If there’s one thing you could say is palpably missing from your average day in the office, it’s adventure.
After all, you’re unlikely to sit through a meeting thinking, “wow, this is thrilling!” Your commute could hardly be typified by an appetite for greater heights and more daring delights (unless you’re an airline pilot).
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And yet, we know that adventure – large or small – can expand our horizons. It fires us up, and helps us to think more creatively about the world (even if that world happens to be populated by wheely chairs).
So, here are five easy ways to spring-clean your working day with a vibrant spritz of the unknown. Call it a Flash Pack dab of paint, if you will. Drink in, and get set to upcycle the slog of your daily routine.
Plan a new route to work
At Flash Pack, we’re all about changing things up – whether that’s paddle-boarding down Loboc River in the Philippines or off-roading across the slopes of Mount Etna. What can we learn from this? Just by altering one aspect of a given route, your whole perspective changes. Now, we’re not suggesting you become the commuter who swims to work in Munich, or the man who kayaks to his office on a Cotswolds canal (although, #lifegoals). But both people capture the spirit of adventure, which is: why accept the ordinary?
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Instead of catching the bus across town , get up two hours earlier and use an app to figure out a backstreet walk to work. Or – as interacting with strangers is another key element of adventure – reach out to new people in your area by joining a local carpool. If you must use the same route to work, why not change up your routine as you do so? Make it your goal to read one life-changing book a week, or set a challenge to learn the basics of a new language in a month – all on your commute. Yes, routines are dull; but it doesn’t take much to change them up.
Take a street food safari
From the alleyways of Hong Kong to backstreets of Delhi, we at Flash Pack just love to go off-radar. The best way of getting to know a place is through its local foodie hot spots, unearthing a maze of gems you never even knew existed. How well do you know the neighbourhood where you work? Have you ever bothered venturing further than your local Pret? Next time you have lunch, take a full hour to get lost in the streets around you. Do a bit of Googling and grill your colleagues to find out the best places to eat.
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Make up a list and tick ’em off one by one, all the while keeping an eye out for other hidden haunts along the way. You could even plot out a random walk and commit to stopping at least twice at any café or stall you pass en-route. A cappuccino here, a clafoutis there – oh, and is that Vietnamese noodles we spy? This approach isn’t cheap but now and again, it really helps to disrupt that tired of stream of lunches al desko. Work in the middle of nowhere? Challenge your colleagues to a Come Dine With Me-style contest. You each draw names of a country out of a hat and rotate weekly to bring a lunch for your team inspired by that place.
Dial back to nature
Science shows that being in nature makes us kinder, happier and more creative. In fact, just five minutes of “green activity” a day is enough to significantly bolster self-esteem. That’s why we take every opportunity to be in the Great Outdoors at Flash Pack, as we trek through the hills of Chiang Rai or navigate the glaciers of Iceland. Now clearly, it’s tricky to gallivant off into the wilderness when you’re surrounded by an ocean of desks. But how about finding a way of making nature come to you? Research shows that the mere act of looking at scenes of nature can relieve stress, as does having lots of plants in your workplace.
So, consult with your co-workers to figure out who has beautiful photos of nature that they can blow up and frame in the office. If these have a wanderlust theme (say, the emerald hills of Sapa or Bolivia’s rolling salt plains), so much the better. And you can pool money to cover the expense (it shouldn’t cost more than £60 per print, including a clip frame). Next up, call a meeting with your HR department and bombard them with the amazing benefits of office plants, from increased productivity to greater happiness. Hopefully, you’ll get sign-off on a modest budget for your own office jungle: snake plants, weeping figs and gerbera daisies will provide a nice antidote to the endless sea of strip lighting. Lastly, remember to always take your lunch break and scope out a bunch of local green spots – parks, squares or gardens – where you can unwind.
Break out of your comfort zone
Aah, the fabled comfort zone. We constantly have this in our cross-hairs at Flash Pack, as we abseil down mountains in Cape Town, climb rainbow peaks in Peru and white-water raft the rapids of Chile. Facing your fears means living a bigger and bolder life, achieving things you never believed yourself capable of. So, how does this translate to office life? Dive head-first into the things that slightly scare you. Not keen on office drinks? Make yourself say yes to the next three events, and search out new people to chat to at each one. Do presentations bring you out in an icy-cold sweat? Make your voice heard at every opportunity: be the first to volunteer your thoughts at meetings and workshops, just to get a handle on your own discomfort.
The more you face your own fears, the more your confidence soars. Each time, you’ll be struck by the realisation that you *can* do it, no matter how uncomfortable it feels. And conquering your own self-doubt is an internal adventure all of itself. Plus, fortune favours the brave. The more courage you wield, the more doors will open for you – revealing unexpected paths forward. And don’t forget; being brave doesn’t mean having no fear. It’s simply about feeling the fear and moving forward anyway. Make a habit of it – and saying yes to the unknown – to transform your work life.
Meet new people
At Flash Pack, we believe passionately in the power of meeting new people. At the core of all of our adventures lies a group of like-minded strangers. They’re mostly single and career-driven folk in their 30s and 40s, with a thirst for travel and exploring the world. Though many people feel nervous ahead of their first trip, they inevitably end up loving it – particularly for the new fleet of pals they meet along the way. When you chat to new people, you stretch the limits of your own world and challenge yourself with fresh points of view. Little wonder that doing so makes you happier, more confident and better understood.
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The nature of modern work often creates a physical and emotional barrier to others (think of how often you’re glued to your emails). So, come home time, it’s time to blitz those boundaries wide open. Instead of retreating to your sofa and a night of Masterchef, head out to meet a string of strangers. There are countless ways you can do this, from joining a softball team to amateur dramatics, poker nights, a pop-up cooking class or a public speaking course. It doesn’t even have to be a regular commitment: you could join one-off events every week, looking to local listings and services such as meetup.com as your guide. Flash Pack also runs regular mini-experiences, where you grab a feel for our travel-based community. Get on out there – the world is your oyster.
Photos: Shutterstock and Flash Pack