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.

//

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.