As we grow older, our lives settle into familiar, predictable routines. The inexorable passage of time makes each similar day blend into one continuous stream of monotony. When older people look back, their most vivid memories are probably associated with youth and early adulthood.
We need to travel for novel experiences. It disrupts the steady, one-note existence of everyday living. But it may take time before travel returns to normal. With the ongoing pandemic, most people will be limited to local adventures for the time being.
Exploring less-known destinations has its charm, but when international travel is your measuring stick, the variety of local experiences will inevitably feel limited. What happens when that gets stale? How do you increase the excitement factor and make things thrilling?
A word of caution
We all could use a dose of fright every now and then; it’s something to keep in mind as you plan Halloween activities for your family. Thrills and scares can be good for your health.
But you shouldn’t take on needless risk. Experienced adventurers are able to take on extreme challenges because they have training and skills to mitigate the dangers. Even for them, the odds of getting into a life-threatening accident or situation aren’t zero. As a newbie, take the appropriate precautions when you try out some of these steps.
With that in mind, the easiest way to inject more thrill into familiar travels is to go solo. While some people are already accustomed to this, those who always seek adventure with their loved ones or fellow enthusiasts are bound to notice the difference.
In an urban setting, you’ll have to interact more with strangers. For introverts, that’s already a step outside their comfort zone. But if that seems a little tame for you, try heading away from the comforts and conveniences of civilization.
When you’re outdoors, being alone forces you to be more alert. You may not be traipsing about in bear territory, but a false step could easily turn into a twisted ankle. The thought of a painful trek back should keep you constantly on your toes. And camping alone at night can make you wary of dangers both real and imagined.
Few things can be more stressful than getting lost when you’re traveling and have an urgent need to be somewhere specific. But what if you intentionally seek out that experience?
Losing your bearings in an unfamiliar setting can certainly be scary. Yet when you’re quite familiar with your destination, it’s harder to deliberately get lost. And technology makes it easy to navigate your way out.
The solution is to let your feet wander and put away your devices. Don’t leave them at the hotel, you might need them for an emergency. But keep them out of sight and mind as you head off the beaten track.
Even if you’ve been to a nearby city or outdoor area a few times, you probably don’t know it like the back of your hand. Go around for an entire day without your phone’s GPS or Maps app, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get lost. In the process, you’re bound to have a few novel experiences.
Do something challenging
Of course, travel doesn’t have to be about visiting attractions. Some destinations are all about giving you the opportunity to do things you could never do elsewhere.
If you’re lucky, local adventures could put you within range of a beach where you can try getting into various water sports. There’s always a first time for diving, surfing, kayaking, fishing, and the like. Seasonal variations open up the chance to go hunting or ice skating.
Challenging activities don’t have to be physical in nature. You can sign up for a local cooking class or practice plein air painting. It takes confidence to put any skill to the test in front of other people.
A bucket list of thrills
You weren’t really going to check off everything on your bucket list this 2020, or over the next year or two, were you? Now is a perfect time to add some thrilling and scary destinations to that list. It will help build up the anticipation even as you make the most of what a limited local range has to offer.
Travel may be down indefinitely, but it won’t be out forever. One day, we’ll be able to resume international activity. And when that time comes, your adventuresome spirit will be even better-prepared to chase more exciting and challenging activities.
Bonnie is always on the road with some amazing adventures ahead. Her favorite continent is South America and she’s passionate about culture-focused traveling and ethical and sustainable tourism. During her time in university as a research assistant for a sociology professor, she realized she can’t fully understand cultures from a safe distance. She quit her job to become a full-time “voluntourist,” which brings her to places where she can immerse in local communities and support their causes. On top of writing, one of Bonnie’s priorities is offering women advice on how to stay safe while solo backpacking.