Let your footsteps find new grounds, following a changed heart and mind. In my opinion, the best adventures always come with a small agenda and a will to explore the unknown. If you allow yourself to be spontaneous, trusting, and open to new opportunities, you can travel out of your comfort zone and live life to the fullest.
In my recent years, I have been fortunate enough to embark on adventures and travels of all kinds. When I was a sophomore in high school, I attended a christian conference in San Diego California, the conference in which I gave my life to God and grew in my relationship with him. My junior year, I went on my first mission trip to Haiti where I met some of my best friends abroad and gained a new perspective on society in general. My freshman year of college, my family and I went on a month and a half long road trip across the east coast, hitting cities like New York City, Boston, and D.C. to name a few. Throughout each of these experiences, I have not only returned with amazing stories, but a change in attitude and appreciation. Going on adventures and traveling is suppose to be fun, yes, full of instagram worthy photos and happy hour club nights along the beach. However, there is more to experience than what we can envision or predict.
Traveling serves three essential purposes that I believe we all tend to forget. The first purpose: to spend time with the people you are traveling with. It’s an opportunity to engage in a conversation our busy home lives tend to distract from, pushing us to get comfortable living in small spaces together. The second purpose: to witness and live within new tensions. This means to learn about a new culture or lifestyle different from your own and diving head first into it. It is not only out of respect for the people of the destination you are reaching, but it pushes you to gain new perspectives. This brings me to the third purpose: which is self transformation. When embarking on a new adventure, there is always an area in which you can grow. Learning how to relax in the midst of chaos, suddenly appreciating the education system of America, recognizing you need to be a more positive person in all aspects of life. There is more to traveling than what meets the surface.
So how can you make the most of your next adventure? Here are some of my tips.
1. Have a flexible schedule.
Figure out which aspects of the adventure you are willing to be flexible about. For example, maybe not booking a hotel until you arrive at your destination or finding local/small snorkeling businesses rather than the big shots the resorts recommend. This welcomes the element of surprise and gives spontaneity an opportunity.
2. Say yes to unusual or unrealistic opportunities.
There is at least a 1% chance of a great adventure when you say yes, but a 0% chance when you say no.
3. Travel with like minded people.
This is so important because if you and the person you are traveling with are not on the same page or carrying the same attitude, this can cause controversy, alter your experience, and you may leave defeated. Use your best judgement to figure out who in your life may be down for anything and carry the same agenda as you.
4. Recognize an area in which you could grow.
5. Have conversations with people you don’t know/don’t know well.
Every person has a story that deserves to be heard. Sometimes, you find your best friends overseas! Anyone can impact your life, so don’t hesitate to talk to strangers.
6. Put the technology away.
Instagram can wait. You only need one photo to remember a good moment. You cannot leave home when you are holding it in your hand, so put the phone and computer away as much as possible.
7. Be creative.
Come up with random and fun ideas of things to do! When I went on a college road trip with my best friends, we found a Groupon for a cheap helicopter ride. That afternoon we each payed $20 to ride a helicopter over the Las Vegas Strip and it was one of the best moments! Use your creativity to leave a lasting footstep.
8. Do NOT bottle anything ever.
If you feel something, need to say something, just say it. If you are angry with someone you are traveling with, come clean about your concerns and move on. It is best to get it out of the way as quickly as possible so you can get back to the fun! There is no room for a pity party or bad attitude when you are crammed in a one bedded hotel room. Keep the atmosphere light and remove any garbage as soon as you are carrying it.
9. Work hard, play hard.
There is no feeling like knowing you earn all of your enjoyment. Work hard before your adventure so you feel like you deserve it. Or if you are on a mission trip, give as much of your heart and efforts as possible, because I promise the “play hard” following will be worth it.
10. Do not stress over the small things and have trust.
Sometimes, you just have to let go. It’s easy to feel stressed about where the Uber is, making it to your reservation on time, or standing in line for the rollercoaster for hours. However, most things are out of our control and are not worth poisoning your attitude over. There are things to worry about, like not having a hotel at 2:00 am in a different state or getting pulled by a riptide out in the ocean. But you can’t make the Uber drive faster, so save your worries for a time that calls for worry. You have to trust the process, figure out how to be laid back and cooperative.