There’s no doubt about it. Doing the same things day in and day out can be monotonous. Get up, go to gym, work, eat, work again, eat again, drink copious amounts of alcohol, dread the morning, go to bed. We’re all guilty of slipping into a routine and allowing our busy work schedules to consume us, and before you know it, another year has passed and you’re in exactly the same rut.
It would be easy for me to preach the ‘quit your job and travel the world‘ argument here, but I absolutely understand that for most people, this isn’t an option. Maybe not just right now, and maybe not ever. So instead of asking you to to fly off somewhere exotic, my aim is to find the adventure and bring it to you.
How can you make your every day life more adventurous? How can you fill your days with exciting memories, rather than the everyday monotony? Here are some ways to bring adventure to your everyday.
1. Take a different route
I’m starting you off slow with this one, but if you’re in the habit of taking the same route to work every single day, consider shaking it up a little by going a different way. Have you ever been driving along in a bit of a trance, only to suddenly come around and wonder where the last 5 minutes have gone? You can’t remember passing that petrol station or that superstore at all… Scary.
Taking a new route forces your brain to take in your surroundings and appreciate things for what they are. You might not feel like you’re going on the biggest adventure ever, but breaking that routine has positive affects on the brain, keeping you on your toes and out of the mindless drudgery of the daily commute.
2. Take someone’s recommendation on impulse
Next time you’re engaged in a chat with a work colleague about that great restaurant they went to at the weekend, or the amazing gig they saw last night, decide then and there to follow in their footsteps and book yourself a ticket / table for tonight, if you can. If that’s not possible, then for the weekend, or as soon as possible. The fresher their glowing recommendation in your head, the more likely you are to pick up on the same great things that they did and enjoy the experience all the more.
3. Talk to a stranger
This goes against everything your mum told you as a child, but you’re not a child anymore, you’re a fully grown adult and other people aren’t actually all that scary. Unless you live in London, and everyone knows it’s basically illegal to talk to anyone on public transport, then the world is your oyster!
Speak to that distant neighbour you always see watering the plants, chat to the local shopkeeper about how their day is going, have a chinwag with that person you work with but have never actually spoken to. I know what you’re thinking… ‘Yes, that’s all very well, but how do I strike up a conversation?’. The answer to that is you can talk about anything. The weather, what they’re doing this weekend, if they have a family, what their favourite cheese is… It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a smile on your face and you’re willing to give it a go. You never know where your conversation may lead you.
4. Play train / bus / plane roulette
This is one of my favourites. Next time you have a free day, weekend or week, consider throwing caution to the wind and going just anywhere by bus, train or plane. I like to call this ‘roulette’. Let’s take ‘train roulette’ as an example and explore the rules:
1. Go to the nearest train station to you. If you live in a big city, put the names of all of the large train stations into a hat and pick from there.
2. When you arrive, go straight to the departures board and pick a train leaving in approximately 15 minutes.
3. Set yourself a budget, go to the ticket counter and say ‘I want to get on the 10:35 train to Glasgow,’ (or whichever train it is), ‘how far can I get for £30?’.
4. Buy the ticket, get on the train and enjoy!
I played this successfully a couple of years ago with Alex and ended up in Cambridge for the weekend. It actually coincided with the local Folk Festival and we never would have found out about it if we had not played trusty old train roulette!
5. Join a class or a Meetup
I keep using London as an example but as it’s where I lived for 4 years it’s an easy reference point. London has millions of groups set up by ordinary people to meet people with similar interests called ‘Meetups‘. These Meetups are happening all over the world, starting in big cities and spreading to the small towns too. Simply browse your interests, choose a Meetup to suit you and go along. Most people don’t know each other so don’t feel nervous about being the odd one out. It’s a great way to meet likeminded people in your local area!
6. Help someone
One of the nicest things you can do with your day is dedicate part of that to helping someone else. This might be through a structured volunteering system, or simply by helping a stranger onto the bus with their heavy load of luggage.
If you feel you don’t have the time or inclination to volunteer in person, but you’re a computer whiz, why not offer some of your time to develop a website for the local children’s charity for example, or if you’re a designer, contact a local charity of your choice to see if you can help. Last year I helped out with the marketing of Oxjam, a local music festival held all over the country in support of Oxfam. There are always people out there who need a helping hand if you take the time to look for them.
7. Learn something new
Why not challenge your brain by learning a new skill? Always wanted to learn a language, want to improve your photography or want to know how to cook a killer Thai curry? There are thousands of classes you can take, either online or in person.
If you’re more of an online learner, then why not sign up for one of the thousands of free online courses on Coursera, or for a recognised qualification, browse these professional online courses (you’ll need to fork out for these though)
Don’t have time to learn? Nonsense! There are literally millions of people willing to share their knowledge on a little known video platform called YouTube in just a few minutes. My favourite micro-learning channel of the moment is DaveHax. Learn how to cut tomatoes quickly, fold a shirt in under 2 seconds, or draw a near perfect circle freehand. All amazing life skills that you’re sure to need in future!
8. Borrow a doggy
OK this sounds a little weird, but for all the animal lovers out there who aren’t able to keep a dog (for example if you work full time, or live in a high rise apartment building), there are hundreds of people out there who will let you borrow their dog for a few hours.
The concept is called ‘BorrowMyDoggy‘, and it’s really taking off all over the world. It’s simple, really. BorrowMyDoggy connects dog owners (who may be going away for the weekend every once in a while, or have a work commitment which means they need a dog sitter for a few hours) to dog lovers with a bit of free time and a big dog-shaped hole in their lives. You have to pay a small fee to sign up, but once that’s done you have access to a database of dogs in your area and you can chat to owners about walking their dog, or simply having it over for cuddles!
9. Pick up a new hobby
A human’s work is never done, and there is always room for improvement, which is why there’s always room for a new hobby! In a similar vein to no 8 on this list, but without as much structure, the possibilities are endless. When you think of ‘hobbying’ you might think of stamp collecting, plane spotting and cross stitch. But wait! This isn’t the 1930’s! Hobbies are so much more than that.
Starting a blog, coding a website or app, reading a good book, attempting stand up comedy on an open mic night or joining a local sports team are all classed as hobbies. Although is you want to sit down to a puzzle, spot planes or take up crochet, then I won’t hold that against you.
10. Book an experience
Sometimes the act of booking something is the hardest part, but is all the persuasion you need to do something completely out of your comfort zone. Once it’s booked there’s no going back!
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, why not try a skydive (indoor or outdoor!), a bungee jump or a day racing your mates around a go karting track? For something a little more low key, a day at the races betting on the horses is great fun, or if you need to chill, book a spa day with a couple of treatments.
Try one of the packaged experiences by Virgin Experience Days, or if you fancy something cheap and cheerful and you don’t mind what you do, try Groupon or Wowcher. Just remember that these vouchers will have an expiry date so make sure you add a note to your diary to get them all confirmed up!
So now I hope you’re feeling inspired and ready to take off on a new adventure! If you have any other suggestions for how to bring the adventure to the everyday, then please let me know in the comments below!
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