How To Be Adventurous // Forget Your Favourites... But Only for a While

How To Be Adventurous // Forget Your Favourites... But Only for a While

How to be Adventurous - The Series

Forget Your Favourites... But Only for a While

We've all got our favourites.

Favourite meal at a restaurant.  Favourite album to play while we clean the bathroom. Favourite place in the wilderness to spend Saturday afternoons when we can't be bothered making any other plans.

Keep your favourites. Never let them go. But if your goal is to make new memories, then you have to tuck your favourites away once in a while.

Life becomes exciting when we start improvising. It becomes memorable when we’re creating new experiences.

Paul Rozin, a professor of psychology at UPenn known for his lively lectures on food, shared some wise words about ordering your favourite meal over and over again:

“You're looking forward to it, you experience it in advance, and then the actual experience is great; it's just as wonderful as you remembered. But your remembered pleasure of it later will be almost zero, because you've had it several times before, and all those memories merge together.”

In other words, you can only have your ‘favourite’ so many times before it all blends together, no two encounters more memorable than the rest.

We believe the same goes for your adventure spots. 

If you’ve been hitting the same mountain trail, paddling the same stretch of river, or camping next to the same lake for the past three years, we challenge you to recall something distinct from each of those experiences.

If you can, good for you… either your favourite spot is still fresh enough, or you’re so in love with it you don't even need to try anything new. In that case, you should just live there.

Actually that sounds pretty good.

But your remembered pleasure of it later will be almost zero, because you’ve had it several times before, and all those memories merge together.

But if you fail to come up with a unique memory, it’s probably time to mix things up. We’re not saying abandon – you can always come back, but not until you’ve gone somewhere new.

Pick a spot, any spot. Make it somewhere you’ve never been before, even if it doesn’t sound all that incredible. Try to choose somewhere you’ll like, but remember there’s a chance you’ll be disappointed.

And that’s okay. The point here is to build memories, and you can only make memories when you do things that stand out against the backdrop of your life as new and different. That’s when an experience becomes memorable. That's when we're forced to really open our eyes and adapt.

New experiences aren't always perfect the way your favourite spot is. Sometimes new experiences are dangerous, or they pour rain on us, or they make you fall into a creek and have to walk around with a wet boot all day.

To make new memories, you have to tuck your favourites away once in a while.

You might swear you’re never going back again, but damn it you will remember that place. And a year from now you’ll probably laugh, and your life will be the richer for it. That's what type 2 fun is all about.

Life becomes exciting when we start improvising. It becomes memorable when we're creating new experiences. Go mix it up. Get out of your comfort zone and go try something new. Even if you come home disappointed, you’ll be that much happier when you get back to that old favourite of yours.

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This is part of an ongoing series called “How to be Adventurous,” a column that focuses on practical tips, age old wisdom, new age discoveries, and big ideas -all to help you cut through the nonsense and start fitting more adventure into your life. Where you can, how you can. To have it delivered right to your email, just subscribe to the Newsletter.
 

 

How To Be Adventurous  //  So... About Those New Years Resolutions

How To Be Adventurous // So... About Those New Years Resolutions

How To Be Adventurous - The Series

 

So... About Those New Years Resolutions

 

 

The new year is upon you.

Do you feel any different?

The world seems to think you should, as though this magical flipping of the calendar has somehow also flipped your life. You’re the new-you now, or at least you ought to be. Time to break free of the mold, fulfill that forgotten potential, eat only the things your better-self says you should.

New beginnings are a beautiful thing, but we see a few problems with this model, and suspect you might as well.

The main one is this: despite the world’s expectations that you should by now be super human, or at least working at it, you find that you’re the same person you were last month. That will become abundantly clear a couple weeks from now when the excitement of that calendar change wears off, if it hasn’t already.

 
New beginnings are a beautiful thing, but we see a few problems with this model, and suspect you might as well.
 

This confuses us, as we walk around wondering why we don’t feel dramatically better, why we’re not established wildlife photographers yet, and why we still haven’t climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. But eventually it becomes pretty clear why:

Because calendars don’t have any power to change your life! Pretty obvious, actually. Only you can make yourself buy a plane ticket to Borneo, hire a guide, and hike up that beautiful, sweaty, trying mountain.

Of course, something has to usher in the magic of this new year and help us turn into the-people-we-always-wanted-to-be...

Which is why we’ve created the trusted, reliable, never-failing New Year’s Resolution (NYR).

Known for sending herds of hopefuls to the gym and mountain trails for the first half of January, then dropping them like a bad habit as soon as it gets bored.

Shame on you, NYR. But whether we succeed or fail, NYR’s aren’t as new as you might think. We’ve been promising to do better next year since way, way back. 

Babylonians made promises to the gods at the start of the new year, and so did the Romans. In medieval times, knights renewed their commitment to chivalry every December. Seems this 'fresh start' business is just part of human nature, like zoning out at the breakfast table, or always wearing out one sock before the other.

 
The most important thing you can do is make your goals measurable
 

I’ve personally written dozens of these NYR things, and despite the fail rate (most resolutions really do fail after a couple weeks), I think they’re a good idea. How else will we know what we’re failing or winning at if we don’t write it down?

So if you haven’t already, we suggest you make one. A list of goals you’d like to accomplish in 2018. Places you want to go, things you’d like to do, people you’d like to be. Saying these things out loud and putting them to paper brings them front and centre, out into the fresh air where they can’t hide from you in the backwoods of your mind.  

It’s a mess back there, we know. Don’t feel bad, just grab the pen and paper.

There’s No Right or Wrong Way to Set Goals – but There Is a More Effective Way

The most important thing you can do is make your goals measurable. Saying you want to ‘hike more mountains,’ will probably not amount to much, because ‘more’ is subjective. It’s too loose, too hard to tell whether you're winning or not. How will you know when it’s more? These kinds of goals are tough to pin down, and easy to let go of when we’re not sure if we’re making progress.

Instead of ‘hike more mountains,’ try making your goal to hike 5 new mountains this year, or 5 different mountains, or the same mountain 5 damn times. It doesn’t really matter, so long as you can know unequivocally whether you’ve done it or not.

“It’s June and I’m only at 2 mountains? Time to plan the next one.”

Now you’re on track.

Deciding to do something like ‘learn about photography’ is equally tough to measure and therefore easy to fail at. Instead, set out to take 10 great pictures a week, or 100, or even 1 if that’s all you can manage. Whatever it takes to let you know whether you’re doing it, or you’re not. Otherwise next December is going to creep around, you’ll dig that NYR list out of your sock drawer, look at that camera and ask yourself if you learned anything.

 
Remember that consistent action, even when it’s small, always trumps occasional bursts of effort.
 

Well, I learned how to turn it on...

Great job. Mission accomplished. Time to start pitching National Geographic.

Personally, I want to write more. But I didn’t just put down ‘Write more,’ as one of my goals. Instead it says ‘Write for at least one hour each day, and more whenever possible.’

It’s small, but it’s just fail-safe. And it’s every day. Remember that consistent action, even when it’s small, always trumps occasional bursts of effort. If I don’t hit that hour I’ll know it. And I will rain down hell on myself in the form of a long, drawn out guilt trip.  

Not all of your goals will pan out, and that’s okay. In fact that’s what next year is for. But try and accomplish your most important ones. Even if you can just nail down a few of those, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself at the end of the year, and have more motivation to keep chipping away at your list next time around. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The date today is January 5, 2018, and you have goals to accomplish. We trust you’re well on your way.

 
 
Mclean Creek-1.jpg
 

How to Be Adventurous  //  The Hard Road to Adventure

How to Be Adventurous // The Hard Road to Adventure

If you’re up for chasing adventure, you better be ready for challenges.

And we aren’t just talking about finding the long lost granola bar at the bottom of your 58L pack.

Adventure involves nature, and that old girl is full of surprising variables. Think of a Pinata. Who knows what’s coming when it finally cracks?

How to Be Adventurous // Getting into Shape… and then Staying There

How to Be Adventurous // Getting into Shape… and then Staying There

Life may be for play, but adventure is serious business.

Which is why you’ll need a body to do it.

Notice how I didn’t say great body? That’s because a great body, or what today’s society deems a great body, is far from necessary for good adventure.

Raging thighs and pecks that dance to music are nice to look at, and maybe even enjoyable to build, although I somehow doubt that. Necessary for health, or healthy adventure, they are not.

How to Be Adventurous  // How to Get Started

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How to Be Adventurous // How to Get Started

“How to be Adventurous,” a weekly column that focuses on practical tips, age old wisdom, new age discoveries and big ideas, all to help you helping you cut through the nonsense and start fitting more adventure into your life. Where you can, how you can. Check out the first entry into this though provoking column, "How to Get Started".

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Nepal: A Love Story

Nepal: A Love Story

Nepal offers challenging treks, but they're surmountable with the right planning. Bre Mirynech brings us know-how from her recent two-week trek through the Himalayas.

A New Perspective on Making The Most of Your Weekend  //  And What the Hell is Type 2 Fun?

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A New Perspective on Making The Most of Your Weekend // And What the Hell is Type 2 Fun?

You have it all lined out. Your week has been nothing but stress. The best resolution for a week of stress is a weekend filled with 'Netflix + Chill'. Sweat pants. Couch. Snacks. You've got it made. Except when monday rolls around, you feel worse than going into the weekend. Your body may have seen no activity but your mind is has received nothing to give it a revitalizing fresh approach to the new work week. You may be in need of type 2 fun.

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Marijuana and Adventure  //

Marijuana and Adventure //

America is slowly changing its mind about marijuana. So far 8 states have made the move to legalize marijuana use, while Canada is taking steps towards legalizing by 2018. This is welcome news for adventurers who enjoy using marijuana, who can now look forward to more relaxed usage on future excursions. It might also be a good time to ask the question: how and why should I blend these two activities?

In Defence of Hostel Kitchens

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In Defence of Hostel Kitchens

For a traveler, this is where it all comes together.

Where stories of romance are swapped.

City excursions are planned.

Hangovers are dealt with by someone else’s generous pot of coffee.

It’s the hostel kitchen. And in some parts of the world, it’s dying out.

Courtesy of Ana Paula Hirama via Flickr

I spent 3 months backpacking through Southeast Asia last year. During that whole time, I encountered less than 3 hostels that actually let you cook your own food. And even then it felt bothersome, like we were doing something odd, not really encouraged.

It’s as though in borrowing the hostel idea from a long European tradition, newer hostels have missed a key ingredient: the communal kitchen.

A lot of travelers are okay with this. They look at the ultra cheap restaurants in Vietnam and easy to find street food in Bangkok and say, ‘Why would I bother cooking?’

And they raise a good point.

Hostels are also okay with passing on a kitchen. Hostel kitchens make zero money. In fact, it’s just another space to clean. A hostel restaurant, on the other hand, can be a great added profit stream for hostel owners.

Another good point.

But by skipping on the kitchen, we’re changing the backpacker experience, and not in a good way. Our survival skills aren’t being tested anymore. Our ability to go haggle with locals at the market is fading. We’re being spoon-fed Wi-Fi and on-site meals, and it’s making us soft.

Fried eggs skills mean good company.
Wombats City Hostel via Flickr

Why does any of this matter?

Because the term “hostel” actually means something.

Hostels are different from hotels in key ways. For one thing, they’re self-catering. It’s a do-it-yourself experience.

Traveling in hostels isn’t about relaxing so much as exploring. There isn’t much luxury at a hostel, although a lot of them really have cleaned up over the years. Travelers at a hostel are living as simply - and cheaply – as they can.

And they’re usually not trying to do it alone, even if they’re traveling solo.

That’s why the common area is so important. This is one area where newer hostels are totally killing it. Swimming pools, yoga classes, free tattoos. In a lot of ways, hostel travel has gotten a lot more fun over the years, mostly due to a huge demand from young travelers.

In 2012, young travelers spent $217 billion on travel.

And the hostel business has heard the call. Hostel World, one of the best known sites for booking hostels worldwide, now advertises 33,000 properties in 170 countries.

But as hostels spring up everywhere from beachfronts to the foot of castles, some of them are choosing to skimp on kitchens, and they’re leaving something crucial behind.

Because the hostel kitchen is where it all started, where the truest of backpacker bonds were made, over fried egg breakfasts with toast and jam.

Over “Hey, can I borrow some bread until later?”

And, “Dude, you said that yesterday.”

Food is a language of its own. It speaks about who you are, where you came from. When someone from another country cooks for you in a hostel, they’re saying something. They’re saying “this is a part of me, why not try some?”

Even if it’s just beans and toast, spaghetti with store-bought sauce and vegetables, bread and cheap wine - when someone cooks for you at a hostel, they’re telling a story about who they are.

The best thing you can do is tell them something back.

Dumplings and beer say more than any ice-breaker you can dream up.
Chen Zhao via Flickr

 

And the best part is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a terrible cook. Because it’s a *@$#ing hostel, not some Gordon Ramsay special.

I’ve had some of my best meals on the road and made some of my best friends in the hostel kitchen. It’s not about the food so much as the company. Our crew in Barcelona stuck together for 7 days before we parted. We’d beach during the day, club at night, and cook meals for each other in between.

Our knowledge of food may have been limited, but when we brought it all together, we were able to build off one another, bouncing around ideas and forging new food territory.

It was the ultimate in food synergy. We all contributed each night, whether it be through shopping, cooking, or doing the dishes. It made us a community – a community for 7 days, but a community I bet none of us will ever forget.

And after every meal we were proud of what we made, even when it tasted like shit. It was our shit, the sum total of our food knowledge, tossed in a pot and left to simmer on medium.

It brought us together, and it can do the same for you.

Hostel kitchens, where the best 'Wtf?' pictures come from.
Samantha Marx via Flickr

I’ve met a lot of people on the road. Bar nights, nature hikes, motorcycle rides. Sadly, I can’t remember much about a lot of them. But the ones I shopped with, cooked for, and ate meals next to are still there, clear as day.

Yes, the restaurant down the street makes better food than you. And yes, you should try it. One of the best parts of traveling is eating local foods, which you can only do by letting local chefs cook for you.

Don’t skip that. Eat what you want. In fact, eat it twice.

 

All we’re saying is, remember the kitchen.

Friends for life. Or for three days...
Matthew Stevens via Flickr

Remember that cooking, especially when it’s with a crew of people pulled together from around the world, can be a lot of fun.

Remember that for the briefest of moments, you’re trapped in this magical place called a hostel, living with people from all over the world. It’s your chance to learn something about them, and share something about you.

Some things are easier to say with boiling pasta than with words.

Use anything and everything you want. Wine from Chile. Kimchi from Korea. Spaghetti sauce from Italy. Spices from India. Find the local market, ask questions, use what you know, share your knowledge, and cook a meal together.

Even just one.

Even if it’s the worst meal any of you ever have (it won’t be, not with all those creative ideas coming together) you’ll still have a great time.

It’ll still bring you closer.

And hostel owners, this one’s for you. Remember the definition of a hostel. Not just some bunk beds and a restaurant, but a home base for explorers, some of whom want to cook in your kitchen, want to try making some food of their own, want the experience of buying food locally.

And uh, want to save money.

You can keep your restaurant – in fact we hope you do. It makes life easier for everyone. Just have a kitchen, too.

Make room in the floor plans for that rare magic that you only find on the road, for those relationships forged over simmering garlic, makeshift sauces, and meals that taste good so long as they’re shared with good people.

Make room for the hostel kitchen.

Because otherwise, it’s just a hotel with bunk beds.

Banner image provided by Anwarrovic via Flick

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Breaking Habits to Become an Adventurer

Breaking Habits to Become an Adventurer

Who you were isn’t real.

It’s just a memory.

A reference point in your growth.

Something to learn from, but not something that defines who you are, or what you’re capable of now.

It’s like a draft for a screenplay of your life. You wrote it, learned from it, but decided it didn’t fit the story you were trying to tell.

The problem is instead of tossing those old scripts, we leave them lying around, where they can keep making calls on our life. We put too much emphasis on those old scripts, on who we used to be. Even though we could have become different people many times over by now, we let our old selves tell us what we’re capable of.

They tell us we’re not hikers.

We’re not adventurous.

That we don’t take risks.

This is where we tend to slip in our adventure goals. We tell ourselves we’re “not that kind of person,” because it was true in the past. Instead of using the past to learn, we let it define our futures for us.

That’s a debilitating way to live, and you’ll never get anywhere until you change it.

It will kill your dreams off one by one if you let it.

Motivational author Louise L. Hay made a good point about letting your past define you.

"We learn our belief systems as very little children, and then we move through life creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience."

The good news is you don’t have to keep letting your past dictate your next move. You can flip the script, write something new.

It’s your life after all, isn’t it?

Our beliefs are like engines – they need fuel to keep going. If we stop giving fuel to one belief and start giving it to another, that’s when change happens in your life.

 

The Mountain Wants Who You Are, Not Who You Were

The world out there doesn’t care who you were 3 years ago. It doesn’t care what happened to you as a child, or how uncomfortable with your weight you’ve always been. It only cares who you are, how you’re showing up today. Your past doesn’t mean a thing when you hit the trail or grab hold of that rock face. Every time you go out there, you get another chance to recreate yourself.

We’d all like to believe that we’re a special case, that our excuses are really real.

“But I really can’t go trekking because of my allergies.”

“Redheads can’t go outside for long because we burn easily.”

“I get winded quickly so it’s better if I just take it easy.”

But there comes a point when you have to ask yourself which one is more important:

  • Defending those broken beliefs until you die having achieved nothing
  • Reaching your goals and feeling the things you always wanted to

When you’re ready to start, solutions will come out of nowhere and start taking down your half-hearted excuses like Olympic wrestlers, sweaty armpits and all. Once you’ve tapped your willpower, excuses always throw in the towel.

 

Change How You Talk About Your Goals

It’s hard to just remove beliefs. If you try just kicking one out the door with no replacement, you’ll probably find it creeping back in before long. We need something to fill the void. In the absence of something better, we go back to what’s familiar.

You’re better off replacing your limiting beliefs with new ones.

Switch out, “I’ve never gone rafting before, I can’t do that kind of stuff.”

With this: “I’ve never gone rafting before, so I’m gonna need to ask a lot of questions before we get started.”

Or try changing this one: “Traveling is scary. I’ve never been anywhere, and I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

With this one: “Traveling is scary. I should start off with something small, and work my way up.”

Among Us recently interviewed Lana Jankovic about adventure motivation. If you need a kick in the ass to get you doing something that scares you, she’s a great place to start.

 

When Action Meets Words

When you start taking action on your new beliefs, that’s when you get real results.

Start small. We really think it’s crucial to take baby steps and not overburden yourself, and a lot of researchers agree. Small steps are the key to taking on any goal.

Start by writing your goal down. That’s step 1. Make it reasonable, nothing too much crazier than the last thing you did. Incremental growth.

If you’re ever lost for how to start, the SMART goal plan is a good place to look.

Think about how you might accomplish the first steps, what you might need to learn first, who you should talk to. Write those down to, and then start crossing them off one by one after doing them.

Taking steps builds momentum, the secret ingredient to success in adventuring or any other part of your life. When you start taking steps, you eliminate the obstacles between you and your goal one by one. You get closer to your dream without even really noticing it. Before long, it’s right in front of you, and you’re way more ready to grab it than you ever thought you would be.

You Can Start Right Now

The past doesn’t equal the future, and every passing minute is another chance to change it all. Start with kicking your tired old beliefs to the curb. Replace them with beliefs that represent who you want to be, and not who you were. Then grab a pen and write down your new goals, and start crossing them off one by one.

When you’re done with that, don’t put the pen down. You’re gonna need it; you’ve got a new script to write.

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6 Reasons To Avoid Nature At All Costs

6 Reasons To Avoid Nature At All Costs

In just one hour of trekking, most people burn upwards of 500 calories. That’s the equivalent of an entire hamburger and fries, or two slices of cheesecake, both of which were delicious and deserve a chance to hang out on your body a while longer.
 

10 Instagram Accounts that Will Give You Adventure Envy

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10 Instagram Accounts that Will Give You Adventure Envy

Instagram is the best place to remind yourself of all the adventures you’re not taking.

On the other hand, browsing other people’s adventure pictures can be your best source of inspiration, spurring you to visit the local park or book your next flight. Here are 10 adventure accounts we’ve been keeping an eye on.

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Keep Your Hands Off the Land - The Fight For Public Lands in America

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Keep Your Hands Off the Land - The Fight For Public Lands in America

America has a unique relationship with public land. There’s nowhere else in the world where such huge tracts of land are available to the people - no, owned by the people. That’s right, as an American you are the official owner of some 640 million acres of land. You can go there anytime you want for all the hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, or Pokémon Go you could want. That’s a beautiful thing, and Americans have tuned into that fact. Actually they’ve known it for a long time.

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You Need an Adventure Mentor - Here’s Why

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You Need an Adventure Mentor - Here’s Why

There are things you can learn on your own, such as:

1) How to cook pasta

2) How to spend 9 hours putting together a chair from Ikea (for the second time).

Outdoor adventuring alone is okay too, but at least in the beginning, having a mentor can cut down on the isolation factor, hugely increasing your chances of keeping it up long-term.

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