fear

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.

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Why fear of the unknown is holding you back

“What if…”

The death of many adventures usually starts out that way. An idea springs to mind, you dream of the possibilities, planning commences, and then you’re confronted with one of life’s biggest roadblocks: You ask yourself “what if?”

We humans are exceptionally skilled at creating future scenarios in our heads. We’re able to connect nonexistent dots to other nonexistent dots. For if “A” happens then surely “B” will happen, which spells disaster at “C”!

It’s as if a thousand years of conditioning has taught us to trust the instinctual moment of initial restraint.

“What if there is a predator around the corner?” “What if our hunt is not successful?” “What if our enemy raids our village tonight?”

Our ancestor’s crippling fear of the unknown settled into our own DNA. And while modern man is faced with a new set of unique unknown fears (credit card debt, loss of employment, etc.), the question of “what if” remains a constant inhibitor in life.

But how many times does an event play out exactly how we anticipated? Fear of the unknown is just that—unknown. We have no idea what will happen in any given situation, yet we allow fear to guide our thoughts and emotions.

You will no doubt feel a hint of restraint while planning your next adventure. A million things can—and maybe even will—happen. Adventure is so attractive precisely because of the unknown possibilities. Embrace this concept.

And always remember that the people in your life aren’t exactly qualified fortune tellers. They’re basing their assumptions on their own set of unknown fears when telling you your current adventurous plans are stupid, or dangerous, or way too risky.

They can’t even tell you what will happen tomorrow, next week, or even two hours from now. Yet they’ll make sure you contemplate “what if” to the point of full-blown anxiety.

Maybe your plans are stupid, and dangerous and way too risky. So what? If you allow fear of the unknown to hold you back from pursuing adventure, you’ll never know what could have been. Instead of experiencing the thrill of a lifetime, you’ll be stuck asking yourself a different sort of “what if.”

“What if I had just went with my gut and pursued my own adventures?”