We’re walking around in a world that is distinctly not designed for adventures. Technology has allowed pretty much every mile of land to be tracked and cataloged, and humans inhabit pretty much every livable quadrant of the map. If you’ve ever played an open world adventure game like Skyrim, Dragon Age, or Zelda, you’ll quickly realize that that’s not how life works anymore. Frontiersmen (and women) no longer risk their lives to try to find that next undiscovered cave, mountain, or creature. Now, you’ll be hard pressed to find a town with less than a thousand people. The new normal is counting up how many states you’ve been to, and only the bravest routinely travel to other countries. The world has become too small. The act of adventure has been replaced with the spirit of adventure.
But the spirit of adventure is not nothing, and not many people in modern society have it. Even if you aren’t able to chart the next hidden island or discover a thousand-year-old treasure trove, having the spirit of adventure still helps with self-enlightenment. Wanderlust is a good thing, despite what some people try to tell you. It can keep you humble and set your mind free. It can help you look at life from a grander perspective and make you realize the world goes beyond just you and your own interests. Let’s talk about five ways you can be an adventurous spirit in 2015.
1. Save up those vacation days.
Many members of my audience work minimum wage college jobs, trying hard just to make the grade in their classes. That, by the way, is a crazy awesome risk and I’m proud of each and every one of you for it. But if you’re lucky enough to work a job where you can actually accumulate vacation time, don’t squander it. Don’t use it to just sit at home and watch TV (although sometimes that’s what you’ve just got to do, I understand). Get out there. Go to another country if you want, but just do something awesome. Go to a state or town you’ve never been to before. Hunt. Fish. Hike. Bike. Just do something that adds to your list of life experiences. And then write about it so you can lock in those experiences for the rest of your life. Adventuring is just a series of small steps that add up to a grand experience.
2. Bring that camera along. A real one.
I used to be amazed that smartphones could take halfway good photos without even resembling a camera. Now, I’m just kind of numb to it. Maybe this is just my photographer bias kicking in, but there is still something sacred about taking an SD card, putting it into your computer, importing the photos, and editing each one individually. As cool as Instagram is, and believe me I use it all the time, a filter can’t do a shot from a camera justice. Use your cell for opportunity shots, but bring a digital camera with you everywhere you go. The world will become your canvas, and you will become responsible for turning simple situations into art. Suddenly you’re the one framing life for your audience, and that power is awesome.
3. Meet someone from every culture.
To some, racism may seem like deep-rooted hate for the stereotypical definition of a culture. But I think it may be more than that. I think it may be fear of adventure. Fear of getting out there and seeing what the world is like, worrying it may contradict your own paradigm. But a simple remedy for that is simply getting to know someone from every culture you can. If you go college, this can be incredibly simple. The people from different cultures will be the ones without any friends, despite the fact that they likely are looking to make them. Don’t be scared to just go up and talk to people when given the chance. Make if your life goal to meet someone from every background you can.
4. Commit yourself to getting good at new things.
Sometimes the process of learning something can be an adventure in itself. Right now I’m learning to play golf, and I admittedly suck at it. But if I keep practicing for 30 minutes a day, I’ll eventually get to where I can hit the ball straight every time. So, pick up that musical instrument you’ve been wanting to learn and just give yourself an opportunity to acquire it. Try out a new language. Figure out how to ride a bike or swim. Discover how to play chess. Just do something to keep learning new things. Adventures come in many different forms, but they all involve learning.
5. You can adventure without getting off the couch.
It’s amazing that we can have artificial adventures, but with media we can do just that. Books are probably the most engaging way to do that, as they keep your imagination going non-stop. Video games aren’t far behind, as the interactive stories they can tell are phenomenal. Movies. TV shows. They’re all ways you can be adventurous while at the same being perfectly safe. And while they aren’t necessarily the riskiest adventures in the world, they can still enhance who you are. Just… try to avoid mindless fluff. That really doesn’t do much for you.
Long story short, Go. Learn. Take pictures. The world may be too small, but at least it makes it easier for the adventures to come to you. So get out there and just be yourself, and be adventurous.