Taking a photo while hiking at Black Hawk State Historic Site

Three Mistakes I Made

Want to take an adventure, but don’t think you have the time, money, or opportunity to do so right now?
I used to believe that, but I’ve come around to a different way of thinking.
Read on and avoid the mistaken beliefs that held me back.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

When I first realized that I wasn’t leading the adventurous life that I wanted, I found myself stymied. It seemed like I had no money, no opportunities, and no extra time, so it took me longer than it should have to get myself off the couch. Eventually, I realized that I needed to make a change; I had more opportunities than I realized, I just hadn’t been seeking them out. For so long, I thought I was bored, when actually, I was boring!

I set out to change that, and if I can do it so can you. I’m glad that more and more people are trying to figure out how to lead a more adventurous life. There can be challenges; maybe you’re out of practice, maybe you’re new to adventuring, or maybe you just need a little help trying to figure out what to do next. Whatever obstacles you face, I hope I can help you along your way.

With that in mind, I want to share with you three mistakes I made early on, that kept me from getting out and leading an adventurous life. These wrongly held beliefs kept me on the couch far too long, so read on and avoid some of the mistakes I made.

1. I believed that adventures have to be far-away, exotic, extremely difficult, or dangerous.

The thought of traveling around the globe and exploring exotic locales is thrilling, no doubt about that. But actually doing it isn’t always accessible; it requires lots of preparation, time, and money. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t consider taking a journey to a faraway land, but if you’re not in a position to do so at the moment, you can still have an adventure. There are tons of opportunities near your home for you to get your blood pumping. If you’re still set on that trip around the world (and I think you should be), practice these microadventures to start training your inner explorer so that you’re ready when the time comes!

2. I believed that adventure requires a lot of expensive equipment.

I love my gear. Most outdoorsy people do. I love my Cotopaxi roll-top and daypack. We recently invested in some new sleeping bags and a lighter more durable tent during an REI clearance sale. I almost always have my Mora strapped to my hip when I’m camping, and I take my Estwing any time I think I might need to process firewood. Gear is great, and can make an experience a lot more enjoyable, but expensive stuff isn’t necessary to have an adventure. Despite being a quality pack, my Cotopaxi Luzon is incredibly inexpensive, and my Mora costs so little that it’s hard to believe how great a knife it really is (and to be clear, it is awesome- a review is in the works). Our new tent and sleeping bags are a little more expensive than entry level gear, but if you’re just starting out with some car camping at a nearby park an inexpensive tent and sleeping bags from the local big box store will get you where you need to go. Fancy equipment is great, and I’m always trying to improve my kit, but don’t let a light wallet stop you from getting out and having an adventure this weekend.

3. I believed that an adventure has to take up a lot of time.

“I’m going to take an adventure when I finally get some free time.” I hear this over and over. Once upon a time, I said it over and over myself. The truth is, however, is if you wait until you have time, you’ll never go. You have to make time. That may sound daunting, but it’s easier than you think. Is there one day a week when you don’t have to be at your job or other responsibility? Do you have two hours to spare on that day? If so, travel for half an hour, hike for an hour, then return home. In two hours, you had an adventure. Sure, it wasn’t a long expedition, it was a microadventure, but you got yourself out of the house, spent an hour active outside, and that’s how it begins. Start small, just an hour here or there, and that will grow to grander adventures.

Don’t make the mistakes I did, don’t believe that you can’t have an adventure at this point in your life. Go hiking, camp somewhere near your house, or take a mini-road trip for the day. These microadventures are going to get your blood pumping; you’re going to be excited about your life and enthusiastic for adventure. Start now, not later, and try something new this weekend. You’ve got nothing to lose except self-imposed limitations. Get up, get out, and get intrepid.


11 thoughts on “Three Mistakes I Made

  1. Great advice Wade. I believed the same thing in the beginning but have learned my lesson over the past year or so.

    I love how you said, “I thought I was bored, when actually, I was boring!” I keep telling people that only boring people get bored that easily and that often. I always said, “If you don’t want to spend time with you, why should I want to spend time with you?” Some people thought that was a bit harsh, but the ones hellbent on improving themselves soon caught on.

    1. I always try to add, “but you don’t have to stay that way!” to the bored/boring conversation. I wrote a whole post about it giving fairly simple instructions about what to do, how to save some money, etc. I still get an e-mail on occasion thanking me for the advice. Sometimes you just need something to shake you a bit so that the scales fall from your eyes.

  2. Good points. Re. point 2, I always remind myself that some of the cheapest equipment on the market now, was cutting edge maybe 30 years ago and so if I would have been delighted with it then, why not make do with it now?

  3. How about “I believed watching television was an adventure”?

    Here’s a poser for you: if you get out of the house and do something different in your hometown, does it count as travel?

    1. Hmmm, I don’t know if it counts as travel, but it certainly can be quite a trip! There’s an old Marcel Proust quote, something like, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” I’ve found that to be very true.

  4. Excellent advice Wade. Ruts can be difficult to climb out of, so small steps, however small, are a good place to start. Definitely agree with Mick Canning on the kit of years ago – kit wasn’t always as it is now.

  5. I’m a great believer in the “small adventure” – just doing something that’s completely new for you. I know many people (often the recently separated) who won’t do things because they’ve got “no-one to do them with”. For some, even going to a movie, a street festival, or a craft fair alone is way out of their comfort zone. Sad, because they miss out on so much – including the pleasure of chatting to strangers.

    1. Sometimes we just need to say yes. When someone asks me to try something new, I always try to make sure my default answer is yes. I may have to say no after looking at my schedule and my budget, but I never want “no” to be my default answer when asked to go do something awesome. I want to encourage everyone to step a little outside of their comfort zone. Great stuff is on the other side! Hopefully my posts are helping some people get out there and enjoy their lives a bit more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *