4 Reasons To Hate Adventure, and How To Get Over It

Don’t get me wrong, most of us love a good adventure. But sometimes there are reasons to hate adventure. I’ll give you four examples today, and offer solutions on how to fix them.

1. Fear & Anxiety

Adventure is largely about the perpetual pursuit of pushing your limits, always aiming your sights on the next big rush. Sometimes in the middle of doing this you realize you’re in too deep, and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is exactly when fear and anxiety sets in, two dreadful and common feelings found in adventure.

It’s happened to me many times. I only got a few hours of sleep one night on my last whitewater trip because I already got my ass kicked twice by the river and we were headed into a remote wilderness section called Adrenaline Ally in the morning. No backing out. Sweet dreams, right?

The Fix: Focus on what you can control. In my whitewater example, I made sure I ate a good breakfast, stayed hydrated, and laid off the beer until we were done with Adrenaline Ally. You better believe I immediately cracked open a cold one afterwards, though.

2. One-Upsmanship

The next guy is always going to attempt to one-up you, whether you’re in the field or swapping stories at the bar. It’s a fact of life in the adventure community, and sometimes it’s just plain annoying.

This exchange is enjoyable when two parties are sharing valuable information, but it’s irritating when your adventure accomplishments are constantly belittled. “You bungee jumped at an amusement park? Weak sauce, bro. I BASE jumped off El Capitan.”

The Fix: Easy. Ignore the competitive one-upper and move on. Or one-up them with unrealistic tales. “You BASE jumped off El Capitan? LOL! I sailed around the world on the backs of killer whales, surviving on box jellyfish along the way.” If they try to top that, you know they’re full of shit.

3. Bucket Lists

Bucket lists. I don’t mind them, necessarily. It makes sense, wanting to jot down every last adventurous thing you can think of and then feeling satisfied when you cross items off your list.

I just think the concept has been blown out of proportion. 100,001 “must-do” activities on your bucket list? Really? To me, it’s a slightly rigid, inflexible approach to adventure.

The Fix: Hear about something cool you’d like to try, and then make arrangements to try it as soon as you can. This works best for those of you with a “go with the flow” mentality. Hardcore list makers? Not so much.

4. Gear

Gear can be a touchy subject. There will be times when you are made to feel inadequate because you can’t afford top of the line equipment. The dude at the shop is just doing his job when he suggests the thousand dollar upgrade. The twerp on the trail is just doing his job when he talks down on your cheap tent.

The Fix: Go with what works best for you. Always. Experiment with different set-ups. If a piece of gear fails, dump it. It’s OK to have different set-ups for different scenarios. And it’s more economically feasible to amass your gear collection over time, rather than going all out right from the get-go.

Now stop being a hater and go do something fun today.



  1. Fear and anxiety could potentially be an issue for me. Anytime you try something new it’s bound to increase your anxiety ’cause you don’t know what to expect. It can also be exciting and give me a thrill, too. It goes both ways.

  2. Going back to your previous post, which I don’t remember the title of – when you asked us what some of our bucket list items were – I mentioned doing Ironman Lake Placid. I have begun training, and I have begun to really trim down. My goal is to be be “ultra lean” for a woman (18% body fat) and to keep working with my coach, who will ultimately shape me into an Iron(wo)man. Every day I have doubts. Every day they’re different .. but I suppose these could be categorized under ‘fear & anxiety’ .. because I have never been 18% body fat. and I have never done an ironman triathlon. So even though I am taking baby steps – one day at a time – it’s still really scary.

    Great post!

    1. Wow! Very impressive! Kudos to you for taking those first baby steps. You have to start somewhere, right? Just think, if you stick to it, you’ll be an athletic machine! Thus far, do you have more anxiety about your 18% goal or actually doing an Ironman? Or are they about equal?

      Man, thanks for the motivation! I’m totally rooting for you.

      1. Thanks, Eric! Both are just out of the realm of what I believe is possible, but if you read my latest post http://trikatykid.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/getting-back-to-whats-good/ you will see the initial change in my body from just 2 weeks of this wonderful nutritional program I’m on. I am so excited about doing an Ironman one day. I always thought I would be one of those “chunky triathletes” as I once actually referred to myself as on this blog. But no. When I get there, I will get there LEAN. Can’t wait. Thank you for the reply. 🙂 Your blog is one of my favorites.

  3. Great list Eric!
    1 – Fear and Anxiety – In regards to adventure, if one hasn’t felt it in a while, maybe it’s time.
    2 – One-Upsmanship – Mostly a ‘guy’ thing. I like swapping stories, but when encountering a One-Upper I find that a light pat on the back followed by ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ then walking away works every time.
    3 – Bucket Lists – I have one, a short one, but I much rather the spontaneous, wherever the road leads, kind of adventure. Never underestimate Plan B!
    4 – Gear – I’m not a shopper, gear is one of the few things I actually enjoy spending money on. This said, I’m not easily intimated. The two things I won’t scrimp on are boots and packs, other than these my gear is flexible, inexpensive, and easily replaced. Again, gear-envy is mostly a guy thing.

    1. I kinda had a feeling No. 2 was mostly a guy thing. I’m trying your technique next time. Although I’m sure my pat on the back will be followed by an ever heartier pat on the back from the one-upper, and then we’ll be right back where we started.

      Short bucket lists are cool. They’re more focused, and more achievable, IMO. Care to share one of these days?

      OK, guys might partake in gear envy more than the gals, but isn’t it fair to say the gals partake in every other kind of shopping-related envy way more than the guys? Maybe? 🙂

      1. As a woman I’ve managed to master the ‘quick come-back and walk away’ tactic…leaving absolutely no doubt that following me is not an option. 😉

        Bucket List item: The Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. I had the chance to do it a couple of years ago, I had to decide between it, New Zealand, or Timor. Timor won…but mostly because a friend challenged my ‘comfort zone tolerance’ by stating I’d choose Kokoda or New Zealand because they were ‘easier’. (Note: There is nothing EASY about PNG!)

        And you’re right about the shopping thing….though honestly I just don’t get the whole attraction to shopping.

  4. Gear – that is a great tip. When my husband and I were younger – we had a two-man tent, a portable grill and an ice chest…lol! As the years have gone by we have added things that make it easier and more comfortable. A tent you can actually stand up in (yay) and even a small oven that runs on propane.

  5. As always, you put up a great list!
    1 – The best way I’ve found to overcome those (and they are easily my biggest adversaries) is to imagine my joy and satisfaction the second I’ve finished. That and thinking about how much I’ll regret it if I don’t do it are also excellent motivators to get over that hurdle.
    2 – Some folks can’t be fixed. That said, I love a good round of dick-waving “Have you tried…” stories. Best when the more accomplished are encouraging to the less accomplished – “That’s great dude! Now that you mastered the gym climbing, you have to get to the Gunks and tackle High Exposure!”
    3 – Not a fan of published bucket lists – 1000 places to see before you die. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people having their own personal lists. Formalized or not, don’t we all?
    4 – Get what works is the best rule of thumb.

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