways to reignite our sense of adventure—even if you’ve built a life you adore and don’t want to make any radical changes.
There’s no real reason why adventure has to be associated with youth. Some of the most intrepid adventurers I know are in their eighties!
I love thinking of life as a grand adventure. Here are some things I’ve found to stay in that “adventure” mindset, even as I gain mastery, familiarity and practice with the long-term choices that I’ve made.
Travel, however and wherever you can.
Our brains love novelty. Being in an unfamiliar environment makes our brains form new connections. It automatically makes us explorers and puts us right back in that space of newness and discovery.
Traveling to a new place is the quickest, easiest way to reconnect with that exploratory mindset. Does this mean you need the money, time, ability and energy to take an airplane halfway around the world? No way!
By all means, take off to Bali or Peru if you’ve got the resources and inclination. But you don’t have to go far to turn on that explorer mindset. You just have to go someplace new. A weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been before will do the exact same thing as taking a trip abroad.
Put down the phone.
Smartphones are tricky. They’re filled with endless information, but having all those resources at our fingertips can actually get in the way of exploration and discovery.
If you’re trying to get somewhere new, you’ve got step-by-step directions spelled out for you on your Smartphone. Your phone removes the need to really look at where you’re going, experience the landmarks, find your way. If you can immediately look up the answer to any question that comes up in conversation, it reduces the amount of time you spend in a state of curiosity and exploration.
If you’ve got your eyes on a device, you can’t have them up and open to the world, ready to experience the unexpected. Our lives are often tied to our phones—and the technology is built to be addictive—so it can help to create some structures.
Try a “technology fast” one day a week, or a weekend retreat without the phone. I like leaving my phone at home when I go on short errands, or in the other room when I’m working from home.
A friend of mine throws dinner parties where every guest has to put their phone in a basket at the start of the evening. Another friend and I have an agreement that when we’re spending time together, our phones stay in our bags. Experiment with going without your phone and see what works for you!
Create unscheduled time out in the world.
Life moves fast, and many of us have highly scheduled lives. It can be tempting to spend all our unscheduled “down time” at home, just chilling out. Relaxation time at home is crucial, but the environments we live in are also home to all our routines.
Every so often, I love to give myself a few hours out in the world, with no commitments on the agenda, no places I have to be or people I have to meet, and just follow my nose.
It makes me feel like a traveler in my own city. Usually, I wind up running into someone, or discovering a new and magical place, or having a great new creative idea that wouldn’t have shown up without that unscheduled exploratory time.
Take a journal if you want. You might get ideas you want to write down! (And see what happens if you leave your phone at home!)
What do you to cultivate adventure in your life? We’d love to hear about what’s working for you!