* Guest post by Jeff Hester of SoCalHiker.net*
An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.
Adventure comes in many shapes and sizes. Adventure isn’t something “other people” do, only to be watched later on the Discover Channel from the comfort of our couch. Adventure is something we all need in our lives. And it’s is something we can all enjoy.
There are a myriad of excuses that keep people from finding their path to adventure. I’m too young. I’m too busy. I’m too poor. I’m too old. I’ve got plenty of excuses of my own.
I am 51 years old. I’ve got full-time job (which I love) that keeps me very busy five days a week. I’m not going to quit my job and travel the world on a motorcycle, or live out of a van. I’m not an extreme athlete; in fact, I’m pretty average. But I’ve found ways to add mini-adventure to my life every week. And along the way, a few big adventures as well.
Here are a few ways you can inject more adventure in your life.
Throw out your preconceptions about adventure.
Real adventure knows no limits. Real adventure comes in many shapes and sizes. Adventure might simply involve doing something new; moving outside your comfort zone.
Adventure might involve participating in a photo walk. Or a “backyard expedition” with the kids. Adventure doesn’t always involve summiting a peak or conquering an arduous trail, but always brings a sense of wonder, discovery and fun.
Define what adventure means to you.
Don’t let me or anyone else define what adventure is for you. Only you can do this. In the hiking community, you are encouraged to “hike your own hike.” We all are motivated and inspired differently. The key is to find what ignites your passion, and pursue it.
I was an avid mountain biker. I rode three times a week on the great MTB trails in SoCal. One Saturday morning on a run down the San Juan trail, I went over the handlebars and broke my wrist. My orthopedist told me I was out of biking commission for at least three months. My definition of adventure had to change.
Although I couldn’t mountain bike, I could hike. I started hiking frequently with local hiking groups. Through these hikes, I injected little adventures into my daily life — hiking in the evenings and weekends, discovering new friends and new trails. This in turn, kindled a desire to do something I hadn’t done since 1980 — thru-hiking the John Muir Trail.
Make adventure a priority.
Do you want adventure? Real adventure doesn’t happen through wishful thinking. You have to make adventure a priority. Make adventure part of your schedule. Take time for mini- or even micro-adventures. And if you have bucket-list adventures, put them on the calendar. Big adventures require lots of preparation.
My big adventure was hiking the JMT exactly 30 years from the date I first thru-hiked it. This required me to be prepared, mentally and physically. For the JMT trip, I spent over a year researching, planning, preparing and training.
There were many little steps in the preparation. Discovering and resolving how and where we would resupply. Getting permits. Finding others to hike with me. Equipping ourselves. And getting our bodies ready for the adventure.
To properly prepare physically, I hiked. A lot. With a pack. I hiked weeknights. I hiked longer and further on the weekends. To test my equipment, I thru-hiked the Trans-Catalina Trail. To prepare for the elevation gain and altitude, I developed a training regimen I called the Six-Pack of Peaks–each progressively higher and more difficult. When I finally got to Yosemite, I was ready for the JMT.
Bring others along!
A solo adventure can be good for the soul. But remember the people you care about. Sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. Loved ones. They need adventure, too. Sharing an adventure can strengthen the bonds between us.
Adventure awaits. Open your eyes to your adventure, and begin the journey.
How do you define adventure?
I founded SoCalHiker.net as I was preparing to thru-hike the John Muir Trail, sharing my own experience, research and advice. SoCalHiker has grown to become one of the most popular resources for hiking in Southern California, with detailed guides to trails in Los Angeles, Orange County and beyond. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing about your adventures — big and small — at #STPLive Twitter Chat on Thursday at 4:00pm MST.