As much as we may desire continuous large scale adventure, the time and resources aren't always available. So, we have to get creative.
I would love to do an “Eat, Pray, Love” year of traveling the world and self-discovery. There is no doubt that extensive travel is in my future. But, that is not a realistic goal for me right now.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said on her facebook page that she has readers who try to follow her exact journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia hoping to recreate her experience in their lives. This sounded ridiculous until I realized how many times I've followed a plan expecting specific results. Her response to those fans was, "Don't do what I did. Ask what I asked."
I agree with her. Simply asking good questions is an excellent place for us to start.
Our generation is full of dreamers with energy and ideas. We want meaningful work, adventure, and to be of service. But, we have a lot of limitations to overcome.
Many of us are underemployed with a lot of student loans and still figuring out what we want to do with our lives. Some of us are taking care of small kids, aging relatives, or both. We all have unique obstacles we're learning how to work through.
Our lives are messy and imperfect. But, they'll always be that way. Your dreams don't have to die because everything isn't lining up exactly as planned.
Extended world travel may not be an option this year, but you can take day and weekend trips. You can still go places you have never been before and have unique, cultural experiences.
Big goals take time and are worth the effort. But, we’ve got to find our own ways to love our real lives everyday. One option is to add a little more structure to a goal and take on a quest.
Chris Guillebeau, who traveled to every country in the world by his 35th birthday, wrote a book called The Happiness of Pursuit. In this book, he shared a lot of impressive case studies of the different types of quests people have taken.
His definition of a quest had the following characteristics:
- A clear goal
- Measurable progress
- A sense of calling or mission
- Sacrifice... or at least effort.
Some of my favorite examples in the book were the people who found ways to quest in everyday life. Sasha Martin celebrated global culture in her family by cooking recipes from every country in the world. Allie Terrell deepened her knowledge of her faith by visited and taking beautiful photography of every Basilica in the USA. There are fun, meaningful ways we can engage with the world around us within our current circumstances.
As we work toward our big aspirations, how do we find adventure now? A few practical suggestions:
Define what adventure means to you.
All of us define it differently. Why do you want to jump out of an airplane? The adrenaline? To face your fears? To feel alive? When you get clear on what adventure is really about in your life, you can make time for many other related experiences on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Do something that makes you uncomfortable everyday.
Adventure is about risk-taking and exploring. We have to condition ourselves to say yes, be ok with failing, or not having control. Living a courageous life in small ways helps us freak out less about the big stuff.
How we show up in our lives everyday matters. Ordinary life is where most of our living happens.