Turning an empty calendar and a lack of direction into an exciting, rewarding, challenging, money-generating expedition is both easy and difficult.
Here is how I go about making stuff happen.
- Block off the biggest chunk of time possible. Guard this jealously. Time is so precious and demands on it so numerous. I can always earn more money. I can never reclaim lost time.
- Sit and daydream. Think of all the places I have not been. Think of all the journey styles I have not done. Pore over an atlas as I pour the coffee. Browse my bookshelves for inspiration. Drool over Google Images and Flickr and Sidetracked.
- Try to think of a trip that is, for me at least, fresh, novel, difficult and different.
- Draw up a shortlist of the few plans that currently excite me most.
- Narrow this list down against criteria such as cost, season, timeframe and potential partners available.
- More or less settle on one preferred option.
- Faff around for a while.
- Send out an email / meet up with somebody / do something that tips me over from day-dreaming about how fun this would all be to actually getting off my arse and making it happen. The tipping point is often small but significant: walking across India was solidified merely by having dinner with a friend’s parents, for example.
- Buy a plane ticket or whatever is the single most expensive, painful, committing action to take. This is without doubt the most significant and difficult stage of the entire process (hint: it’s far harder than the scary expedition you are worrying about). This single act of commitment is what differentiates dreamers from do-ers. It’s not hard, but it is bold.
- Run around like an idiot, realising that I have grossly underestimated the time and expense involved in making the trip happen. (NB: I have never looked back at a trip and regretted how much it cost. I have often looked back and regretted not taking a trip. If you want to do something and it feels important, find a way to pay for it. Make it happen. Or do it cheap and embrace the ensuing hassle and suffering). Because I am committed to the trip, I know that it will happen. It might not be 100% perfectly planned for, but that doesn’t matter too much: I have momentum.
These are additional questions I ask myself now that ‘adventure’ = ‘work’ for me:
- – Will this trip generate good writing opportunities (book or magazine)?
- – Will this trip generate good photography / filming opportunities?
- – Will this trip provide interesting new material for my talks?
- – Will this trip enhance my Expedition CV?
- – Will this trip build my skills towards a future epic?
- – Does the trip have a nice, succinct ‘story’?
Will this trip impress girls?
And here are questions I do not ask myself, rightly or wrongly:
- Will this be a ‘first’?
- Will I get a ‘world record’?
- Does this fit into a carefully-choreographed plan towards world domination and retirement?
- Will this trip impress anyone?
- Do I have the required CV to go do this trip?
My new book, Grand Adventures, answers many questions such as this. It’s designed to help you dream big, plan quick, then go explore. There are also interviews and expertise from around 100 adventurers, plus masses of great photos to get you excited.
I would be extremely grateful if you bought a copy here today!
I would also be really thankful if you could share this link on social media with all your friends – http://amzn.to/20IMYDt. It honestly would help me far more than you realise.
Thank you so much!