Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” As inspiring as that sentiment may be, sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Still, we believe everyone’s got a little adventure inside them—some just need more encouragement than others. Here are five ways to lure your inner adventurer fearlessly out into the sunshine.
1. Choose your own adventure. There are countless ways to define adventure. So don’t feel that you have to follow someone else’s path or measure their heart-pounding thrills against your own. Experiences that make you push yourself (even a just little), open up new perspectives, and deliver fun times along the way create positive feedback that encourages saying yes again and again. After all, your life is the sum total of all your experiences, not those of others.
2. Embrace the new. Fear of the unknown can easily trump curiosity. One antidote is to support your inner adventurer by making the acquaintance of people who like a little adventure, too. You might sign up for a group activity such as a tango class in Buenos Aires or a whitewater-rafting tutorial in Colorado. The people you meet may not be the same as those in your circle of friends—and that’s a healthy thing. You’ve immediately built a new and stronger support network by broadening your friendship base, whether you’re in your hometown or thousands of miles away.
3. Get outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a leap. Taking a cable car ride can be a feat of achievement, if you’re afraid of heights, as can striking up a conversation with a stranger when you’re dining solo. Even one such step outside your comfort zone has benefits: You’ll have an easier time dealing with the new and unexpected; find it easier to push your boundaries in the future; and be better equipped to brainstorm and harness your creativity. Breaking your own mold can make you more confident in both your personal and professional life.
4. Make the best of things. Travel can be impossible to predict and anything but familiar—and that’s part of its charm, if you take the right attitude. By trying new things without rigid expectations, you can let go and just enjoy the ride. Perhaps you’re trying to get to the Doges’ Palace before closing time, but instead become lost amid the maze-like streets and canals of Venice and end up in a piazza sipping a glass of wine. Or plans to hike to the peak of a mountain become foiled by weather conditions and you end up art gallery hopping in town instead. Your mental and physical ability to just roll with it can keep a great day great, regardless of twists and turns. Obviously, wearing versatile clothes makes a huge difference and few do versatile better than Toad&Co. These guys basically invented the whole trail-to-tavern concept by designing clothes ready, willing, and able to help you weather whatever comes your way—and look good doing it.
5. Prioritize deeper experiences. Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that new experiences are key to happiness. One reason is that new experiences like a camping getaway or houseboat rental come with the added pleasure of anticipation. And let’s face it, even bad experiences make for good stories over time, because we’re inclined to seek out the positive after the fact. So when the next opportunity for adventure presents itself, dive right in—and we bet you’ll be glad you did.