It happens to everyone at some point: life becomes predictable, maybe a little dull. On one hand, people thrive with structure, so having a routine can make you more productive and less stressed. On the other hand, you need the occasional adventure. Adventure is about exciting new experiences. It can also involve uncertainty, risk, and danger — but do not let the darker side of exploration scare you away. Fully embracing your life and experiencing your emotions can help you live a longer, healthier life. How can you bring more adventure to your life?
Old friends are treasures. But if you want to shake up your life and encounter a new point of view, talk to someone new. That may be out of your comfort zone, which is part of what makes it an adventure. How do you make new friends? Be friendly. Seek out the new person at work and offer to show him around. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor and see if she wants to try out the new corner bakery. A recent study shows that spending 50 hours with someone new can turn an acquaintance into a casual friend. Obviously, additional hours and shared experiences will serve to deepen the friendship. You may never become lifelong best buddies, but in the meantime, it may be fun to take part in activities you and your old friends may never have thought to try.
Travel is famous for the way it can open your mind. Weekend getaways to the family cabin are great, but maybe it is time you branched out—way out. Go to the other side of the planet and spend weeks roaming foreign cities and unfamiliar countryside. Australia is home to unique wildlife, gorgeous beaches, and bustling cities. It is an ideal launching point for additional journeys; many cruises from Sydney can take you to exotic locations like New Zealand, Tahiti, and Bora Bora. For a study in contrasts, visit Japan. It is home to frenetic Tokyo and lightning-fast bullet trains, but it is also home to relaxing hot springs and serene contemplative gardens. Anywhere you need to learn a new language promises adventure, so install that language app and start studying.
You may already have a hobby, so why try a new one? Continuing a hobby is fun, and can provide familiarity and continuity. However, starting a new one is more exciting. If your hobbies are mostly cognitive, such as crossword puzzles and reading, try something physical (hiking, dancing or golf) or creative (drawing, pottery or taxidermy). The farther out of your comfort zone you go, the more likely you are to stimulate new regions of your brain. Do not invest a lot of money at first — take a community college class rather than setting up a complete woodshop in your garage — so if you do not like it you will not feel guilty dropping it to try something else. Who knows what hidden talents you may discover?
Sailing around the world sounds like a great idea, but you may not have the time and budget for it. No worries — you can still enjoy a more adventurous life by changing your outlook. When you are stuck in traffic on the morning commute, search for a new radio station and sing along with gusto even if you do not know the words (or the language). Or take a detour, but think of it as a chance to explore rather than as an inconvenience. Change up little bits of your routine. Cook dinner with ingredients you have never used before. See a movie you think you will hate. Be curious. Next time you look at pictures of the Grand Canyon, do not just wonder how the canyon got there. Sign up for a geology course. You may start noticing different types of rocks on your evening walks, or you may start a second career with your local parks department. The fact that you are not sure where it will lead is part of what makes it great. As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”