4 Elements for Great Adventures

I love a great adventure. And I’m not just talking about travel. Why is it we often make adventure synonymous with travel? Where does that leave folks who don’t care for travel? A no adventure life? I don’t think so. Instead we can use the elements of travel that are adventurous to apply to any area of our lives. Then we can have a life full of adventure and not just when we travel.

how to find adventure in everyday life

Often when I mention having 6 kids, I will make the distinction that 2 are biological and we have adopted 4. The reason is simple. Adopting 4 kids from foster care is an adventure. I’ve moved overseas, I spent a grueling month stuck in South East Asia, I’ve travel through 27 countries, I’ve had a tent collapse in a snow storm, and been camping during a flash flood. Nothing has been more of an adventure than those adoptions. There are 100’s of kinds of adventures if you look through the right lenses. The trick is finding the “choose your own adventure” that resonates with you.

Here are the 4 basic elements in any great adventure

1. Not everyone does it

Adventures happen on paths not often frequented. The directions aren’t that clear, and the path not so smooth. But we are compelled to go anyways. Deep in us, this path resonates. None of our friends are coming with us. But we are going. We aren’t 100% sure how it will look. It’s not the path of least resistance. But the path of least resistance isn’t really where we want to go. We have caught a glimpse of something different, so we start chasing it down.

2. Challenging and Difficult

Part of the adventure comes from the challenge. This will require a lot from us to pull it off. It’s won’t be easy. At times it will push us to our limits. We will come to the end of our rope. And in that challenge we learn what we are made of. What we are capable of.

3. Bravery

True adventures carry risk. Therefore they require bravery. It might not go as planned. It won’t be a smooth, clean trajectory. In every great adventure, there are moments that things can go wrong.

In the same manner that we can remove the adventure out of travel and make it just a “vacation,” we can infuse adventure into the rest of our life.

4. Reward

There is reward for true adventure. Walking that seldom trod path, facing the challenges, acting with bravery, and then coming out the other side. We are changed by it. We become a better version of ourselves. We have paid for life lessons only available to those who walk that path. The reward is that we are richer for it. Our life is richer.

A 7 night cruise to Alaska might be a wonderful  vacation, but it’s not an adventure.

Take your life in a direction few others go.

Build or create something unique.

Learn something.

Maybe your adventure is learning German and walking into a German pub and refusing to speak anything other than the German you learned. That hits all 4 points.

Maybe you will radically change the direction of your life like The Minimalist did. Bucking the expectations and norms to carve out something entirely different.

Maybe you will build something truly special.

I love all adventures. Big and small.

Hiking with 5 little kids is an adventure. 1. Not everyone does it. (You should see the shock on people’s faces!) 2. It can be challenging and difficult. 3. It takes bravery. (Because something WILL go wrong.) 4. And there is reward. We are better for it. The kids are better for it. We faced the challenges and are rewarded in the end. Even strangers cheer us on!

Learning how to remodel our properties has been an adventure. With each new project we hit all 4. I still get butterflies and anxiety when we try something new! We could just pay someone else to do this, but there is no adventure in that!

Even writing has been an adventure for me. Because I want to write about 1. Things that not everyone else is talking about. 2. Things that can be challenging and difficult to find the right words for. 3. I want to say things that carry risk and require bravery. And, 4. If I can muster those things, I know there is reward. I will write things that are more true and honest and meaningful to me. And hopefully more helpful for you. If I can share things that honestly resonate with me, they might resonate with you. Sometimes it’s so challenging, I have to come back to it a dozen times before I find the right words. Sometimes it takes so much bravery, I reread Brene Brown before I can hit publish. Sometimes I feel a little nauseous because I’ve stripped away the layers of pretense that keep me feeling safe and secure. It’s adventure.

I want a life full of great adventures. Big adventures. Small adventures. My goal isn’t to finish my time here by taking the easiest and smoothest path possible. Instead, I want to carve out the path that resonates for me. The one that feels the most true. The most meaningful.

For Conversation:

What is your adventure?

Any ways you seek out the less smooth path?

Paying off debt, saving and learning frugal habits is it’s own adventure. What ways has that added some adventure to your life?

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27 thoughts on “4 Elements for Great Adventures

  1. “In the same manner that we can remove the adventure out of travel and make it just a “vacation,” we can infuse adventure into the rest of our life.” I love this line!

    For me, one of my biggest “adventures” was moving to Alaska on my own two weeks after I turned 18. I’d never lived more than 300 miles away from where I was born, I had a basic plan in place but not much after that, and I’m a terribly shy person in real life! 🙂

    Moving to Alaska was an easy decision for me, I wanted to do it. Now, I’ve learned that you don’t always have to WANT things for them to be an adventure. I didn’t want to move out of Alaska, but I did it anyways. It sucked for the first year or so until I found writing/blogging/personal finance, three previously undiscovered topics that I wouldn’t have explored had I not been challenged to try something different by going down a path I didn’t want to go down at first.

    • That’s very true that sometimes we get to pick the adventure and sometimes the path we need to take is just full of adventure weather we want it or not! =) I know I am thankful that you got into blogging and pf! =)

  2. Thanks for this post. So many people don’t understand (and therefore criticize) our life choices, but I think they’re missing the point. Sometimes the challenge is the whole point. Of course we could sit on the couch and watch TV all day, or we could Google Image search instead of hiking to amazing places, but it wouldn’t give us the same rewards and satisfaction. Sometimes tackling a project that is unique and difficult IS the whole point.

  3. MM, GREAT Post! We should all seek adventure, wherever we can find it! I’ve been an “adventure seeker” my entire life (worked in National Parks during summers in college, hiking the backcountry – alone, renting a car and just “going” in foreign countries, etc.)

    At this point, our “adventure” is preparing for early retirement, including a Second Downsize Move in 1 Year!! Not too many folks do that, me thinks. Maybe not as adventurous as living with 6 kids, or getting stuck in SE Asia for a month (THAT sounds like a story!), but it works for us!

    Keep doing what you do. Your blog Rocks! Thanks for your transparency, and courage.

    • Thanks! And early retirement is an adventure!!! Plus another move for you guys. It’s easy to get stuck in the “drive to work-work-drive home-eat dinner-watch TV-go to bed” routine for weeks/months/years at a time. Never questioning if that is really the life you want to live. It takes courage to step out and mix things up. Taking a year off last year was a huge, crazy adventure for us on all 4 points! But it changed the whole trajectory of our life. =) I’m so excited to see where this retirement takes you guys (hopefully at least a small stop in Mt!!!)

  4. A few adventures are good, but we like life to be relatively drama free. 🙂
    I enjoy adventures, but Mrs. RB40 isn’t very adventurous. I feel like I have to drag her into new adventures and I backed off quite a bit since we got married 20 years ago.
    My biggest adventures is probably quitting my good paying job to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger. It was very uncertain, but I just couldn’t handle the rat race anymore.

    • I think finding the mix that works for you is so important. Although quitting your job is HUGE! Mr. Mt walking away from the 9-5 was one of the biggest and scariest things we’ve done, and also the best. =)

  5. Right now if I was being honest I am living probably too safe of a life. I am definitely not seeking out adventure at every turn and I sorta miss it. This is a good kick in the pants to re-evaluate things and see where I can stretch out for a bit of an adventure 🙂

    • I like small adventures just as much as the big ones. I would get tired if life was a constant stream of big adventures. Good luck finding a new adventure! Let me know how it goes. =)

  6. great post! Its hard to be on this FIRE journey without meeting your 4 criteria with some aspect of your life. A couple areas we meet them are:
    1. We choose to be a 1 car family (in Houston, the commuter capital of the world)
    2. We plan to learn Spanish as a family for a future slow travel trip through Spain.

    • Those are both awesome! I love Spain. =) If we ever moved back to Europe, I think we would pick Barcelona or Croatia. And you’re totally write that the FIRE journey naturally bumps up against all 4! =)

  7. I’ve mentioned this before, but courage over perfection always. I took lots of calculated risks growing up, but they weren’t always positive risks. Adding in a bit of bravery or fear or whatever you want to call it really expands our horizons. I’m glad I’ve finally learned that lesson. Though I don’t always apply it, I try to be more cognizant of it!

    • I think it does take some mindfulness. We are wired to do things that are easy and safe. But the best things in my life have happen when I push outside of those boundaries. When ever I think, “this might not go well…” I know I need to press in a bit instead of just dismiss it. Moving overseas. Adopting. Buying a scary fixer upper house. Taking a 6 week trip with the 5 kids! And walking away from the 9-5. =) Amazing, all of them. And real risk of being a hot mess.

  8. I’d like to start with smaller adventures. Some overnight backpacking as a family seems like a logical place to start. We’ve done tent camping, and did some backpacking trips before kids, but I think we’re ready to start exploring that again as a family with boys 6 & 8 years old.

    Bigger adventures will include some slow travel. I’m planning to work less starting this fall, and I’m off in a few minutes to meet our sons’ principal to discuss just how much truancy our boys can get away with next school year while remaining enrolled in good standing.


    p.s. your adventures are much braver than my adventures (which haven’t even happened yet)

    • Backpacking and camping would be amazing! And that is a great age. They are old enough to be able to carry a bit and walk for a ways. We have just gotten the spot with our 4 year old where she will walk 2+ miles without needing to be carried. =) And I totally second starting with smaller adventures. I like the “worst case” to be rather small, especially when I have my kids in tow. =) Our 6 week pop up camper trip was about as much adventure as we could handle. And that was with the understanding that if it was a hot mess, we were turning around and coming home!

  9. I think starting my own business has been quite an adventure.
    I started back in university and now I’m working full time on it. It’s definitely the less traveled path and has even changed my personality. I used to be really social and outgoing. But because of all the hard work and lonely hours I’ve put into it, I’ve kind of become a more introverted person now.

  10. Our first big adventure as a family was road tripping from Wisconsin to Arizona and back with a three year old and twin two year olds. I’d say it definitely meet all 4 of the criteria you listed!

    The reward was so great in fact that we committed to hitting all 50 states with our kids before they are fine with high school. At the end of this summer they will be 7, 5, and 5 and we will have already covered 46 states!

    • I love that goal! It’s amazing how much ground you have already covered!!! My kids love to travel. I really think they would be thrilled if we traveled year round. We all had such a good time on the trip last year, that we added it as a future option. =)

  11. Love this, MM! As a family, we’ve shared many adventures over the years, but looking back, there was a period of a few years where it seems as though I was trying to remove adventure from our day to day lives. I don’t think it was a conscious decision, perhaps I felt as though our kids were better off with having absolute security and structure. Anyways, I’ve learned from my silly ways, and we now embracing adventure once again! : )

    • It’s funny how different parenting styles are even based on location. I friend from DC was out here in Montana when we had our adoption party. There were at least 30 kids running amuck in our backyard. In a bouncy house, on the trampoline, swing set, fire pit, ect. She was shocked how relaxed and laid back all the parents were. Watching the kids play, but not hoovering. Even when we go out hiking the kids run around, within sight lines, but not right next to us. I think even that little bit of freedom, adventure, and independence is good for them. They get to take little tiny risks (like running too fast down a hill) and test their limits (or fall down, that happens a lot too!)

  12. Life is one adventure, when you want.

    My adventures include
    1- working for a startup rather than staying with golden handcuffs in the megacorp. I do think this hits all 4
    2- one that we actually might forget: we are on our way to FIRE. I think that also hits all 4.

    On my wishlist, to push myself out of the comfort zone: go camping with my 2 daughters this summer 🙂

    • I think the whole FIRE journey is a big adventure. Especially when you put in that notice and start having to craft your new life. And I love the camping plans! Camping in Europe was my favorite. =) It’s a great way to get out there and see so much more.

  13. I love adventures and before we had a child, we thought we would love the craziness of having 4 plus children. Now with one, we are learning that maybe we were not cut out for the large family life. It can be quite the ride and I am sure it is super rewarding.

    Keep Choosing your own adventure. For a happy future, turn to page 46.

    • I think each number of kids brings it’s own kind of crazy. =) I think we can generally handle the exact number we have at home. But it’s never boring around here. Or quite. =)