How to find your dream adventure

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Welcome to this new series of blogs that I am trying out for 2018. They are all about sharing our expedition and adventure planning experience to help you achieve your own goals and dreams. I am quite a practical person, so these guide will be pretty practical too. The aim isn't just to talk advice but to give you tools that you can actually use to make success happen. Think questions to ask yourself, tables to fill in, mind map planning and much more. Let me know if you like it, what you like best and what you want to hear more about. Are there any areas holding you back from achieving your goals? What aspects do you find challenging? The aim is to provide you with tools you need to overcome these. It's time to start chasing your dream....

 

Finding your dream

Since it is a new year and this is a new blog section, goal setting seems like the perfect place to start. This won't be about rigid deadlines and in-depth training plans, but it will start by helping you to formulate your dreams into plans that you can take action towards. You may well feel that adventure is calling but not be sure where to start or what type of challenge is right for you. This is the perfect exercise to get you started. Ask yourself the following questions, don't think too hard about the answers. There is no pressure right now for them to be realistic, just write what comes into your mind.

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Look back at your answers, maybe you already have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, or maybe it is time to use your answers to focus your thoughts and research what adventures lie out there, just waiting for you to discover them. Here is a little bit of inspiration to whet your appetite.

 

Adventure Inspiration

Starter Adventures

  • Run a 10k
  • Sleep out under the stars
  • Climb Snowdon
  • Go on an overnight sea kayaking trip
  • Cycle 100 miles
  • Take a walk in the dark
  • Take on an obstacle race
  • Learn bush craft skills
  • Go on a photo safari
  • Cycle to work for a week

Bucket list Adventures

  • Hike to Everest base camp
  • Dive in the Galapagos
  • Ski to the North pole
  • Climb Mont Blanc
  • Hike the Inca Trail
  • Sail around the world
  • Kayak in Greenland
  • Drive the Mongol rally
  • Ski untouched powder in Greenland
 
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Planning for success

We all want our challenges to be successful. To come away from them feeling that we have pushed ourselves and achieved something special, that we have succeeded. When we look at successful people it becomes clear that success doesn’t happen by accident. It also doesn’t happen just through sheer stubbornness, although quite a lot of that is often required. It comes from planning, preparation, skill acquisition and goal setting. This blog series will examine all of these elements, providing practical advice that you can implement to succeed in your goal. The first one that we will look at is goal setting.

Success is usually associated with achieving a goal. So achieving meaningful success requires some smart and realistic goal setting. I’m not talking about setting the bar low here. Making your target so easy that you are bound to exceed it no matter what is no challenge and therefore brings no satisfaction. I’m talking about thinking carefully about your goals and making sure that they propel you to success. 

What does success mean to you? Getting to a summit? Being the first person ever to do something? Finishing on the podium? Finishing in a personal best time? Finishing at all? Enjoying the experience of taking part? Pushing yourself beyond what you thought possible? Number of likes on Facebook? Experiencing a new culture? Feeling wonder at the beauty of the environment around you? Learning about yourself? We are all individual and so everyone’s definition of success is unique. It is your own personal aims that will help you define your goals. It is important to think about what success means to you. How you define success can have a dramatic influence on how likely you are to succeed. 

 

  • My 2018 challenge success looks like: _________________________________________

 

Style of adventure

By now you will be starting to formulate a picture of the adventure that you would like to take. Maybe it is to row the Atlantic, maybe it is to climb Mont Blanc, maybe it is to hike across Sweden. Your next decision is how you want to go about it. This will largely depend on your existing skills and experience, the level of risk that you are comfortable with and how much of the planning you want to undertake. Some of the options are:

Do it autonomously - You want to do all of the planning and preparation yourself. This stage is an important part of the process for you. Whilst on your adventure you will be relying solely on your own skills to keep you safe and so this style of adventure should only be undertaken by those who have appropriate skills and prior experience.

Go solo - Take independence one step further and complete your challenge solo. This is the ultimate in self-reliance and for some the ultimate achievement. Solid skills and experience are an absolute necessity.

Take part in a race - Many of the challenges that have already been mentioned can be completed as part of a race. In this case some of the organisation and logistics will have been undertaken for you by the event organisers. There may be some degree of safety support at the event although the amount can vary. There will at least be the safety in numbers of other people being out on the course. The fact that it is a race provides an extra level of challenge and motivation to push yourself harder and race against yourself as well as others.

Hire a guide - If you feel that your skills are not at the right level to take on your challenge independently but don’t want to join a group then you could hire a guide. Hiring a guide privately means that you can still have some flexibility to taylor your itinerary. Always check your guide’s qualifications.

Join an existing group - Opportunities to join existing groups on trips are often advertised through clubs and on websites such as Challenge Chum and Explorers Connect, see appendix for more. This can be a great way to meet like minded people but be careful to check the skills, qualifications and experience of those leading or planning the expedition.

Join a ready made adventure - It is amazing now how many companies there are that offer group adventures. Just looking through some of their brochures, the choice is vast and inspirational. Relatively fit individuals with no specialist experience can climb Mont Blanc or Kilimanjaro, raft white water rapids in the Grand Canyon or sail around the world. These adventures are run by qualified staff who will not only take care of the logistics and safety elements for you but are passionate about their work and happy to share their knowledge and skills with you. Equipment and food is commonly included in the price and so this style of adventure can represent an affordable all inclusive option and an excellent introduction to a new sport. Of course you should always check the company’s credentials and the qualifications of it’s staff before booking and no one will be able to guarantee your safety 100% while adventuring.

 

  • Which of these options appeals most to you? _________________________________________________________________________This will help guide you as you research further into making your adventure happen

 

Congratulations, you have taken the first step to achieving your dream adventure, you should at least be a bit closer to pinning down what your dream adventure looks like. Now it's time to help your dream take shape. Get online and start researching everything that you can about the race, location, mode of travel, long distance route etc that is calling to you. As you find out more about the possibilities it is quite likely that your goals might change a bit, that's fine, it is another part of exploring after all and is part of the fun. As you go keep note of the things that you find the most inspirational.

In the next post we will use the results of your adventure researching and look at the process required to turn your dream into reality. I hope that this post has inspired you to take on an awesome adventure in 2018. Don't worry if it feels daunting now, the rest of the series will guide you through our tried and tested, step by step process of making it a reality. If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you, pop them in the comments section below. If you have found this helpful, please click on the share button below and spread the joy of adventuring :)

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If you want to find out more about achieving you goals, check out Katherine's book How to have an Adventure.