When was the last time you had an adventure?
I know, the very word conjures up something magical and childlike – a trip to Narnia via the wardrobe or some sort of Bear Hunt… but just think about it for a moment, when did you last feel like you’d had an adventure?
When I came back from my round the world trip a decade ago I was determined to make the rest of my life an adventure; OK I might not be backpacking to the other side of the world but I could keep trying new things, going new places, and even seeing the experiences I’d had so many times before through different eyes.
Hell, isn’t the whole of life an adventure? It’s something I’m pretty passionate about. So much so that whenever my favourite little lady comes out for a day with me, she tells people she’s “going on an adventure with Auntie Ceryn”.
That doesn’t mean we go on safari in Africa or surfing on the Gold Coast, but sometimes the smallest adventures can be the most exciting ones. Especially when you’re three and – in my opinion – everything should be an adventure!
But over the last couple of years my adventures have become fewer and father between.
Money and time have both been tighter than they once were, and as I’ve taken on the
burdens of other people more and more I’ve found myself with less energy to go out and explore the world.
And all of that has been knotted up with the fact that – to be honest – in many ways I got kind of scared. You see, a couple of tough years left me reeling with the need for self protection; add those to some big dreams that needed a pretty single-minded focus and a part of me decided it was probably safer to stick to what I knew.
Remember how much fun adventures are?
I’ve mentioned before that my mission for this year was to learn how to have fun again on my terms; not through the drinking and over eating that I’d come to accept as relaxation and fun for most of my adult life so far, but in ways that filled my heart and felt like fun for me.
Eight months in and that mission has already taught me a lot – enough for multiple blog
posts to be honest – but one of those is how much I love adventure.
In delving into my most fun times and the memories where my soul felt most fulfilled, I came back time and time again to the times I’d gone exploring new places, trying new things, or just setting out on a random unexpected adventure.
Unfortunately (or fortunately if you were to ask my grandma…) I’m still not in a position to spend three months backpacking across Asia, or to take a two week trek across the Arctic.
But I recognised that drive for adventure was something I needed if I wanted to fill myself up, and so I started smaller.
Last Spring I headed to Glastonbury to meet some of my favourite ladies – almost none of whom I’d physically met before; last month I headed to London for a flying visit to see some of those same women – and had an unexpected catch up with one of my best friends on the way home; and in the months since I’ve regularly headed off with Kali for walks in places we wouldn’t usually go to, or trips out where I let her lead the way and just see where we end up.
An adventurous day...
But last week I took what felt like my biggest adventure of the year so far – not in terms of distance, cost or even time, but in terms of what it meant for me.
I took a day out and headed up to Edinburgh to watch a play by a lady I knew who was performing at the Fringe, an annual performance and comedy festival that’s held throughout the Scottish capital city every year.
I’ve been meaning to go to the Fringe for years, and since the journey from my local train station to Edinburgh is less than two hours, you’d think that would be easy. Yet every year I’ve had an excuse…
Not enough cash.
Not enough time.
No one to go with.
More important things to do.
But since this is the year of having fun, and heading to the Fringe had always sounded pretty damned fun, I booked a train and went.
It chucked it down with rain (so much so I had to buy a new mac while I was there), I spent more than intended, and I missed the one woman show I’d intended to go see. But I did see the play that had inspired my trip (Sisterhood by Kriya Arts – it was amazing and might just inspire another post in its own right further down the line), potter around a beautiful city, eat a gorgeous lunch overlooking more history than I could actually comprehend, see some hilarious stand up, have a conversation with the mother of my guilty celebrity crush (long story), and find myself buzzing with inspiration from what I’d seen and heard along the way.
And what’s more, more than a handful of times throughout the day I found myself stopping, breathing and realising how utterly bloody happy I felt; and got on the train home feeling as fulfilled as if I’d meditated for an entire day.
Of course I could’ve shared that day with other people and it would’ve been just as wonderful, but one of the things that was most exciting about this one was that it was all about me. On my terms, with no real plan or agenda except for trains at 9am and 8pm, and a play to watch at 12.45.
The definition of adventure is:
“an unusual and exciting or daring experience.”
And maybe this wasn’t particularly daring, but it felt exciting. Exciting because it was unusual, because it was fun, and because it was so damned unplanned.
How many of us get stuck into our day-to-day routines of getting up, going about our lives in the same way and then heading to bed to sleep and start it all over again? Even when we have fun we so often fall into the same routines of having fun in the same ways we always do because it becomes habit, because we’re too tired to do anything different.
And hey, those routines are safe… in a world that is constantly changing and in which we’ve all had our fair share of disappointments and heartbreaks it’s so often easier to stay inside our carefully arranged little bubbles where we know nothing will ever surprise, and where there’s no danger of us being hurt or disappointed (or drenched an hour and a half from our raincoat or umbrellas, just saying…).
But how much do we miss out on by staying in that bubble of safety?
Isn’t that risk even more reason for us to go out and do something different?
Because yes, we could be disappointed, hurt or let down; but we could also have an amazing experience – meet someone brilliant, learn something new, or just make a pretty cool memory.
And if you’re anything like me, maybe the whole experience of just breaking out of the bubble, trying something new and filling up your soul with adventure might just be really really good fun.
So with a new month ahead of us let’s stop and think… are you ready for an adventure? And how are you going to make it happen?