The idea of going on an adventure has been present in fantasy and folklore for thousands of years. From the chronicles of Hercules to Bilbo Baggins, this concept has filled humankind with a rush of excitement and captivate our attentions to this day. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, adventure is defined as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks… an exciting or remarkable experience.” It is the former definition, the undertaking of unknown risks and danger, that prevents us from partaking in the latter. The ‘what ifs’ and consequences fill our minds in an endless sea of doubt. Many people may pass up on opportunities because of the fear of these risks and the additional consequences.
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Whether it is starting your own business, backpacking across India, or simply trying a new activity, how you weigh the pros and cons can determine how much adventure you have in your life. So here are some things to consider when thinking about taking that first step into the unknown. Something to consider before I list the pros and cons of having adventures. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, embracing this fact is incredibly important! Oftentimes, money is a major deterrent from going on these excursions. People have obligations, whether it’s to their family, friends, co workers or themselves. The risk is a financial one, as well as a security one.
Not many people have the privilege to travel around the world with abandon, and that’s okay. The saying, “Jobs fill your pockets, adventure fills your soul,” may be true to an extent, but financial security is incredibly important. The idea of quitting your day job, packing up and getting out of your comfort zone, while appealing, may be impractical. This means planning is key.
What I’m talking about when I say to “have an adventure,” doesn’t necessarily have to be adventure travel, but it could also signify simply getting out of your comfort zone to try something new. Stepping out of your comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. It’s one of the very reasons why people avoid it. According to Lifehack the definition of comfort zone goes like this “behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk.”
Having a comfort zone is fine, the problem comes when we get too comfortable, too wrapped up in our own, familiar, little world. Our comfort zones become comfort cages if we’re not careful, and can hold us back from doing what our hearts truly want to seek out. There is almost always the risk of failure, maybe even danger, but that’s what makes an adventure.“Challenging yourself pushes you to dip into and utilize your personal store of untapped knowledge and resources.” M.D. Abigail Brenner, a psychiatrist in private practice, said in Psychology Today, “You have no idea what you’re made of unless and until you venture outside of your own familiar world.”Having an adventure, in this sense of the word, can be something as simple as trying a new food or exploring a different part of your neighborhood. Whatever gets the blood pumping and your mind off auto-pilot will help you grow as a person.
Another type of travel is something that has been covered in Tumblr quotes and novels galore: ‘adventure traveling’. As I stated before, one of the cons in this kind of adventure is having the financial burden of everyday life hanging over your head. However, if you find yourself in the position or with the opportunity to pursue this, there are some benefits you should know about. World traveler and award winning author, Candice Gaukel Andrews, wrote in her article, Ten Reasons Why Adventure Travel is Good for You, the physical, mental and spiritual benefits to traveling around the world. In the article, she says that not only does adventure traveling get you dirty and boosts your immune system, some doctors are also handing out “park prescriptions” to treat a wide range of health conditions. The benefits it provides for people mentally are no less impressive.
According to a study done in Proceedings, an online medical journal for the National Academy of Sciences, a research team took 60 people over 60 years of age and had them participate in hiking three times a week for a year. The end result: the hippo campus in their brains increased by an average of 2 percent. Along with helping the brain, it also increases your ”tolerance for uncertainty.”
“Placing yourself in situations where things don’t always go as planned — such as on an adventure trip — helps you learn to cope with the uncertainties in life,” Andrews wrote, “And there is no shortage of those.” Adventure traveling also allows for a reflective state of mind that encourages one to learn from the moments that getting out of your comfort zone would promote. Sue Badyari, CEO of the Huma Charity Challenge, says, “In nature, the disconnect from screens, mobile phones and the distractions of social media, work and home schedules and the wonderful immersion with nature – are not only important, but vital for us human beings.”So get off that computer, put down your phone and try something new. Who knows? The results may surprise you.
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