Amy Foster
March 18, 2013 6:00 am

Once upon a time – maybe 20 years ago, maybe 10, maybe you can even measure it in months, but once upon a time – you were up for anything.

Okay, perhaps anything is taking it a bit too far. Still, there was a time in your life when the unknown was actually the best part of what you were about to do. Wherever you were going, whatever your plans were, the notion that you had no idea what lay ahead was exciting.

Somewhere along the way you fell in love, maybe had kids, got a great job, became settled and grew comfortable. You began to appreciate the routines and guard rails you set up in your life. Suddenly, the concept of not knowing became less appealing. If you think I’m judging you, I swear I’m not. I live for comfort. I am a happy creature of habit. When I think back on my past, though, it is the memories of wild abandon that always make me smile. I climbed the jagged faces of rocks in Arizona. I travelled through Europe by myself. Once I even went to a pagan weekend where some folks were raising stones to replicate Stonehenge and it was clothing optional. 

I am no longer so adventurous, but lately I have been thinking that just because I have all these responsibilities, shouldn’t mean that I have to completely let go of that side of myself. That person I was, she was fun. She went for it. I always maintained a healthy sense of self-preservation, mind you, but I was daring and I miss her.

This week at the Heatley Cliff, Sher and I talked about how to reclaim this aspect of ourselves and after some serious brainstorming and soul searching, we came up with some ways to get back on the adventurer band wagon and like the friends we are, we thought we would share.

  • Never let go of your dreams, even if they evolve to a more diluted version of the original. Let’s say as a kid, you always wanted to become an actor. You are now 40 and working in an office. Chances are you are not going the live the Charlize Theron version of that dream. However, you can join a local rep company (Waiting For Guffman, anyone?!), have your 15 minutes and feel that rush. Part of keeping that adventurous spirit alive inside of you is by refusing to let the realities of your life squash that part of you that dares to be special.
  • My husband and I travel together (rarely). More often, as a family, we go on vacations. However, I think one of the key ingredients to being an adventurer is flying solo. I’m very lucky in that I get to go to Nashville for work every other month, on my own. Being alone means that for a brief period of time I only  have to think about me. It’s hard to imagine being daring when you have little ones in tow. When you only have yourself to please, you might try that exotic dish your family wouldn’t go near or wear that goofy hat or try some of those burlesque moves you’ve been wondering about without having to worry about embarrassing yourself or anyone else. Solitude and Adventure are happy bedfellows.
  • Being adventurous does not necessarily mean skydiving or travelling to the far reaches of the Amazon Rainforest. If you don’t find those things appealing (I don’t) it doesn’t mean other things that you want to try or experience don’t qualify as being adventurous. I find eating dinner alone at a restaurant to be quite bold. I also think wearing the gorgeous silk caftan I have out to the mall to be equally as daring. Any activity that is out of your normal purview that will give you a secret thrill falls into the category of “adventure”.
  • Find iconic adventurers to look up to. For Sheryl and I it is Karen Blixin of Out Of Africa Fame. But there are hundreds of trailblazing men and women that you can read or watch documentaries about whose very lives will inspire you. Amelia Earheart, Sir Edmond Hillary, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jo from Little Women! Ask your parents or your grandparents what the most adventurous thing they’ve ever done was, you might be really surprised.
  • The foundation of any great adventure in my mind (and many I’m sure will disagree) is a certain degree of preparedness. When you know you have the mundane details taken care of, you can focus on the adventure itself. You may want to be impulsive, and end up anywhere the wind takes you, but trust me, there is no fun in being miles from nowhere, with no place to stay in a rainstorm. Do your research and always have a Plan B. Your adventure is bound to throw you enough curve balls, knowing there might be a hot shower at the end of it may well be the thing that keeps you going.
  • Not quite ready yet to go on safari? Hike through Joshua Tree? Start those piano lessons? That’s okay, start small. You can ease into your adventures by reading about what others have done, or doing some writing yourself where you propel yourself into the middle of your escapade and imagine what it might be like. As long as you keep your heart open to the idea, the adventure will remain on the table.
  • Always remember that you are a brave and courageous soul. Think of all the things you’ve gone through and all the trials you’ve endured already. Go to school or work, pay your bills, go grocery shopping; there is comfort in the mundane, certainly. But, set an extraordinary goal for your self because you are extraordinary.

We’d love to hear about some of your adventures or upcoming plans to have them, via email or through the comments here. Go you!

Featured image via Shutterstock

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