120 Days of Adventurous Living
With a year of travel plans on hold, I decided to live in the moment and challenge myself to have an adventure every day for a year!
Lockdown in full swing, I mastered the art of tiny adventures and threw in a couple of bigger ones to boot. I kayaked, swam, skinny-dipped, hiked and marathoned my way through 120 days. I was even made redundant and hospitalised - proof that no matter what curveballs life throws, there are no barriers to living adventurously.
The Adventure Challenge
How did it come about? In 2018 I started planning a trip that would take me across Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. As months passed, ideas blossomed, and a whole new way of travelling the world opened up to me. I could challenge myself by cycling, hiking and tuk-tuking across these continents and raise money for a good cause. I started redesigning my trip around adventure and giving back.
2020 came, and I was all set to go. But then COVID happened (how many sentences start like that nowadays?) The outbreak was declared a pandemic and the world stood still. I had no choice but to put all plans on hold indefinitely and begin the arduous task of unpicking.
Life became a game of moving house, losing money, news watching, overeating, drinking and fretting. I was living with the uncertainty of what may or may not be rather than focusing on the present. I realised I had two options; I could continue living in a state of fear of something that was entirely out of my control, or I could embrace life and live in the moment.
I chose the moment.
Having an adventure every day was an opportunity for me to pay attention and feed joy into my life. A chance to learn, celebrate, have fun, let go of my inhibitions and BE THE WEIRDO! I couldn't afford for time to slip away in a haze of food, drink and Netflix binging. Those distractions had served their purpose, and I was ready to move on.
In these last 120 days, I've thought of innumerable ways to challenge myself and make each day memorable. The act of creating something, volunteering, reading, learning, painting – these acts of doing were adventures in their simplest form. Who knew where that paintbrush, musical note or page in a book would take me?
The smallest steps are often the ones that lead to the most significant outcomes.
A few weeks ago, I was in a café, scrolling through social media, when a post on The Yes Tribe Facebook page, caught my attention. A broadcaster was calling for adventure stories for a local radio station. I flailed my arms around enthusiastically (in my head), and before my inner gremlin had a chance to object, I signed up. Here's what transpired following that brief Facebook exchange:
Initial feelings of excitement soon gave way to panic. The fraud police appeared waving 'who do you think you are?' banners, telling me to cancel, but I'd committed.
I had the interview. It was a success! I mean, I was nervous and rambled a bit. I didn't articulate myself as well as I could have, but I came away with a sense of achievement and a newfound confidence.
I believed I could do it again - but next time, better.
The whole process was so much fun. Perhaps in the future, I could be an interviewer?
I also made a meaningful connection with a stranger.
Essentially, I planted a seed. If I tended to it, it could blossom magically into new creative endeavours, confidence and friendships.
"Adventure happens when you turn your life into a story."
I think people often confuse living adventurously with living on the edge. An adventurous lifestyle isn't reserved for adrenaline junkies and athletes; it's for everyone!
Adventure meets you when you go outside with intention; when you explore with a sense of wonder and curiosity. It's that 'aha' moment when you create or learn something new and discover something about yourself or the world.
Adventure happens when you turn your life into a story. To invite it in, you send yourself out and say YES more. You begin to develop a clearer sense of who you are as an individual, allowing your values, strengths and character to shine. You tune in. You become.
Adventure is becoming.
The Snowball Effect Of Adventurous Living
"Where adventure leads you is anyone's guess, but there is beauty in that mystery. That beauty is living."
When you begin to live adventurously, the snowball starts and is limitless.
That cheap bicycle purchase and scoot around the neighbourhood may be the start of a big cycling adventure. One day the backstreets of Tooting, the next the wild plains of Africa.
But even if a grand adventure isn't for you, are small adventures any less worthy of pursuing? Absolutely not. My Adventure A Day challenge, undertaken in one of the most problematic years in recent history, is testament to that. Where adventure leads you is anyone's guess, but there is beauty in that mystery. That beauty is living.
Top 10 Highlights Of My Adventures So Far
Fundraising for Choose Love by completing 100 miles and hiking a marathon
Discovering my love of the rain - walking barefoot, cycling and jumping in it
Learning about nature's rhythms and commemorating each seasonal change
Throwing parties and celebrating ANYTHING! Even the bad stuff, because why not?
Having a 1980s nostalgia day, with coco pops, cartoons and basketball
Fire building, camping and stargazing
Wild swimming and skinny dipping
Being interviewed for the radio
In July, two awful things happened; I was made redundant, and a few days later, I tore a muscle in my lower back and was hospitalised. I've never experienced pain like it, and the depression that followed was paralysing.
Some days began with tears and a profound sense of dread (even before my injury). They always ended, however, with a sense of accomplishment and joy. My struggles were challenging, but even in my darkest day, I managed to find a light. That has been the gift of this project; this light, leading me into calm waters.
Life felt pretty shit - like I was being ganged up on somehow and kicked down; beaten. At first, reaching for this light felt like squeezing through a tiny crack. But the crack slowly widened into a gap until finally there was space enough for me to stand. In that space, I could begin the process of rebuilding my life; this is what my adventures have given me.
The greatest lesson I've learned is that there is not one single outcome. Opportunities are endless. I am fortunate to be in a position where I can make choices and redesign my life for the better. I have complete and utter freedom, and that is a rare gift I cannot turn my back on.
I invested my redundancy money in a life coaching diploma and new camera equipment. New skills and creative endeavours ahoy!
I have another 240 days of adventure reporting ahead of me, and the way life is arranging itself, I suspect they'll be active, creative and insightful.
Best of all, several snowballs have taken flight. They're growing and gaining momentum. What's next could be BIG, but if it turns out small, that's okay too.