Daydreaming about adventures is a fabulous way to pass time while you’re at the office, but it can be hard to make the time to actually go while you’re working full-time hours. One weekend passes, then another, then another – and before you know it, you’ve aged six months. Here Brooke Nolan gives some tried-and-tested tips to managing the juggle.
“I’m tired – it’s been a really long week.”
“I’ve got work drinks/a friend’s birthday.”
“I really need to clean the house/go food shopping/wash my hair.”
These are just a few of the excuses I hear from people (and that I occasionally use myself) for not going away on a weekend adventure.
And don’t get me wrong. They’re valid reasons. Sometimes.
But if you truly want to start living an adventurous life – even while juggling a career – then you have to start making difficult decisions.
Ask yourself: “What’s more important to me?”
If the answer is adventure, then put yourself – and your thirst for the outdoors – first.
My friends are used to me missing weekend brunches and nights out. I’ve even missed birthday celebrations.
Perhaps that makes me sound like a bad person?
But my friends and family know that getting into the wild is what makes be feel good. Not only good, but strong, focussed, and happy. I show my love to them in different ways – without ever having to give up who I am.
But how exactly?
By prioritising adventure
If adventure – in your soul and in your heart – is a priority, then you need to start treating it like one. Say no to the work drinks. Miss you friend’s birthday party and take her to dinner on a weeknight instead. Trade Sunday brunches for Sunday sunrises.
For me, I took this to the extreme. Every decision that I’ve made since I moved to Australia 2.5 years ago has been focussed on spending more time outside. I took a job with a company that has an open policy on flexible working (hello Fridays off). I moved to the beach so that watching sunrise before work was possible. I chose a car which I could convert with a bed, making weekend adventures even easier. I joined volunteer organisations which got me outdoors, and I actively sought out friendships with people who have the same interests as me.
By maximising the time available
British adventurer Alastair Humphries termed the phrase “microadventure”, which is basically squeezing in adventures whenever and wherever you can. Mid-week? Go camping after work. Trust me, it’s doable. Weekends? Get driving Friday after work and come back Sunday afternoon. Long weekends/public holidays? Find out when they are – long in advance – and book an extra day off alongside. Actual holidays/annual leave? Ask for unpaid leave to make them longer. Or take them over Christmas break when the office might be shut anyway.
By starting my own traditions
For the past three years I’ve spent Christmas on my own doing an overnight solo hike. Why? Because Christmas is too good an opportunity not to go away on an adventure. In Australia, everything shuts down for minimum two weeks, sometimes more. Staying at home for the sake of one day didn’t make sense to me. Now, whatever trip I’m on, I do a solo hike on Christmas Eve and I love it. Don’t be afraid to break the mould if it fits your values.
By putting myself out there
A big barrier to people not getting outside enough, is not having the people to do it with. First, get comfortable with doing things on your own! Trust me, you’re fun company. I was terrified on my first solo hike, but truthfully it was fine. In terms of meeting people, I joined multiple Facebook communities which resulted in some of my friendships with fellow adventurers. I even started a Meetup group which grew to 2,500 members, and started writing for outdoor publications in my area to grow my tribe.
By planning ahead
You’d think that forward planning is counter-intuitive to being an adventurer. But when you’re juggling adventure and working full time, planning is integral. I’m not talking about planning every moment – but know what dates you’re going away, roughly where you’re heading so you know the travel time. Not only does it mean that you’re more likely to go – but you’ve got something to look forward to as well.
By not getting ‘adventure burn out’
When I first moved to Australia, I was facing adventure burnout. Going away every weekend in a bid to see as much of this beautiful country as possible, I let everything else slide. I wasn’t eating well as I never had time for Sunday food prep, boring life admin was being neglected, and there were certain friends I never saw. The easy solution to me was to make sure I had at least one weekend at home every month. I leave it completely free and if I fancy a spontaneous adventure I can. If not, Netflix, cooking, and lazy brunches it is. And it’s glorious.