Adventure poll results show $$$ holds us back the most

The results are in from yesterday’s poll, where I asked my adoring fan base (humor me) what it is that prevents them from having more adventures.

“$$$” took the lead early on, eventually coming out on top with 33% of the votes. “Other” came in a close second with 27% of the votes. Responses for “Other” varied, with voters reporting “family,” “physical limitations,” “nothing,” and more as reasons why they aren’t having more adventures.

“Lack of skills” and “Excuses” accumulated 13% of the vote, with “Nasty weather” and “Who has time for adventure?!” only receiving 7% of the vote. The remaining options—”Scary animals,” Scary people,” “Fear of the unknown,” “Lack of gear”—all received zero votes.

When I created this poll, I had reasonable solutions in mind for each option. Short on money? Save more. Can’t find the time? Max out your weekend. Lack of skills? Find a buddy.

But then my good blogging buddy, Alex Autin, pretty much blew my mind with the following observation:

“‘Excuses’ is the only real answer. Everything else falls under that category. Little kids find incredible adventure in a small patch of backyard or playground. They don’t look for excuses, they only look for fun.”

Chew on that for a minute. “Excuses” is the only real answer. Everything else falls under that category.

Alex’s comment really got me thinking. As adventurous types, we live with an insatiable urge to do it all and conquer the world. Our adventures often put us in far-flung corners of the earth, facing challenges we never thought possible.

What good is this thinking if we currently lack the funds, or the time, or the skills? We’ll spend most of the year wishing for that one big, expensive adventure, when adventure abounds right there in your neck of the woods. Talk about lost opportunity.

Alex is so spot on. Like most kids, I would spend countless hours exploring the woods barefoot near my house, riding my bike to new, “undiscovered” spots, building top secret forts, and getting dirty as hell in the process.

Through it all, I didn’t spend a dime.

(OK, maybe I did deduct a few dollars from my adventure expense account for the occasional cold bottle of Sioux City Sarsaparilla and a pack of Big League Chew. Hey, adventuring is hard work!)

Alex’s comment also falls right in line with the philosophies of adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who was recently a 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year nominee.  A man who has accomplished much when it comes to adventure now advocates “microadventures,” small, local trips that begin and end at your doorstep.

“I started to think that it was possible to have an adventure anywhere. That it was really just a state of mind, committing to get off your backside. If that were true, I figured you could do this anywhere,” Humphreys told National Geographic.

So think about all of this next time you start making excuses. Money, time, and a lack of skills might hold you back from the big adventure around the corner. You’ll get there some day with proper planning.

In the meantime, step outside and start your adventure now.

If you need additional motivation, check out this great post on “Excusology from another blogging buddy, trikatykid.



  1. Yes, adventure can start right in your own backyard and in your own neighbourhood. My family and I have often packed a picnic lunch and gone out on a day trip to some part of the city we have not yet seen. A great way to get to know the area you are living in.

      1. We have had picnics in parks as well as in the middle of a concrete city – when you are hungry, you can find a spot anywhere 🙂

  2. To me thats the only way to look at life. Life is an adventure, everyday is an adventure. To me there is no excuse to not have an adventure. whether one is fat, small, big, skinny, high, drunk, bored, poor, rich or anywhere in between someone can have an adventure with the right mindset. To me money is the grossest excuse for not doing something. I live by if theres a will theres a way. If you have a will for adventure, It will happen. good writings eric!

    1. “Life is an adventure, everyday is an adventure.” My thoughts exactly. If you make a commitment to approach life like this, awesome things will happen.

  3. Money does not = adventure. Years ago I decided to go outside the US for a while, not for a week or two, but a long while. This was my first solo adventure. I decided on Jamaica (for several reasons!). I got on the plane with $3,000. There’s a beach there that I love, and I certainly couldn’t afford to stay on that beach… I took a walk up the hill overlooking the beach and after talking to several locals I found a little house to rent for $100 per month. I gave the landlord $600 cash and was set for 6 months. After that 6 months I did the same on the cliff side and found another house for the same price…again I paid for 6 months in advance. Doing the math, after the cost of rent I had $150 per month to live on for the full year I was there….which easily paid for my food. For fun I found work on deep sea fishing boats and other boats that would take tourists out to the smaller islands….I wasn’t paid, I did the work just so I could get to go along, hang out, meet cool people!Some of the friends I met were paying more in accommodations than I was spending for the entire year…so I would invite them to come stay at my place. No, money is not connected to adventure….just the want to do it.

    Great post Eric!

    1. Perfect example Alex! There you were, solo, $3,000 in your pocket in a new country, and you had the adventure of a lifetime!

  4. In a wider sense, I’d also add misperception to the list.
    I have a perception of what life should be, where Alex just goes out and makes it what it could be.

    And go her for setting me straight!!!

    1. Damn Guapo….you just nailed it. Misperception. We develop these misperceptions in our minds and the second we do we then start to look for evidence to back it up. And we ALWAYS find the evidence. This is true for adventure and, really, every aspect of life.

    2. Interesting observation, Guap. And one I have yet to give much thought to. Perception is usually false. I’m currently reading a great book titled You Are Not So Smart. One of the many points the author touches on is perception. We tend to make things up to suit our needs. So in this case, if you’re hesitant about finding an adventure, you might make up a good story/excuse as to why you aren’t capable.

      The difference between “should” and “could” is huge.

      Very interesting, indeed.

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