Described in the dictionary, an adventure is an “unusual and exciting or daring experience.” Now I’m all for the English language and the words of the Oxford, but it’s up to you to define adventure for yourself. It could be going on a big trip or skydiving or swimming with sharks, but it doesn’t have to be. It could also be ordering something new at your local coffee shop, learning a new language, or even starting a conversation with someone you’ve been meaning to. Regardless of what adventure means for you, it’s something we all need in order to learn and grow. Even more than childhood, it’s in adulthood when we need adventures more than ever.
1. Adventures keep you young.
Especially if it’s travel. There’s something magical about doing something new for the first time. Adventures make you feel like a kid again, when you were experiencing almost everything for the first time. In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the boring, monotonous details. But when you adventure and do something new for the first time, you get that whimsical sensation again. Whether it’s feeling like a stranger in a foreign country or having the first bite of a food you’ve never tasted before, everything is all new and exciting, and you feel young again.
2. They keep you thinking. And in new ways.
When you do something new for the first time, a bunch of endorphins are released, but it also starts a thought process. If I can do this, then maybe I can do that too. Then you start thinking about the possibilities for every part of your life. You rethink your plans. You start thinking in new ways. You become open-minded to new experiences and new knowledge. You start accepting people as they are. You start understanding more. The more you adventure, the more you have to think about and understand.
3. They keep you from thinking.
About the wrong things, of course. If you just got out of a bad relationship or you’re having a hard time with something, it can be hard to distance yourself from those thoughts. When you go and try new things and learn new skills, you forget all about what was bothering you in the first place. Adventures give you a positive distraction from the chaos of your life.
4. They build your confidence.
Doing something for the first time is tough. Hey, give yourself credit for even trying! Experiencing new things gives you confidence. Knowing that you were brave enough to try something new, and succeed at it, is the fuel for all of the confidence in the world. Maybe you traveled to a new state by yourself or tried a food you’ve always said you hated. You have the capability to even impress yourself, and who knows what you’ll try next.
5. You learn what you like.
By trying new things, you’re bound to figure out what you like and what you don’t. This goes for food, obviously, but also for more abstract things as well. Maybe you travel to France because it’s always been your dream to live in Europe, and you realize that you only wanted to travel there and you’re happy living where you live now. Or maybe you learn, one day while hiking, that you really love identifying trees. Regardless, if you don’t go and experience it for yourself, you’ll never know what you like, or what you can find out that you like in the process.
6. You learn what you want.
Amidst finding out what you like and prefer, you learn what you want. What you want for yourself, who you want to be, what you want in a spouse, where you want to live, what you want in a family, etc. Okay, maybe not all of these things, but you do learn a whole lot about what you want. It’s great if you affirm that what you’ve always dreamed about is what you truly want. And it’s okay if it isn’t. It’s okay if you find out that what you thought you wanted isn’t what you want anymore. We all change our minds. Be brave enough to change your own. Trust me, once you change your mind, you can change everything.
7. You learn about yourself.
This time alone helps you to reflect on who you are. What you like and what you want are part of it, but also who you are, as a person. Experiencing new things help you to learn what you’re made of, how strong you are, what makes you weak, what you see as true beauty, how you personally show love, how you affect people, etc. And learning about yourself is one of the best things you can do for you.
8. You learn to love yourself.
On top of building confidence, you learn a new type of acceptance. For other people and cultures, and also for yourself. Adventures help you to see who you really are and love yourself. When you’re learning a new skill, traveling, or trying anything new, you’re not worried about what anyone else is thinking, and you’re especially not thinking about what they think about you. Once you forget about what everyone else thinks, and start accepting yourself for you, you begin to love yourself. Because you’re capable of a whole lot, and you know that firsthand.
9. It allows you to see and think clearer.
This new type of acceptance brings new types of clarity to your life. You start seeing situations and people for what and who they truly are. You allow yourself to be distanced from them in order to understand them more. You start to see things with a critical eye, you don’t let your emotions get the best of you. You can see both sides of situations and opinions, more open-mindedly. This is a skill you will need in every facet of your life.
10. You become happy.
Learning about yourself, thinking in new ways, becoming open-minded, staying young at heart, and all of these things that new experiences bring you ultimately brings you happiness. Once you’re happy with yourself and understand yourself, you don’t need anyone else to make you happy. And that’s an accomplishment in itself. You have the satisfaction of knowing that you know and love yourself best. Of course, friends, family, and significant others are great things to have in our lives, but it’s comforting to know that we’re truly at peace and happy with our own selves. It’s important to realize that this happiness doesn’t come overnight. It comes over a long period of searching and learning. It’s something that you have to build and work for. And once you do, it’s beyond worth it.
So, in the (not so wise) words of Ellie Goulding, “what are you waiting for?” Seriously. What are you waiting for?? The world is out there, and waiting for you to explore it. In all of its realms. Learn, travel, try, taste, laugh, think, bond, grow, and most of all, live. There are adventures waiting for you out there.