Now that we’ve established that you have an adventure comfort zone, let’s chat about how to expand it. An adventure comfort zone will always stay pretty consistent in size — expanding it is all about give + take. You’ve probably already noticed this in your day to day life as an adventurer. As you’re sinking your focus into a newfound adventure you’ll be losing proficiency in another form of adventuring. Even as the seasons change you’ll notice that you need to retrain your body + brain. It’s a necessary evil that really isn’t that evil after all. This is actually a good thing. It is one way to keep yourself from getting bored with your adventures — mentally + physically.
So, what can you do to expand your comfort zone, especially when it comes to adventuring?
Say “yes!” to trying something new. Just say yes. Even if it scares you a little…give it a shot. Of course, you’ll need to take a few things into consideration. You’ll want to consider the trustworthiness of the person you’re adventuring with. Rock climbing with someone who doesn’t show any confidence in their knots = bad idea.
More importantly, in your quest to try new things don’t lose sight of your own personal goals + where you’re at financially. If trying out skydiving on a whim is going to murder your bank account don’t be afraid to turn it down, for now. If jumping on aboard a raft for your first river trips requires you to cancel a family weekend it might not be worth it. Keep your own priorities in check, but give yourself permission to try new things!
Trust your adventures skills to criss-cross between outdoor activities. The true beauty of outdoor activities is the number of similarities you’ll find between them. If you’ve never been backpacking before but you’re a pretty confident trail runner, trust that your endurance will cross over. The knots you learn to tie while rock climbing will come in handy while river rafting. Your ability to cook on the cheap in a hostel will quickly transfer over to low-cost meals at the campground.
Obviously, there is a lot to learn specific to each activity, but don’t ever count yourself out as “useless” or “wholly unprepared” for one adventure if you have any experience in another. Give it a go + watch how quickly you learn because of experience you’ve garnered in another realm of the great outdoors.
Listen to the stories of others…as a grain of salt. Somewhere out there someone else has done something similar to what you’re done. We’re past the days of Lewis + Clark expeditions. Even if you’re doing something no one else has done…someone has done something similar. Being the first person to traverse the Saraha Desert on foot was huge for Charlie Engle. He was the first person to make it into an “ultra race” of sorts. That said, he was still able to pull into a ton of sound advice from people who have done massive desert expeditions or extremely intense ultra adventures.
There will always be someone else out there to offer up advice. It is your responsibility to take all of that advice as a grain of salt. Sift through it + find the nuggets of information that will be truly valuable to your own adventures. The others…well, let them slide through your fingers or tuck them away in the back of your mind for future use. Never feel guilty for not heeding someone else’s advice, solicited or otherwise. However, there is a fine balance between letting the advice float on by + being aggressive about it. Let it float…you’ll never know when you may need that individual to dole out advice in the future!
Stop caring what everyone else *might* think. Yes, yes, we’ve all been hearing this since we were about 4 years old + realized that it was possible for others to have opinions about who we are…but it’s true + sometimes we need the reminder. Someone will always, always, always have a harsh judgment of your plans. Either it’s too risky or it’s not adventurous enough or [insert something potentially negative]. This is life + we can’t stop it…but we can avoid it.
When you start thinking up “oh, but she will think…” + “maybe he won’t approve of…” excuses for ourselves we need to take a hot second to think about what WE think of ourselves. That is what’s important + what we need to focus on. Of course, we do need to take into consideration the feelings of those close to us, but at the end of the day, you are the one embracing the consequences of our adventurous choices. Choose wisely + do what you must to ensure your adventure happily!
There are surely more ways to get outside your comfort zone — one step at a time — but hopefully, these four tips will get you thinking. If nothing else, let this be an opportunity to think about where your adventure comfort zone is at + how you feel about it. Maybe you’re happy where you are + need to focus on cultivating the comforts of you, well, comfort zone! Either way, adventure happy!
Tell us what you do to talk yourself to the edge of your adventure comfort zone + beyond!