The Spirit Of Adventure

I am an adventurer at heart, and probably always will be.  I’m writing this post because for a really long time I’ve had an internal battle of ‘home’ vs ‘wanderlust’ going on, and it’s been driving me a bit crazy.  I’ve felt like I should ‘grow up’ and ‘settle down’, do the sensible thing, prioritize safety and comfort, and stay close to the people who already know and love me.

Doing this has been great for a while, and 100% what I have needed.  But home isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind.  One that I only seem to be able to access when I am being true to myself and my desires.  When I think about what I want long term, the only thing I can feel genuinely inspired by is a life of adventure.

Flying high over the desert in Peru.

Flying high over the desert in Peru.

I love that feeling of home, familiar faces and places, and the warm glow that surrounds me.  But when I deny my need for adventure, I cut myself off from this connection with the world around me.  Ironically, forcing myself to stay home for too long can be the very thing that prevents me from feeling ‘at home’.

Flowers in the garden on a sunny day - that beautiful feeling of home.

Flowers in the garden on a sunny day – that beautiful feeling of home.

It makes me feel sad sometimes that I’m not motivated by the same things as most of the people around me.  I actually find the hard work, persistence and determination of friends that have saved enough money to buy a house, or weathered the tough times in long term employment in order to raise a family, incredibly inspiring.  I know that they must really want it.

People that follow an unconventional path often project their own feelings onto those that choose to find peace and contentment in a more ‘ordinary’ life.  Obviously there are exceptions, and there certainly are people that are dissatisfied with their boring job, partner and/or miserable existence.  But that’s not what I see.  For the most part, I see people that go through ups and downs, but are committed to their future, and get enough joy from their day to day lives to know that it’s worth it.

Adventure for most people is a fun interlude during an otherwise comfortable life.  I know people that come home from an action packed holiday and are actually glad to get back to their normal routine and familiar surroundings.  They have amazing memories of the experience, they may learn and grow from it, and it will enrich their lives.  This is awesome.  But it is not me.

Amazon jungle adventures

Amazon jungle adventures

I need more.  I want longer adventures.  I need to go deeper in the jungle.  I’m no Ranulph Fiennes, but I am intent on pushing my own boundaries further than I can even imagine right now.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to take crazy risks (I’m actually incredibly safety conscious these days!), but it does mean I will chase my crazy dreams.

I often wish my dreams were more aligned with those of my friends and family… a beautiful house in the countryside, some happy children, fabulous holidays, or a creative project that fits nicely into life at home in the UK.  But what I really want is to belong, and I only feel this sense of belonging when I am following my own dreams, not someone else’s.

I first knew adventure was more to me than just the occasional holiday or adventurous hobby when, nearing the end of a 5 month long trip around South America, I imagined not having to go home.  I glimpsed a freedom greater than anything I had ever dared to dream of.

A condor soaring through the vast Colca Canyon, Peru.

A condor soaring through the vast Colca Canyon, Peru.

Many years, and many adventures later, the call towards freedom had become stronger than ever.  Every time I experienced the wild beauty of life, I knew this was where I belonged.  Not in any one particular place, but in that place within me that was unconstrained, limitless and free.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

My passion for exploration and adventure is so all-consuming that when I am not adventuring (which has been too often during the last couple of years), the weirdest things give me wanderlust.  I was in a cafe a few weeks ago with a friend, and the smelly toilet actually made me yearn to be far from home in a warm country with inferior plumbing, where all the toilets smell like that.

That was a turning point for me.  I knew I needed to take action.  I am now pouring my overwhelming passion for adventure into planning and saving for a looonnnng trip to Costa Rica this winter.  For the last couple of years I have been channeling my adventurous spirit into my businesses and creative projects, which I hope to continue overseas.

The main challenge has been developing the confidence to rely on myself to earn money, and to ride out the highs and lows.  It’s still a challenge every single day, but it’s getting easier.  I have a little adventurousness left over now, so it’s time to wander again… to Costa Rica and beyond!

What does the spirit of adventure mean to you?  Is your wanderlust in balance with your life, satisfied by regular adventures?  Or is it raging out of control, to the point where even eating at a Chinese, Indian, Italian etc. restaurant brings you close to tears with the overwhelming desire to BE THERE?!  Leave me a comment with your thoughts 



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