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When was the last adventure you embarked on? Has it been so long ago that you can barely remember the feelings it created within you?

Monotony; it is what so many people are doomed to be in a perpetual state of. Whether it’s based on fear, social or familial programming, or the worst of all, contentment.
We all know people who are handcuffed by debt and/or their expenses. They feel the only solution to their situation is to work more. They work themselves harder and for much longer hours. Their bodies break down. Their faces age quicker than the time that passes should warrant. If you cannot think of a person like this then chances are that it is you. I know this because it used to be me.

Adventures are a figurative reset button. The prescription to curing monotony is adventure. Adventures come in sundry versions and durations. They can be as small as a quick break from work and responsibilities and as large as a multi-year sabbatical or a trip around the world.

The break itself is important, but what you do with the break will determine the actual value of how it will effect you. For example a week long stay-cation in which you work consistently on chores, home renovations, or your own independent business aspirations may be necessary for your life and development. However, at the end of that week you will not feel rested. You have just traded one grind for another.

If you take that same week and take several hours out of each day or a few days where you neglect your responsibilities and do something out of your norm you will discover new things about yourself, such as passions and drives. Take an adventure on a hiking trail up a fourteener with a camera. You may never have done this before and it can be intimidating. You may come to find that you have an awesome eye for photography and take great pictures. You may encounter some flora or fauna that truly inspire you. You may grow immensely from the intense workout and want more. Just the victory alone from conquering that 14er may push you forward to succeed in other areas of your life and business endeavors.

That adventure and subsequent discovery about passion for animals and plants may propel you to a new career or education path. Those pics you set up and took may be something people may be interested in. They may want to purchase them and put up in their home or office. The workout may teach you that you want to become a personal trainer instead of continuing on your current career path as a sales manager. These all lead to growth and happiness.

I have made several work and lifestyle adjustments that have allowed me to come away from the rote and monotonous. This comes from and is continued through my prescribed adventures. Perhaps of the most import was my willingness to say yes to available opportunities for adventure.

A few weeks ago my wife came downstairs and interrupted me while I was composing an article. She told me that a neighbor that I had recently connected with regarding our passion for biking was asking if I was interested in going on a mountain bike ride. I am passionate about my writing to the point that I would like to do it full time when it becomes sustainably profitable, but I still said yes.

We threw our bikes in the back of his Tacoma and drove over the closest small mountain, North Table Mountain near Golden, Colorado and rode around it, up it and then back down.

It was an awesome adventure. I could have kept pecking away at my keyboard, an adventure in its own right, but choosing the ride I grew an acquaintance level relationship with Barry into a friendship. I got a killer workout and worked on my tan. I saw some beautiful views and felt very fulfilled in the end.

Adventure allows you to form new bonds with friends. It empowers you to build your network through shared experiences. It also allows you an opportunity to reinforce relationships with existing network and acquaintances.

Saying yes to adventure breaks up the daily routine of wake, eat, work, eat, sleep. It also re-centers your mojo. If you work ten hours straight you will be less efficient than if you work for four hours, take an hour for lunch, and work for another four hours. {1}

Instead of working non-stop and excusing it with your perceived, yet inconsistent productivity, stop and take breaks often. Step away from your workspace. Take a walk, meditate, do some language lessons on Duolingo, or call a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in a long while. All of these mini-adventures can be done within the confines of a fifteen minute break.

You can do infinitely more in an hour long lunch. I regularly go to the gym over lunch with a couple close friends. A few weeks ago I told them I had a surprise for them for our lunch break. Lunchtime came and we all loaded into the car and headed a few miles west toward the mountains west of Boulder. We unloaded at the trail-head to Mt. Sanitas. I set my alarm for midway through lunch and we hiked the modest trail until the alarm went off and we turned around and headed back.

There was nothing extraordinary about the trail, the hike, or the workout, but it was different. It was an adventure. We all returned refreshed and light-hearted. It was nowhere near the intensity we reach when we are getting those gains with the dumbbells and plates, but it was perfect. If only our lunches were two hours long.

After adjusting my own working schedule to include these adventures my health is better. I get fuel in the form of food and coffee at my desk. Breaks are dedicated to the adventures. My energy levels are better. Overall I stay better equipped to make interpersonal connections thus allowing me to create consistent high value customer experiences.

Vacations are another opportunity to have an adventure. Vacation, aside from being an extended break-up of the monotonous daily routine gives you an extended chance to clear your mind. Vacations allow you to refocus. They can clear out cobwebs and excess baggage that needs cleaned out and unpacked in your life.

Hopefully these vacations are paid adventures, but even if they are not paid they are still crucial. You may say, “I cannot afford a vacation. I have too many bills. I have too much to do at work. I cannot get the time off.” To all this I say you cannot afford not to take vacations.

Vacations if used to adventure will either rekindle your love for what you do or they will allow you enough separation from your regular routine to realize you are not happy, satisfied, or fulfilled. They may push you in the direction of that positive change you’ve been desperately needing, but avoiding.

I am definitively advising occasionally neglecting responsibilities. Forget customer callbacks, forget meetings and spreadsheets. Forget doing the dishes and cooking, and definitely forget prioritization.

I tell my coworkers often, “There is absolutely nothing that cannot wait an hour,” before I clock out for lunch to go on my daily hour-long adventure. Even if a customer gets impatient they will wait. Even if they get angry I will do my best to calm them down. Even if I get fired for choosing my health and sanity, i.e. my break over my customers’ disappointment with waiting too long I will survive and find another job somewhere I will be happier and treated better. No one is going to die because I took a government mandated break for lunch.

The adventure is the remedy for so many ails. It is inspiring. It allows you to find new skills and to reacquaint yourself with older less frequently called upon ones.  Embarking on regular adventures allows you to have less trouble with the mindless tasks. You have a much better ability to take on trouble and you can put out those proverbial fires with a carefree ease. You feel better about yourself and enjoy your work more. Overall you feel genuinely happier. If you are stuck the adventure may allow you a breakthrough or an “Aha!” moment.

Adventures inspire creativity. They build new strengths and improve on older ones. They even allow you to test your tolerances and capabilities. Ate abalone lately? Taken an improv class? Gone base jumping? It’s not important how long the adventure is or how much it costs as long as you force yourself away from the banal and routine.

It’s okay to say, “I have all this stuff to do, but I really want to do this other thing. I’m going to do it.” Indeed you may be leaving money on the table. Possibly you may even be spending it. Yes you are temporarily neglecting your responsibilities. So what?

I believe you will come back more efficient. You may gain new perspectives, hacks, and techniques learned through adventure. These adventures may help teach you how to simplify, reduce, outsource, and possibly eliminate the unnecessary excess in your life. Only then can you focus on what is truly important.

I believe adventure may lead to careers that don’t feel like work. We’ve all heard the saying, “If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.” I heard it many times. The fly fishing, bicycle, or surfing tour guides never really seem like their work is stressful or painful. Those guys adventure for a living. Teachers get a new adventure every semester or school year if they look at each new face with a positive attitude. Even a salesperson with the right company and a product they passionately believe in can be a daily adventure.

Attitude is everything. If the glass looks more empty, so will the approach. If you focus on the positives then the benefits will outweigh the pain. If you take that hike up the fourteener and focus on the bugs, the heat, how out of shape you are, and how difficult it all is then it will feel like work. It may not feel worth it.
If instead you say, “Look at the views. This weather is awesome. This is wonderful exercise. What an experience!” you will be rewarded. At best you will experience euphoria, inner-peace, and increased endurance and overall health and fitness.

Plus the positive hiker is significantly more fun to be around. They’re probably not adventuring solo very often. Recently I planned a meet-up/networking event where we drove go-karts on an indoor track that allowed us to get up to 40 mph. Twenty-two others joined me on that adventure. I do not plan on stopping there. The next group adventure I will plan will be bigger and more exciting.

After all this if you still have trouble figuring out what adventures you should embark on just walk, run or bike in a random direction. Venture down paths you’ve never seen, let alone traveled down. Say no less often when you are invited out to social gatherings.

I’ve always had a wanderlust and an urge to discover. I feel it has served me well throughout my life. I’ve looked at the unknown and the unused path with a sense of excitement. I see it as an opportunity and send caution to the wind. If Google Maps gives me some strange directions and I end up on the wrong street I do not get frustrated, angry, or disappointed. I appreciate seeing the things and places I may not have a chance to otherwise.

Sometimes these adventures turn out to be let downs, but not usually. Most times you get exposed to wonderful new people with diverse backgrounds and quirky eccentricities. You will see new places that invigorate your creativity. You will gain a powerful, yet positive sense of smallness and partnership on the scale of society and the world.

Taste new foods and drinks. Try out that strange dessert or coffee. Discover a new restaurant. Watch people and animals. Watch the wind blowing trees around. Watch the water flowing through streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Watch the waves and wake in oceans and lakes.

Water is one of my personal favorite finds on my adventures. Another is street art. Stop and appreciate this type of art that is a creation of adventure. Artists and vandals send their art out into the world knowing it can never last forever. They’d be lucky if it even lasts a short while before being taken down or painted over. Sand art, ice art, snowmen and igloos are similar to this as well. If you have ever built a snowman or a sand castle you know how much of a fun adventure it is.

Adventure into parks and trail systems. Venture down city streets and admire the architecture. Think about how different all these things are from the everyday world you know. Adventure through forests, over mountains and boulders. Adventure to new towns and cities. I have been in the Boulder area for nearly eighteen years and I still discover new adventures often. Adventure whenever and wherever you can. Asi es la vida!

Try new things. Rediscover old passions and reinvigorate them. Each time is different even when you are doing the same thing. There are different headliners and acts at the local comedy club. The sun is in a different location in the sky or it’s behind the clouds when last time it was directly overhead. Now the lighting and your perspective will be different as well.

Places are yellow and red in the fall that are white in the winter and green and flowery in the spring and summer. Sometimes it’s hot and dry. Other times it’s cool and wet.
I am obviously charged up at the prospect of adventure. It’s beautiful and wide open as well as challenging. It’s therapeutic. It’s ambient. There are literally adventures around every corner if you just step away from your minutiae. Tell yourself it’s okay. Your responsibilities will be waiting for you when you get back. Don’t be wondering what it is like. Wander right up to it.

I recall a brush-fire burning the hillside of the same foothills I hiked with my boys about a decade ago. During the evening my wife, my girlfriend at the time, wanted to take pictures of the fire. Young and immature then, I didn’t know I would be embarking on an adventure.

We parked the car as close as we felt was safe. We ventured toward the roaming inferno. On the paths that led into the foothills there were many people checking out the blaze. I thought to myself that these people were crazy for going so close to the fire. But there I was being just as crazy as them. It was an incredible unique bonding experience with my wife. I can say I have never seen anything else like it in my life.

I’ve seen the road to Hana in Maui twice. I saw games at the old Yankee stadium as a kid. As a teenager I stood on the field at the old Giant’s Stadium performing four large bass drums simultaneously while my marching band competed. It was the first time I ever stood on turf.

I saw Blink 182 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I saw countless concerts at Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado. I worked a catering job backstage there. That may have been my only job where every day felt like an adventure even though some of those days were difficult and stressful. The days were long. I could take breaks and smoke pot. I could climb the iconic stairs for exercise. I could watch sound checks like they were my own private shows. I even cut prime rib for Sting and got a fist bump from Bruno Mars.

I was even invited to party with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I didn’t go on that adventure though. I had my girls at home missing me after another long day of work. It was a good thing I always brought home new and amazing food so I could share some of my adventures with them.

Just the recollection of these moments and adventures brings joy to my heart and mind. These memories push out the stress and negativity. That’s the power of having adventures.
I truly hope reading this article has been an adventure for you. It was definitely an adventure for me to transcribe it. It was again as I read it from my notebook and made the second draft, corrections, and edits. I crafted the order of my sentences and wording. I looked for new adjectives and innovation in my writing style. I worried for a second that the writing is poor, that I’m being too long-winded, and that the article will not be interesting. Then I just plowed ahead and finished the adventure.

The adventure is what I make it. I hope you take an adventure yourself today…and many after.


{1} https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208131529.htm

Acknowlegements to my beautiful and wonderful wife and daughter. This was an ambitious piece that took quite a bit of my time and attention to create. I will immediately go share an adventure with them after posting this.

Haleakala 2010 (1-1)

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  • Dad says:

    good stuff Johnny

  • Roman Ramsey says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! The other day I digressed from a usual neighborhood hike to explore streets I’ve never been on before. An adventure of the most benign sort, but I enjoyed it immensely…