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Commit right now begin living big and bold by growing your adventure outlook. It doesn’t necessarily take time, money or courage. You do need an open heart and mind to respond to those nudges we usually choose to ignore.
You can practice by getting comfortable with discomfort. Sit on the other side of the conference table at work, take a seat across the aisle and up front at church or stand somewhere else during your workout. Build up that mental muscle to slap down your inner voice when it says something like, “You’re going to do WHAT?!” Then start using these five steps to grow your adventure outlook. I guarantee you interesting travels!
1. Take suggestions from anywhere
My father left my brother and me two pieces of desert land that we paid a pittance of tax on every year. Each year when I wrote those checks, I wondered about these places. One late night, I saw a old movie filmed in one of the places, Deming, New Mexico . On impulse we booked a flight to El Paso, rented a convertible and took a road trip to see our holdings. We discovered outlaws, Native Americans battles and first use of military aviation along with deeper insight into my dad, who passed along his adventure outlook along with my blue eyes.
On another family vacation we visited the gift shop at the Los Angeles County Morgue because our son saw it on the Travel Channel. Still can’t believe we walked in there with fanny packs. However, once the staff got over their shock that we had actually come in person, they gave us priceless tips on seeing a vastly different face of LA. Score one for my son’s willingness to make us follow his adventure outlook.
Closer to home in Texas, I was intrigued by Joe Holley article in the Houston Chronicle about the Galveston Pirate club and the ruins of Jean Lafitte’s home. That sent us fifty miles down 1-45 to the coast. We stood atop crumbling stones of Lafitte’s walls and imagined being alone on an isolated island with only pirates and Indians for neighbors.
Destinations from newspapers, magazine articles, radio and TV shows, random entries on line and overhearing others talk about their adventures are all noted in my I-phone notes for future exploring.
2. Get off the highway
GPS usually gives us the quickest and most boring way to anywhere but it does nothing for your adventure outlook. Check out alternative routes. It’s easiest to get an overview of the possibilities on an old fashioned map or road atlas. I had a road ramble planned to Asheville, N.C. and Gettysburg, PA via New Orleans. All my online options would take nine hours from New Orleans to Asheville and with minimum disruption. But an old road atlas opened me to interesting stops along the way. I followed some Civil War battles through Meridian, MS and spent the night in a bed and breakfast along Lookout Ridge in Alabama. Late at night at the B&B, I went to the kitchen for some coffee and met a Cherokee woman who was working there. We shared a cup while she pulled up pictures on her I-phone of her family at various pow-wows and meetings. She also sent me a picture of her cousin with the biggest rattlesnake I have ever seen. We just think we grow them bigger in Texas.
Another easy step while you are on the highway is to take that exit to a town you passed by for years. There is always so much more to the place that what squats along the bypass. If I see a town sign that charms me but I don’t have the time right then to explore, I made a note and the next time I’m traveling that way, I’ll do a little research on the town before I go. This lead to side trip to Sarita, a tiny town in the middle of the King Ranch.
3. Vary Your Lodging
In a perfect world, I’d tow a little Casita travel trailer behind me like a turtle and stop on whatever sunny rock looked promising. Until then, I sometimes fuel my adventure outlook by staying in cabins in national and state parks and RV resorts.
The great thing about staying in these places is the kind of people you meet there. These folks like to spend time outside. They expect to meet fellow travelers. You spend time out on your porch or under your canopy. You are safe walking around. Many people have dogs or unique set-ups and you have a reason to connect. “Where you headed?” and “Where have you been?” are easy questions.
RVers, park and camp enthusiasts have their openness and adventuring spirit down pat. I love to talk to RV full-timers. They have usually closed the book on one phase of their life and are hungry to see what else is out there. And they seemed to have released the need for more stuff. It’s hard to have an adventure outlook if you are anchored down by too much stuff. I have gotten some great travel suggestions from these folks.
If you do not want to stay in a park or RV resort, check out some of the odder lodgings in a town – the Teepee Hotel in Wharton, Texas; a condo inside a former giant water tank at the KOA in South Padre Island or a one-room boatel in Sea Drift Texas created from a derelict shrimper boat. Check out some of these accommodations here.
4. Use Your Connections
I belong to a Jazzercise club in Houston. When I travel, I look to see if the town has Jazzercise and take my workout gear along to catch a class and make a connection with the locals. Ask where they eat and what they like to visit. Same with Toastmasters, Weight Watchers or some church affiliations. Any group that has chapters all around the country will work.
Or look up the Global Greeters Network with volunteers in all major cities who love their hometown and will show you around. We arranged for two Houston Greeter trips. On one, we toured hidden artwork downtown. The second time, we visited area farmers markets.
Docent tours at museums are great ways to learn about a place and meet other people who share a passion. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has lunch and learn tours, sometimes with free admission when you eat at their cafe.
5. Decide to be Delighted
An adventure outlook starts with you. This is the most important step and sometimes the hardest. Have a dung beetle mindset that you will find good @#%$! everywhere. Then get out of the car and start walking around. Make eye contact and say hello. Accept small inconveniences as part of the adventure. Minimize travel with complainers. A world of wonder awaits you.