How to live adventurously in an ordinary life
Since setting up my business in September of last year, I have connected with some amazing people undertaking some incredible adventures and travelling to far flung corners of the globe.
And whilst this has been incredibly inspiring, I will also admit that it has sometime left me a little flat. You see, I used to be the person who thrived on exciting and unknown opportunities…the more last minute and intrepid the better. But times have changed and now, here I am in my early (cough* mid) forties, the mother of two young kids, a dog, 2 guinea pigs and a lot of (nameless) fish.
That doesn’t mean I find adventure any less thrilling; if anything I appreciate it more for it’s rarity and the glimpse of what else is out there. When I spent a week earlier this year snowboarding with the Olympic athlete Jenny Jones, I could barely contain my excitement at just being there without anyone else’s gloves to find, let alone actually managing to try any new tricks...But if I am honest, most of my time is spent managing the here and now - getting homework done, wrestling with mountains of washing and trying to encourage my kids to eat something that isn’t beige…
Which when I write it down sounds intensely dull, but the funny thing is - given the option - I wouldn’t swap it for anything else (ok, well maybe the washing…) It may be mundane, but having moved them 5 times before they were even 5, I know that my kids benefit enormously from being in a stable routine and also thrive on the predictability.
But this has also left me in some turmoil. Do I pursue more independent adventure, hoping that this will be instilled in my kids too? I know they would be well cared for if I did head off on a longer trip, but I would miss them enormously. The other problem is that actually even the thought of trying to plan something leaves me exhausted (see washing, homework etc for details). So my solution - for now - instead has been to try and live my ordinary, working “football mum” life in as an adventurous way as I can.
And do you know what? It's really working! Not only is it giving me an outlet for my wanderlust, but it is making us live more adventurously as a family as well. So for those of you who may find yourselves in a similar position, I thought I would share a few tips on how I am doing this:
Start with your routine. A few tweaks here and there have really helped satiate my need to explore. I try to vary my walks and running routes and explore paths when I am not sure where they lead (I do have a habit of getting lost however, so probably best to make sure you can at least find your way back!)
Look local. I found it amazing how many places I pass each day without noticing them. Recently I have even discovered a whole new park in the middle of my town that I never even knew was there?! I have tried to adopt this principle at the weekend - looking for new places to discover as a family and also driving that bit further to find favourite haunts like new beaches.
Get outdoors with some kids and see things through their eyes. Walking with my kids takes twice as long, but we always notice things I never would on my own (as well as climbing through a lot of brambles and mud…) This is also a great principle for when you are on your own - I’ll often remind myself to pause and look up when I’m out on my dog walks and am amazed at what I notice.
Now, I am not going to lie and pretend that I don’t still dream of the overseas adventures - and I do still try to find ways to fit these in wherever I can. However, focusing my energy on everyday exploration, rather than yearning after what’s not currently possible, has helped to curb my claustrophobia and fill in some of the gaps. And I have definitely found that by approaching my normal world with a fresh perspective and curiousity, adventure now never seems very far away.