Want to channel the power of adventure? Seize the moment and act in the now
New Year is a funny old time. You’ve spent the past 10 days gorging on Stilton to the soundtrack of “Christmas hits ‘96” as if your life depended on it. And then, suddenly, you’re expected to snap back into shape, all focused and full of laser-like productivity for the year ahead.
Not only that, but there’s a whole ton of implicit messaging out there encouraging you to unveil your “new you”.
Now, I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt kind of affectionate towards the old me. Sure, she’s had a little too much mulled wine recently. She often needs a firm shove out the door to commit to that daily run she swears by (you know, the one that mysteriously went awol over the festive season). But, let’s face it, she’s all I’ve got and I’m keen to hang onto her.
The thing is, we’re often so busy trying to reinvent ourselves that we forget to focus on what we have – and that applies as much to adventure as anything.
Even for the travel diehards among us, it’s far too easy to delay holiday plans. We tell ourselves we’re too busy, or we can’t get away right now. The timing just isn’t right. And before we can say “I need a vacation”, the whole year has flashed by without a break.
Here’s how and why you need to seize the moment, and make 2020 the time your adventures bloom into life:
You are everything that you need
It’s easy to assume that the traveller in tie-dye harem pants who confidently swaggers her way around old-town Hanoi was born that way. But the truth is, she had to throw herself in at the deep end just as you will.
There’s no “eureka!” moment when you’ll suddenly feel ready for solo travel. You won’t be gifted a casket of self-esteem from the adventure gods that be. You simply have to dive right in, and figure it out en-route.
That’s why, if you wait around to “feel” ready, you never will be. The beauty of solo travel is that it’s a self-fulfilling process. It’s only once you’re out there, wandering the souks of Marrakech or climbing mountains in Nepal, that you’ll realise just what you’re capable of.
As author Matt Haig wrote on Instagram recently: “You don’t need a new you. You don’t need replacing every year like another iPhone. Don’t throw yourself away like another piece of plastic trash. Love the old you. Improve, evolve, do better, but head towards yourself not away.”
Solo travel fast-forwards this evolution. You lean into yourself, and discover all kinds of talents – tenacity, self-reliance, courage – you were never fully aware of before the moment that you really needed them.
Don't wait to travel with friends
As we get older, our lives naturally get more complicated. People get married, have babies or move countries for another job. Suddenly, trying to arrange a catch-up with your old group of friends – let alone an actual holiday – is like herding cats.
That’s why, if you wait around for your friends to join you on holiday, you might be hanging about forever. It’s exactly this dilemma that led entrepreneur Radha Vyas (above) to co-found Flash Pack in the first place.
“I was single, in my thirties, stressed at work and wanted to get away and have some fun and adventure,” she tells Forbes. “All my friends were busy getting married, having kids or busy with their own respective careers. I had traveled solo most of my life but really craved good company.”
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Descending into the clouds trying not to look too terrified! Shame you can't see the epic view but believe me when I tell you it was epic! this was the most exhilarating thing I've done in ages! I've realised I'm not such a wimp after all! #abseil #tablemountain #southafrica #solotravel
Your friends are brilliant for many reasons. Late-night WhatsApps, rum martinis, sharing your love of random 90s TV when everyone else has moved on. But you don’t necessarily need them to travel.
Even if you do manage to arrange it, travelling with friends can be more stressful than it seems. Many people find that the pressure of being together 24-7 puts their friendship under a microscope, with needless tension as a result.
Travel with a small group of strangers, however, and you get to enjoy the world on your terms alone – while expanding your social circle at the same time. Win.
The moment for adventure is now
All fairytales have a baddie in them, but in real life, that baddie may as well be dressed up with gnarly teeth and a sign reading “procrastination”. If we let it, this monster will get in the way of everything we want to do in life.
The worst thing is, he’s a subtle beast – we’re often not even aware of him creeping up on us. We delay plans for happiness with an endless list of excuses: we’re too old/tired/overloaded with things to do. But, really, it’s because we’re scared to roll with the moment.
“We are all so afraid of uncertainty that we want a guarantee before we even try,” writes self-help coach Mel Robbins in her bestselling book The 5 Second Rule.
“[…] It’s a numbers game. To play any game, you have to start. To win, you need to keep going. If you want to make your dreams come true, get ready for the long game. Life is not a one and done sort of deal. You’ve got to work for what you want.”
If you want to solo travel, get out there and do it. Throw yourself into destination research, think about what you want to do and book those flights. But don’t overthink it because, as Robbins says, “Hesitation is the kiss of death… that one small hesitation triggers a mental system that’s designed to stop you.”
We are hard-wired to be cautious in life, which is why saying yes to adventure can feel uncomfortable – scary, even. Secretly, we’d rather sit on the fence. But go ahead and do it anyway, and you will arm yourself with the strength and courage needed to “be” that person.
Just by booking the trip, you’ll have convinced your harshest critic – yourself – that you have the guts to be that solo traveller who gets out there and sees the world. Even better, you’ll actually do it: setting off a spiral of discovery and inner confidence that makes travel the greatest elixir of all. Try it and see.
Friends busy? Do it anyway. Check out our new campaign on why having busy mates shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world.
Browse Flash Pack’s full repertoire of worldwide adventures and fuel your wanderlust right here.
Images: Flash Pack/The Common Wanderer