Pocahontas has always been my favorite Disney Princess. Beyond the fact that I am part Native American and every little girl identifies with the princess they most look like, I love Pocahontas’ zest for life. I have always been that adventurer/dreamer and as a girl growing up, I related to her story so well. It was no surprise to my mother when I told her about my decision to move in with my father to see what kind of relationship could be rekindled just to see what happened. It was no surprise to my dad when after graduation, I packed up my little car and took off to Boston with hardly any money and knowing just my boyfriend purely because I knew I wanted to be there. And it was no surprise to my then fiance when I told him I wanted to spend forever with him just because I had decided it sounded great. Head first, no hands, all in…. I’ve always been that girl, much like the Disney version of Pocahontas.
However, life is much simpler these days. I’m no longer 18 and able to take off to anywhere, whenever. I have a husband, a dog, and a good job to think about. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t cultivate my true spirit of adventure in my life now. With every life phase that hits, I’ve kept the adventure alive and I think that’s made life so much better. As you know, I wholeheartedly believe that you don’t have to sell everything you own and move out of the country to be a minimalist and the same is true for living an adventurous life. So, here is how to cultivate this idea in life whether you travel a lot, have two weeks vacation a year, do or don’t have kids, are in retirement, or are in college.
- Allow great times to happen, spontaneous or planned: Whether you plan for an awesome vacation zip-lining in the jungle of Costa Rice, or you have a spontaneous breakfast with your friends at Village Inn, good times are waiting to happen. You will easily find an adventure if you are open and looking for it. Also, make sure to plan for get-aways or small adventures around the year, preferably at times when you know you’ll need a break. Stay in a cabin for a weekend, go away for a backpacking trip with friends, or just plan an evening out doing things you wouldn’t normally do with your partner.
- Learn to laugh… A lot: It’s hard to be spontaneous if you tend to be more stressed and tense. If you learn to let go and just enjoy the moment, you’ll find it’s much more fun to laugh and have a good time than worry about what’s coming next. Plus, it’s easier to handle wrong turns and forgetting debit cards when you can laugh at any situation and take it in stride.
- Focus on community: Making time for your family and friends is the key to ensuring a good time. These are the people you’ve chosen to do life with and that speaks a lot about what their company means to you. That also means you need to think about the people in your life and decide who should stay and who just causes more stress. If you have friends that cause tension or are overly negative, you probably won’t have a lot of good times with them. Make sure the people you surround yourself with have those qualities you want in your own life, and then go have awesome adventures with them!
- Change your plans: Someone once told me to always be “positive and flexible” and I’ve tried really hard to remember this. Whether it’s something as big as totaling your car or something as small as forgetting your wallet for a day, your reaction to the situation is everything. I’ve found that usually when my plans don’t work out, an adventure is waiting to happen. Leaving Boston one year to see family for the holidays, the plane I was on started to leak gas and we had to turn back around at the runway and head to the airport so mechanics could work on it. Later that night, we ended up using another plane that had finished it’s routes and got to Salt Lake City sometime in the early morning. Because all of us had missed our connecting flights, the airline shuttled us to a hotel next to the airport and put each of us up in our own room with free food, then shuttled us back to the airport for our flights that next day. Not only was I so glad that someone found the leak on our plane and I ended up making it to Idaho safely, but I also had a great time talking to new people and having my own little adventure.
Adventures don’t have to be crazy or extravagant to be fun. I’m seriously convinced that, just like most of the things I write about, it comes down to you. You being open to having a good time, you being willing to change, you allowing spontaneity, and you making the adventures happen.