5 Powerful Life Lessons You Can Learn From Adventure
I spend so much time in mountains, rivers, and oceans these days that nature has started to feel like home for me. This wasn’t always so… I remember back when outdoor adventures felt foreign. What gear to bring? What route should I take? What do I do if the unexpected happens? Well, I have come a long way in my journey and have learned a great deal not just about adventure but also about life. Listed below are 5 powerful lessons that adventure has taught me when it comes to life.
- Preparation is Critical
- One Step at a Time
- The Unexpected Can Always Happen
- You Choose Your Path in Life
- Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
1. Preparation is Critical
When I first started partaking in outdoor adventures, I have to say I was a bit unprepared. I recall one of my first hikes that happened to be in South Africa. I was on holiday in Cape Town with family and friends. After visiting several tourist attractions and a few of us decided on climbing Table Mountain. We hired a guide and were soon on our way. While the guide was able to direct us along the correct route, I soon realized that we were not properly prepared for this adventure. I was out of shape, lacked the proper hiking gear, and did not bring enough food and water. After that trip, I said to myself that I would NEVER again be unprepared for a hike or any other outdoor adventure!
The biggest lesson I learned from this was just like being ready for life’s big moments, the right preparation is critical in determining failure or success.
2. One Step at a Time
Several years ago, I attempted to climb Mount Rainier in Washington State. At the time it was the most difficult hike of my life. Standing on a 3-foot wide ledge at 11,000 feet elevation on a glacier can make your mind run wild. What if I fall? Could an avalanche occur? What if the weather turns for the worse? If you let the chatter inside your head get to you, you are doomed. While I unfortunately did not summit that day, I was able to quiet my mind and focus on taking the climb One Step at a Time. This approach got me safely down and off the mountain.
Ever since my climbing adventure on Mount Rainier, I have used this approach not only in my outdoor adventures but also in aspects of my life. When life gets hard, I now take it One Step at a Time. If you do the best you can at each of these steps than eventually you will accomplish your goal.
(Oh… and I do plan to give the Mount Rainier summit another shot very soon!)
3. The Unexpected Can Always Happen
A few years ago, a few of my British and Irish adventure buddies attempted to do the UK National 3 Peaks Challenge. If you are not familiar with the challenge, the goal is to hike the highest peaks in Scotland, England, and Wales, all in 24 hours. After taking an overnight train from England to Scotland, our first peak to conquer was Ben Nevis. We began the hike at 5 pm local time and stormed confidently up the mountain. After enjoying the successful summit for a few minutes, some of us decided to trail run back to our van. As the sun began to set, we navigated down the winding and rocky trails in great time. We then boarded our van and headed off to climb Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, and the next stop on our adventure. 30 minutes into our drive, I started to feel very ill. I’ll save you the unpleasant details but I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge with the group. We had planned this trip for over a year and I had flown all the way to Europe for it. However, life had different plans for me that day.
Sometimes the unexpected happens on an outdoor adventure. The same goes for life. When life throws you a curve ball, you need to accept it, pivot, and change course. As disappointed as I was that I did not complete the challenge, I do know that the mountains will always be there and I will have the opportunity to come back to climb another day!
4. You Choose Your Path in Life
A good friend once told me, “You are where you want to be”. I looked at him and thought he was crazy and told him such. Then he said it again with a smile. I remember walking home that night thinking about what he had said. Maybe I do have a choice! This statement had a profound affect on my life from that day forward. And if you believe it (which you should!) you can create more control and power over your life than you could ever imagine.
When you are in the mountains, you are often forced to make decisions on which route you will take to the summit. You can choose the easy, flat, well-worn path or you can choose the less-taken, steep and winding ascent. Whatever decision you make – there will be an outcome – and aside from the factors that you cannot control, this choice and its results will be yours and yours alone.
I have always loved this quote from Dr. Seuss that applies to both adventure and life:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
5. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Anyone who knows me is aware that one of my favorite things in the world is running in the mountains. The minute I start moving, I get this great feeling of happiness and I can run for hours. However, when in this state of pure bliss, I have to remind myself to “Pay Attention To the Surroundings”. I need to remember that I am in the wilderness and I can’t just blindly ignore my environment. I am always scanning the terrain and woods around me. Whether it’s rocks, tree roots, or even wildlife, I need to pay attention and adjust accordingly. A few months ago, I went for a quick trail run near my home in a heavily wooded area in New Jersey. As I turned a corner, I saw a venomous Copperhead snake (Copperheads typically account for more bites than any other U.S. species of snake) on the trail just 10 feet ahead. Luckily, I did not have to get snake bite treatment. I slowed down and waited for it to slither away before continuing on.
Sometimes in life no matter how fast you are moving, you need to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings. This will help you to avoid life’s unexpected obstacles and navigate successfully through challenges.
Remember, whether you are on an outdoor adventure or just dealing with life’s challenges, make sure you take into account my 5 Powerful Life Lessons You Can Learn From Adventure so that you can climb to new heights!
If you want to learn more about our adventures click HERE or if you have a life lesson that adventure has taught you we would love to hear about it just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder & CEO
The Explorer’s Passage
About Jeff Bonaldi
Jeff Bonaldi is the Founder and CEO of The Explorer’s Passage, an adventure travel company. His mission is to provide travelers with the opportunity to transform their lives and the planet through the power of adventure.