Planning For Adventure

Simply by finding this and following my exploits, suggests you love the idea of travel and adventure. But what is adventure? Is it climbing mountains, crossing oceans, paddling down rivers in open boats?

All of these things but adventure is also so much more.

What’s Your Adventure

Adventure is doing something new, new to you. It’s a very personal thing. If an idea feels challenging, a little scary, but sparks excitement and sends the pit of the stomach in to somersaults, then that’s it right there.

Adventure is all things to all people, for you it could be climbing, or travelling away to some exotic land. It could be as simple as doing something differently (spending a holiday in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere) or exploring a small corner you’ve never visited before.

Look beyond what’s in front of you

Of course, there are the opportunities for bigger trips, that may come your way from time to time, but these do not have to remain as dreams or “long term goals”. These sorts of trips are now more accessible and more achievable than they’ve ever been (a quick count of the population at Everest base camp proves this), and you may not realise just what possible for you to achieve, until you start to look.

Modern lifestyles have categorised adventurers as somehow different from normal people. This annoys me and is not the case! So, what can I do to change this perception? Only encourage people to see past what they think is possible and help them to realise just what one person can achieve if their determined enough.

Clearly the biggest issue with bigger scaled adventures is for most people, the “m” word – money – closely followed by time. Obviously, some trips are very expensive, but if you start to look beyond the glossy pictures and inviting headlines, and check out the detail of what exactly is needed, it will show that they don’t have to be as expensive as they sound.

How to make the impossible – possible

What if you saved a couple of pounds a week, whatever is manageable within your own circumstances, by cutting down on non-essential luxuries (beer, coffee, magazine subscriptions) for a single year. I know this sounds like a big commitment, but do the maths first – buy the odd magazine instead of subscribing for the year (save £10), take 1 less coffee a week (if you work that out alone on 48 weeks (allowing for holidays) save £115), have 1 beer less each week (over the year save £156) so as long as you put that money aside and don’t spend it elsewhere it’ll soon add up to a nice sum you can put towards an adventure on a scale you perhaps thought was not possible before.

So, what about making it work just a bit more for you. If we stick to the philosophy that we don’t have to go far to have a great adventure, why not consider something that doesn’t need a flight somewhere, (or search for places you could fly to at lower cost – the European Alps are much more expensive than somewhere like Morocco or the Baltic states).

Heading out and away from home, whatever way you do it, whether its locally on foot or a bit further away, by train or bus it’s a great way to have a fun, low-hassle, low-cost adventure.  You’ll be surprised by just how far you can get on a relatively small budget. If you’re willing to economise (bunkhouse instead of hotels, or even camping), this can bring the cost down even more.

So, the other problems people face which stop them taking off on adventures is time (or lack of it). Most people live by the routine lifestyle and are limited to a set number of holidays per year. If you’re in work and have a good relationship with your employer, you might have the option to buy some extra days holiday or even take a longer extended sabbatical.  If you are genuinely excited about the prospect of doing something big, this will be infectious, and you may find others get swept along with you. What have you got to lose by simply asking the question?

But if like most people you are limited to the basic two or three weeks of the year, you can still make them count as life enhancing experiences. Ok so you won’t be able to go quite so far unless your happy for the time to be used up in traveling. Decide what you want to achieve, what you want to see or do, find some places that offer this and work out the costs. If you’re up for taking a chance, why not grab a map and choose a place at random, go there and see how it works out – go explore somewhere you have never visited. Having an element of unknown will only add to the experience.

Add facts to the dream and make it a reality

We all have commitments and relationships in our lives. There are people who you might want to take along with you on a trip – there may be some that you don’t. If you’re anything like me, you probably prefer to travel solo. If this is the case, then make sure you let someone know your plans and be prepared for them to worry about what you’re doing or where you’re going. Doing something different, and changing your approach to life can be daunting, but it can also be equally concerning for those around you. The media has managed to make everywhere sound terrifying! Reading travel reports by people who have been there, and had positive experiences can make a real difference, and shine a completely different light on the opportunity, your about to embark on. 

I’m a daydreamer, I’m always thinking about doing a trip somewhere but usually without any sort of idea about where. For me it’s important to understand what it is I want to get out of the experience before I decide where it is i’m going.  When I first started out on this path, I didn’t have a clue about what it was I was doing, I only knew that I wanted to do something that would test me and give me an unforgettable experience, I also knew it needed to be cheap. I soon discovered that I didn’t need to climb higher or go for longer just to make it a better day out.

So, what now – the first thing is to look at the options:

  • How much time have I got?
  • How far can I get in that time?
  • What’s my objective?
  • How much time do I want to spend travelling?
  • What do I need to take with me?
  • How hard do I want to make it?

This is usually the criteria I work to when planning a trip, and it’s based on being practical and realistic. There’s always the bigger more exciting adventure we aspire to, but if we beat ourselves up trying to tackle obstacle after obstacle, that’s when hesitation kicks in and we end up on the road to nowhere. What matters is doing something that you will enjoy and look back on as a positive experience.

When it comes to deciding whether to travel solo or with other people, that’s a decision for you. I prefer my own company, it gives me more time to reflect and make my own decisions, and being responsible for only me, is a huge bonus!

Whatever you do – Do something

For your first trip out or big adventure, the most important thing is to make sure it happens, if you’re struggling to make plans and are not spontaneous enough to just go on your own, then get someone else involved and take them along with you, it really doesn’t matter, – just go!

So – Now I’m good, I know where I’m going and I know what I want from it, but what to take with me?

None of the stuff listed below is brand new, very few of them have any “cool brand names”, and most of them are cheap substitutes bought to serve a single purpose (like keeping me dry for a few hours!).

Treat kit as something that needs to be reliable but not overly expensive and can be bought with the spare money you have once you have budgeted for everything else.

Take what you need – not what you want to be seen in

Big Tip here – DO NOT be influenced by anyone that tells you if it’s not branded it’s not worth it. I bought a cheap waterproof from a department store a few years back to serve me for a few trips out, it’s still doing the job now and, hasn’t let me down yet. Foolish people run to the popular “outdoor” shops and spend hundreds on a top of the range “take me to Everest” style jacket, for walking in the woods on a Sunday afternoon, and then wonder why they don’t have the money to spend on a real adventure.

If I’m heading into the hills for more than a few hours, my rucksack will have something like this in;

  • A raincoat.
  • Any medicines I need.
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Sun hat and sunglasses. (if the weather warrants it)
  • Money
  • A headtorch.
  • A journal and pen. (Capture thoughts along the way)
  • A camera, take pictures to capture memories but not missing the experience because I’m stopping every two minutes to snap a pic
  • A down jacket. (Can be found for surprisingly low cost)
  • An open mind, some patience, and a healthy sense of the ridiculous.

Once I know what I want to achieve, know where I’m going to achieve it, know what I’m taking to keep me comfortable and safe, then the planning’s done and I can just GO!

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