Adventures are for everyone

I believe that adventures are for everyone. Yet people tell me all sorts of reasons why they don’t or can’t have adventures in their lives.

wild flowers in background with text that says adventures are for everyone

What’s stopping YOU from leading a life of adventure?

The most common reasons people give me are:

  • I’m too old, my adventuring days are long gone
  • I’m not fit / strong / co-ordinated enough
  • I don’t have enough money
  • I’ve got too much pain
  • I’m too scared to do adventurous things
  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t have the energy
  • It looks too hard
  • I can’t leave my children / partner / dependants / pets
  • I can’t have time off work
  • My health won’t allow me
  • I don’t know anyone else who would want to do it
  • I’ll wait till I feel motivated

Acknowledge the obstacles but don’t let excuses paralyse you

people having a picnic on a grassy road verge with bicycles lying down on the grass
Don’t let your fears and lack of confidence stop you from having adventures in life

These are all legitimate issues that need to be acknowledged and talked about. But it’s vital you don’t stop there with simply talking or whingeing. You see, the thing is that whingeing can turn into excuses. Excuses can turn into paralysis because you can’t see a way forward. Being stuck in a rut is no fun and the downward spiral can be terrifying.

The excuses that have paralysed me

I’m writing this post, not only because I’m a mental health social worker and it’s my job to share information that improves your wellbeing. I’m also a human being and I know what it’s like to be sick and in pain and to care for dependants who are sick and in pain. I’ve spent 29 years as a stay at home Mum prioritising my children’s needs above all else, working part-time jobs and building a business around them as they grew up. I know what it’s like to be sleep deprived, devoid of energy, overwhelmed and scared. I’ve often been geographically isolated from friends and didn’t want to go along to activities on my own. Money, fitness and skill have definitely been obstacles to enjoying adventures. And as I get older I’ve had those thoughts of “Hmmm….am I too old for this? Will I hurt myself? Does anyone else my age do this?”

Learn to manage the obstacles

So I’m not anyone special when it comes to adventures. I don’t have any superpowers, and I don’t have any magic fixes but I have learned a lot about the link between mental health and an adventurous mindset. By learning to manage my obstacles I’ve stepped into another world of excitement, confidence and hopefulness and I’d like to share my ideas with you so that you can too. My way of managing my obstacles and excuses may not work for you. After all, we’re all different, so you’ll need to spend some time experimenting to see what works for you.

Are you open to the possibility of adventure? And all the benefits that go with it? Read my blog post about Why You Need To Have An Adventure Goal

Getting past your obstacles

You’ll need to think creatively about your obstacles, those things that get in the way of you having adventures in life. Thinking about the problems in the same old way you always have probably won’t get you anywhere. A great place to start is rethinking your ideas about exactly what an adventure is.

Adventures DON’T have to be physically demanding!

Let’s get the definition straight here – adventures DON’T have to be physically demanding, world record-breaking feats although that’s what we generally think of when we hear the word. These sorts of activities make for dramatic headlines but there’s much more to an adventurous life than that.

Adventures stretch you outside your comfort zone

An adventure is anything you do that challenges yourself in some way. It usually involves an element of RISK (eg physical, emotional or social) and stretches you OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE either a little bit or a lot – and that’s different for everyone. If it makes you feel nervous or excited and is outside your comfort zone, then it’s an adventure! How cool is that! No comparisons with anyone else (or your younger self) shall be entered into! So, no matter your age, gender, time available or what other responsibilities you have in life, there’s a suitable adventure waiting for you.

Every single day is chock full of opportunities for you to choose your own adventure. So let’s get going!

Choose your own adventure!

people looking up at a waterfall
Hiking to a waterfall is a favourite outdoor adventure

We’ve established that adventures don’t have to be crazy headlining stunts, and that there are opportunities in our everyday lives to experience adventure. Now it’s time to discover some adventures that are just right for you – no matter your age, fitness level, areas of interest or ability. Remember, you need to choose your adventures based on what makes you feel a bit excited or nervous and that’s slightly outside your comfort zone. So grab a notepad and pen, and as you read through the list below, allow yourself to be inspired to create a list of adventures you’d consider taking on this year.

Social Adventures

Contact an old friend
Join a club or social group
Invite someone over for a cuppa
Go to a class and learn a new skill
Connect with an online group
Research your family history
Volunteer at an event or fundraiser
Organise an outing with friends
Meet a friend at a cafe
Go to a conference or community event
Go to a festival you haven’t been to before
Organise a meet-up of extended family, friends or colleagues
Throw a party or have a family picnic

Physical Adventures

Learn a new sport
Join a sporting or exercise club or group
Climb a mountain
Go on a multi-day hike
Try white water rafting
Enter a race
Participate in a charity walk
Explore a National Park
Take up a new hobby

Spiritual and Cultural Adventures

Go to a meditation class
Take up a daily mindfulness practice
Visit a new place
Travel to a place that speaks a foreign language or volunteer with an ESL (English as a second language) class
Eat at a restaurant that serves food you are not familiar with
Prepare a meal using ingredients you don’t usually use
Plant and nurture a garden
Visit a place of worship that you are not familiar with
Help a charity

Mental Adventures

Join a chess or card club
Make or create something new or from repurposed materials
Teach yourself a new skill (eg crochet, painting, whittling, programming, video editing)
Experiment to create your own recipes or designs
Set up an online business
Take a class or sign up to a course
Get a new hobby that uses your brain in new ways
Become a mentor for a new worker
Write a book or start a blog

art and craft materials spread out on a table
Creative adventures can include art and craft at home or at a workshop

What inspired and do-able adventures have you written down on your list?

I’d love to know! Send me a message.

Be your own boss and get that adventure started!

And now it’s time to get started – be your own boss and take the actions you need to sprinkle an adventure or two into your life today.

You can listen to Adventures are for Everyone on the “Outdoors is my Therapy” podcast!

Daisy Spoke avatar has long curly hair and smiling mouth

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in ‘Daisy Spoke’ that inform, inspire and empower women to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Women’s Wellness: Creating the ideal exercise experience!

Connection ….. Ease ….. Laughs ….. Shared experiences ….. Less pressure

These are some of the motivations that women and girls speak about when offered the opportunity for women-only sporting activities. There are many other reasons that individuals (whether identifying as male, female or otherwise) gravitate towards gender-specific activities. Despite the arguments for inclusiveness in sport, there are many women and girls who are reluctant to participate unless women-only events and activities are on offer.

There is growing concern for obesity and other conditions related to sedentary behaviour including chronic illness and poor mental health. Apart from the obvious burden on the nation’s economy, the real burden of poor health is lived out and carried everyday by individuals, families and communities. As a community, I believe we need to creatively explore the possibilities when it comes to getting people active, and not expect individuals to slot into the pre-existing boxes for engaging with physical activities.

Our society has been predominantly constructed and written by the male voice. Our medical research is skewed towards what works best on male subjects. And likewise, our sporting establishments have traditionally been set up by and for men. For women, there has long been the pressure to fit in with these establishments, or make minor modifications to better meet their identified need.

Rural and regional Australia has poorer health outcomes than its urban counterparts, so I’m really keen to make a constructive contribution to the health and wellbeing of my community on the southern Darling Downs, and to encourage women and girls to creatively construct systems and routines so they can enjoy being more active.

But I think it’s time we questioned whether our systems are meeting everyone’s needs –  not only women. Times they are a changin’ and the best time for change is now. I’d love to hear ideas from everyone regardless of gender:

  • What works for you when it comes to getting active and staying active?

  • What is your ideal way to increase your physical activity and reduce your sedentary behaviour?

  • What would motivate you to stay committed to your health and wellness through exercise and physical activity?

Leave your comments and ideas, or head over to Daisy Spoke’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/daisyspokeblog/?ref=bookmarks

5 Things I’ve Learned About Life Through Mountain Biking

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe was an unexpected bonus to the fresh air, exercise and family time that initially motivated me to jump on my bike and get into the great Australian bush. Over the past few years I’ve managed to improve my riding skills somewhat, but what I’ve truly learned is much, much bigger than how to keep the rubber side down! Here I would like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned about life through mountain biking.

Daisy Field

1. Look where you want to go

When you focus your attention on something right in front of you, it immediately becomes an obstacle between yourself and your end goal. On a mountain bike this might be a rock, tree root, or a deep rut in the track. You can be guaranteed as soon as you fix your attention on it, well ….. that’s where you’ll go! The trick is to acknowledge the presence of the obstacle but stay most attentive to the line you actually want to take. It’s the same in life generally. It’s so easy to get caught up in the distractions around us, the bumps and hiccups in our day, and to lose sight of our end goal. It’s so easy to give up when those unexpected obstacles get in our way. But this lesson is a keeper! Keep your eyes looking where you WANT to go.

MTBLook

2. Lean into what you most fear

So much of mountain biking seems counter-intuitive to me. My inner child has a strong survival instinct and tells me loud and clear that if something looks dangerous, I should get as far away from it as I can. And so it happens that learning various MTB skills such as cornering and negotiating steep descents has been a big challenge for me. Leaning into the curve and getting closer to the (very hard rocky) ground that’s whizzing past just doesn’t seem to make sense. Yet it works time and time again! Acknowledging and then leaning into other things we fear in life can be likewise empowering – going to learn-to-swim classes as an adult to deal with a fear of water, accepting a work role that will extend your skills beyond your self-belief, or even going shopping alone. We all have fears and we all have the opportunity of experiencing the sensation of empowerment that comes when we confront and lean into them instead of running away from them.

3. Going slow is okay

I’m pretty much a slow-poke on my MTB. At least I am when it comes to going downhill or over the technical terrain. I’ve been very hard on myself at times for not being able to keep up with others, especially when I’ve practised hard and haven’t seen any significant improvement. But do you know what I’ve learned? ‘Fast’ is not superior to ‘not the fastest’ (unless you’re in serious racemode of course!). But really, when it comes down to it, what actually makes ‘fast’ such a desirable state of being in our society? Giving myself permission to go at my own pace whether it’s on my bike, swimming at the pool, or working on a project, seems to help me focus on moment-to-moment enjoyment which truly enriches my life. Going slow, or slower, or at my own pace, does not equate with failure or being deficient in anyway. Slowing down other parts of my life helps me to meaningfully engage with those things and those people that matter the most to me.

RiderInForest

4. Take a break when you need it

All-out fast paced riding up hills, down rocky terrain, winding through bush trails, dodging tree roots, negotiating loose rocks, squeezing between trees – it’s exhausting work for the body and mind! There’s always that one person, you know them …… the eternal chatterbox ….. who seems to be able to keep nattering on endlessly and cheerfully and looks surprised when you don’t answer because OH MY GOSH ….. my heart rate has been sitting on 172 for the past 10 minutes, my heart feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest, and my head is so light it feels like it’s going to float away! I need a break! And even if the rest of you don’t, I’ve learnt from past experience to speak up and express my needs otherwise I’m likely to run out of fuel before we get to the end. Same in life – anything and anyone runs smoother and more efficiently given time to rest and collect. Listen to your mind and body – do what you need to in order to get it done. It’s not a weakness to have a break, and in fact, others will probably be secretly very thankful!

5. Practice, practice, practice

As a child and younger adult, there were many things that seemed to come naturally to me. Anything that I couldn’t do pretty well the first time I tried it, well … basically I didn’t bother too much about it again. I never really learned much about persistence when the going got tough! I don’t recall anyone teaching me to ride a bike. It’s one of those things that seemed to come naturally. However, MTB is vastly different to riding on a road or concrete path or even your average back yard. The techniques and skills required to safely negotiate the rough and often narrow terrain of single track have often seemed insurmountable to me, the middle-aged female trying to prove her worth. So, with humility, I’ve learnt that I can practise and persist at practising, and then practise some more. And eventually, gradually I learn new skills. I figure there’s a heck of a lot of brain-rewiring going on up there as I try, retry and try again, day after day after day, and then still needing lots more practice to get it right. In my work life, this lesson of persisting and practising has enabled me to implement some much needed changes that would otherwise have never happened.

These are my first life lessons learned through mountain biking, but they are not my last. I continue to learn and grow as a rider and as a human being. Watch out for my upcoming article “Another 5 Things I’ve Learned About Life Through Mountain Biking”.

Daisy Field