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How to find inspiration for your next adventure

Often painted as something extreme, challenging or insurmountable, the idea of adventure can be very off putting! The truth is, it can be as simple as taking yourself somewhere new or local – a park, a river, a woodland, a beach, then sitting down with a well-earned scoop of fish and chips and watching the sunset on the horizon.

The potential for adventure is EVERYWHERE but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.

So if you’re feeling a little lost, indecisive and in need of some inspiration, here are some really simple tips to get you started; from mindfulness activities to life changing reads and adventure communities.

1. START WITH YOU

Inspiration comes from within

Firstly, it helps to change your mindset about adventure. It's not just a one-off thing to achieve before having kids and settling down. It’s for life!

So don’t worry – you have plenty of time to find inspiration, and defining your own dreams and ambitions is usually the best place to start. By engaging in some mindfulness activities and reading, inspiration will come. You just need to allow space in your mind for that to happen.

The Reverse Bucket List

I found the whole idea of bucket lists so disheartening. Asking myself to produce a list when I was already lacking inspiration was very frustrating.

In need of some encouragement I reached for a pen and started compiling a list of all the things I had achieved in my life to date. This kind of list is commonly referred to as The Reverse Bucket List.

Recognising your accomplishments gives you a sense of progress and boosts your self-esteem. You swam across that big lake when you were just 13 years old. That was a great day! Hang on, maybe you could swim other lakes or revisit that same one, and see if you can swim it again.

And just like that, an adventure is born. A so-called bucket list starts to materialise.

Looking back at the progress we’ve made is more encouraging than feeling like we’re behind, and taking time to be grateful for the experiences we’ve had does wonders for our sense of well-being.

Morning Pages and Gratitude

The best ideas and inspiration come from a calm and happy mind!

In the morning I like to sit down with a cup of peppermint tea and write anything that comes to mind for 15-20 minutes. My thoughts, fears, anxieties; a stream of consciousness. I end each session with a sip of tea, and list 10 things I am grateful for.

This simple routine helps me to:

• Identify any overwhelming issues

• look at those issues objectively, work through and resolve them

• tune into and focus on what’s important

• identify unhealthy habits

• tap into creative ideas and inspiration!

The psychological benefits of externalising thoughts by writing them down are well-established. In the morning our brain's inhibitory processes are still weak, allowing us to access the more creative part of our brains before the rational part kicks in.

Writing a list of things you are grateful for at the end of your morning pages means you end on a high. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology explored how grateful recounting enhanced a person’s well-being. The findings showed that participants who recalled 3 good things from the past 48 hours and briefly wrote about them every day for a week, had an easier time accessing positive memories and had a more positive outlook on life.

(Traditionally, morning pages should be 3 pages of A4 but my working day starts at 08:00 so I only usually have time for 2 sides. The idea of morning pages was developed by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way. See below for inspirational reads).

Fine tune your desires – create a vision board

Now you’ve tapped into some of the things that motivate you, it’s time to get creative and make a vision board. This is a great activity, allowing you to exercise your imagination and define and shape your goals and motivations.

To start, I define the areas in my life I want to focus on; relationships, home life, travel and adventure, personal growth (including hobbies, interests, education) and health.

I then go through magazines and the internet and look for pictures and words that evoke a sense of nostalgia or meaning and fit well with my dreams. I also add a few personal photos of friends and family, postcards - reminders of events, places, and people.

A vision board should also focus on how you want to feel, not just on things you want. Can you find an image, word or item that reminds you of the sounds, smells, and feelings associated with a particular vision? A souvenir, postcard or seasonal image may remind you of a feeling you had when you saw something for the first time. You may want to experience more of that same feeling in your life.

Every so often I pull out my vision board, put a record on and sit on a bean bag with a glass of wine. If I'm feeling stuck, checking in on my dreams visually every so often really gets inspiration flowing.

2. INSPIRATIONAL & LIFE CHANGING READS

The Artist’s Way

Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way is a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. My sister, Zosia Wand (writer and author extraordinaire), recommended this book to me when I was feeling a little lost. The weekly tasks helped me rediscover myself and tap into areas of my life that needed creative attention.

Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

Another recommendation from my sister (she’s good!) is the book, Big Magic. Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) encourages us to embrace our curiosity and let go of the needless suffering we often put ourselves through when undertaking a creative task. This short book equips you with all the information you need to start living your most creative and adventurous life. Reading it is perfectly described as having a friend take your hand and say, “You can do this; you should do this.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

Marie Kondo

I love surrounding myself with things that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Trinkets, memorabilia, photos, books, music. I'm a collector and a hoarder. But it got to a point when I got sick of constantly tidying and packing a billion boxes every time I had to move from one rented flat or house share to another. Something had to give.

Reading this book changed my life!

Marie Kondo takes you through a simple process of categorising everything you own, from clothes, kitchenware to photographs, and handling each object at a time and considering whether or not that object brings you joy and whether you really do need it (no, Marie Kondo, I do not need 20 sets of knives and forks or 15 miniature shampoo bottles).

Anything that doesn't bring you joy, you get rid of. I couldn't believe how much stuff I was holding onto that I didn't need or meant absolutely nothing to me. It took time but by carefully selecting things that I truly loved, meant I was surrounded only by things that mattered. By decluttering my home, I decluttered and made space in my mind.

This is not about minimalism, this is about being selective and mindful. I magically managed to shift nearly 20 bin liners worth of items to charity shops.

Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes

Alastair Humphreys

A perfect start to getting inspiration in the world of adventures! “As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, busy, and stuck in front of a screen, microadventures offer a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia.”

3. JOIN ADVENTURE COMMUNITIES

The Yes Tribe

The Yes Tribe is a global community inspiring people to find adventure in the everyday.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with Chronic Migraine. While I was looking for ways to motivate myself and manage my illness, I joined The Yes Tribe on Facebook and found people like me; people who had come from a difficult place, who wanted to redesign their lives for the better and ‘Say Yes More’.

The Tribe are dotted all over the world with a HQ in London and the West Sussex countryside. Join the Yes Tribe group on Facebook, where you can search for events and details of regional and global tribes near you.

The Ordinary Adventurer & Love Her Wild

For her work supporting women in adventure, Bex Band has been recognised as one of the UK’s ‘top 30 inspirational entrepreneurs’ and has been awarded Legacy Maker on the San Miguel alternative rich list. She was also awarded the Next Generation Award and shortlisted for a national Diversity Award. Noticing a lack of women in the outdoors, she launched Love Her Wild – a women’s adventure community, now with over 6,500 members. Expeditions you can sign up to via Love Her Wild are largely conservation based and there are many other events organised throughout the year.

If ever I need advice or inspiration about travel planning, conservation and sustainability, or anything adventure related, Bex is my go-to person.

Explorers Connect

“A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping people to live more adventurously, via big challenges, micro-expeditions, courses, talks and much more..”

Connect with them on Facebook and check out their website for inspiration.

4. FOLLOW ADVENTURERS

These are my top 4 adventurers. Ordinary folk who achieved the extraordinary, whose motivation it is to bring people together in the outdoors, and encourage adventure in the everyday.

Dave Cornthwaite

Founder of The Yes Tribe

I guarantee that after watching this video, you'll be off that sofa and onto planning your next adventure.

Dave’s mission is to undertake 25 journeys using different forms of non-motorised transport. Each journey is to be a minimum of 1000 miles long, meaning when completed Dave will have travelled further than the circumference of the earth around the Equator. Dave aims to raise over £1 Million for good causes throughout Expedition 1000.

Dave also runs workshops and short courses in all things travel, expedition and adventure related. He also delivers inspirational talks, hosts the popular Yes Stories events and Yes Tribe festival and organises expeditions down the Mississippi River. Legend.

Bex Band

Founder of Love Her Wild

The Ordinary Adventurer, as mentioned above.

Also check out Bex Band's - 100+ Adventure Ideas.

Alastair Humphreys

English adventurer, author and motivational speaker

Over a four-year period he bicycled 46,000 miles around the world. He was a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012. He is responsible for the rise of the idea of the microadventure – short, local, accessible adventures.

Tim Moss

Adventure, mountaineering and cycling enthusiast, Tim Moss, is someone who I came across quite recently whilst searching for mini adventure inspiration. I like big adventures but I'm not someone who wants to do them full time - they can be quite tiring. Even Indiana Jones went back to his teaching job. So I find it reassuring to find adventurers who incorporate adventure into the everyday and encourage accessible adventuring.

One of Tim's challenges that stands out for me is his £100 Adventure. Tim offers free expedition resources via his website - The Next Challenge, and an annual expedition grant.

Check out his adventure portfolio here and get inspired!

5. TAKE A LOOK AT MY ADVENTURES

It was only after returning from BIG adventures that I started to wonder how I could make adventuring a more permanent fixture in my life. I couldn't afford, and didn't necessarily want to do the big stuff regularly but I needed to enrich my day-to-day life by establishing routines that didn't revolve around Netflix.

Take a look at my Advice Page for small and big adventure inspiration. I keep this page continuously updated with useful guides, resources and insider tips, designed to help you get outdoors and make life more memorable.

So whether you’re looking at taking on a big challenge or need inspiration to shake life up a little, explore and GO have yourself an adventure!