I've had people ask how old I am because of how much I've already achieved.
(I've not done that much!)
I've had people ask how I have the motivation to keep getting out and doing long bike rides or climbing mountains.
(I just do. Which is not a real answer, I know)
This week I was thinking about why adventure is a necessity in my life and also why being outside is so important to me!
My Grandad died unexpectedly within 24 hours of us being told, I ended my relationship with my boyfriend of almost 4 years and my stalker of 6 years went in to overdrive. All of these things happened within days of each other, whilst work was also chaos as I had 3 people leave within a fortnight. Plenty of people have far worse things happen, I know, but this cumulative series of events hit me pretty hard and my stress levels peaked.
Earlier that year, before all the life carnage, I had booked a trip to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and so this became my main focus. I spent all my spare time prepping and kit packing, reading up on every aspect of the climb and then when I got out there in October I threw myself at it & I climbed Kilimanjaro. Half way up the mountain I 'twisted my knee funny' and, later, after reaching the summit (somehow) and flying home, it turned out that I had actually dislocated my kneecap, torn the meniscus cartilage and yanked my tendon all over the place!
The thing that kept me going through all the pain and tears on my way to the summit was my own personal motivation for this grand adventure! The thing that kept me going throughout all of the agonising physio was the thought of climbing more mountains and getting out hiking again.
Nobody can ever say I'm not a motivated person, and when I set my mind to something I go at it 100% until I achieve whatever it is I'm trying to achieve.
I like being organised, it's a key part of my job. So, the uncertainty and problems that occur when outdoors goes against every post it note, list checking part of me and I think for me personally I need that balance. The fact that I can set adventure goals for myself and the path to reaching them isn't always smooth or I need to learn new skills to get there fills me with excitement and motivation (after the initial stress).
Equally, by planning something adventurous, I know that I will escape my comfort zone and that gives me the push I need, frequently. My knee needed testing, so I walked the Isle of Wight Coast Path. It still hurt, so I pushed through with physio until it got stronger. A couple of months later I was climbing in the Alps with no pain and if I wasn't motivated I know that would not have been possible.
I have my sights set on the Matterhorn...
The mountain I've dreamed of climbing since I was a child!
Adventure, for me, is a means of escaping the mundane.
It's a way to add focus.
It challenges me.
It pushes me beyond my perceived limits.
It motivates me to aim higher, both outside of work and also at my desk.
It keeps me calm when otherwise I would lose my head.
It gives me a distraction from any problems that can occur, but also a different way to deal with them.
It gives me an outlet for my stress.
It gives me the chance to learn new skills.
It gives me the chance to meet new people who are also motivated in this way.
It gives me a way to learn new ways of doing things.
Adventures don't have to mean climbing mountains, or cycling the length of a country... they are very much an individual thing and I think that if it gets you doing something different, or experiencing new things, then it counts as an adventure!
I just choose mountains and bigger goals because that's who I am as a person!
All of those are great if they are your interests, but they're not for me.
I like to spend almost all of my spare time outside, setting myself these new goals, these mountains to climb... and I'd not have it any other way. Without expanding on the love I've had for being outdoors since childhood, and without setting these challenges, I would still be in a dark, twisty (sorry for the Greys Anatomy reference there) place.
What does adventure mean to you? What challenges do you set yourself? Do you like to be outside?