Mind, body, and spirit. While we all get trapped in the hustle of everyday life, these are the things people generally recognize, time and time again, as providing lasting fulfillment.
Your job, education, and most of all family and friends are of course major drivers of happiness and well-being. But ongoing, life-long personal enrichment and challenges are critical to to the sense of growth that we all need to feel like we are living a full life.
Within your jam-packed schedule and day-to-day hustle, it is never easy to get away. Hiking to Machu Picchu, rafting through the Grand Canyon, or finally buying that sailboat are great dreams. More often than not, however, they get put on the backburner and always fall into the “maybe next year” category.
What is the solution? Make your entire life your biggest adventure.
While traveling to Peru for two weeks may not be feasible any time soon, you can make a concerted effort to get outdoors more often near your home, test yourself with new experiences, and take time to enjoy the small pleasures of your new life of adventure.
Here are three options to get you started:
1. Try New Things
When they are old and gray at the end of their days, it is said that very few people regret the things they did. What they regret, however, are the things they did not do. Especially in our modern age, with constant connectivity and never-ending notifications, it is easy to stagnate in your day-to-day routines.
In fact, you have to actively fight against this complacency if you hope to truly gain a sense of wonder and fulfillment. So, do not just sit there. Pick an upcoming weekend and try something new. Get out and go whitewater rafting, hike a trail with which you are unfamiliar, or just drive somewhere remote where few people live.
While you will may feel guilty taking time away from work or loved ones, chances are the experience will rejuvenate you mentally and leave you appreciating all the everyday things you too often take for granted.
2. Keep It Simple
Getting out of the house is great. That is the first step. But then comes another key lesson: embracing it. Too many people instinctively fear the outdoors and respond by wanting to tame it.
While you must bring a few essentials to deal with the elements and practice proper safety, do not feel the need to lug along luxuries on every journey. If you are just going on a single overnight hike and sleeping outside during warmer months, there is no need to carry flip flops, camp chairs, and extensive cooking setups.
Your hiking shoes will be fine, you can sit on a rock, and a simple gas canister and one light pot will do. The point is to enjoy nature, not lavish yourself with unnecessary indulgences. Your mental outlook — not to mention the back pain you will avoid with a lighter pack — will surely thank you.
3. Focus on Comfort, Function, and Style
When hiking, climbing, skiing, biking, or just enjoying a relaxing day in nature, comfort can often be the biggest factor in your enjoyment. Depending on the activity, performance and function may also determine just how much you get out of the experience.
And, of course, you have to look good in those Instagram group shots and selfies, so style will always be important. With the right choice, like a popular jacket from Columbia, you have the perfect option for everyday life and whichever outdoor adventure you go on next.
Cultivating Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
So much in life is about our reaction to things. Some people become defeated by the deadlines, family struggles, and concerns of the modern demands on our time. Others, facing very similar situations, find a way to get away.
No, they do not fly to Tibet and go on a quest to find themselves. But they have figured out how to transform a local hiking trail — or even the neighborhood park — into a place of calm, relaxation, or training ground. This is less about general wellness and fitness than it is about opening yourself to the outdoor world and allowing it to show you the natural world.
You do not have to change your entire life — merely shift your mind.
By trying new things, you expand your sense of self and gain confidence that you can achieve more. And by embracing simplicity, you will understand the river just an hour from your house that you rarely visit is a wonderful place to recharge your energy after a difficult week. And by understanding the joys of small comfort, you will become more appreciative of everything you have.