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The Purpose of the Adventure


You want to go on a big adventure.

You’re excited. You’re making plans. It’s actually going to happen!

This is a good time to pause and reflect about exactly why you are going on the trip, and what you hope to get out of the whole project.

I know that many of the reasons for tackling big adventures are intangible, but bear with me while I explain what I mean.

“Because it’s there!”

“Those who need to ask will never understand the answer. Those who understand the answer will never need to ask”


I’m certainly a fan of just saddling up your bike outside your front door, and pedalling off out into the world with no fixed objective, timeframe or destination. It’s a wonderful way of watching life unfold and shaping it to be more memorable, colourful and transformative than just staying at home. If this is the sort of adventure that you’re planning, then read no further: this post is not for you!

But if you are travelling with somebody else, or if your trip has sponsors (and therefore commitments to the sponsors), or if there is a specific destination or aim for your trip, or if you’ll be doing research or trying to get your trip to reach an audience, or if your trip may be dangerous, then I suggest that it would be sensible to reflect upon these questions. Better still – discuss them out loud. Better still – write down your answers so that they are really clear. It’s so much easier to do this before you get out into the wild where all your answers will blur and shift and change.

  • Why are you doing the trip?

  • What is the objective of the trip?

  • What do you hope to get out of it?

  • What will constitute “success”?

  • What will constitute “failure”?

  • What are you willing to sacrifice for this trip? (cash, time, safety, friendship)

  • Why are you going solo / with someone else? Are you going with the right person?

  • How fast will you travel?

  • What budget will you operate on?

  • How will you deal with one person being faster/slower, happier/sadder, richer/poorer, healthy/sick etc.?

  • If stuff goes wrong, can you cope?

  • Do you have the skills, fitness, contingency plans, emergency procedures necessary?

What useful questions have I missed? Have your say in the Comments below…

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  1. I wish I’d thought about these questions before a trip I took a couple of years ago. Better understanding my motives and goals would have made it a better trip. I had never traveled outside my own country, and got worried that, my age advancing, it would never happen. So I made a plan and made it happen. I began, about halfway through the six days, to feel utterly disappointed and at a loss as to what to do the rest of the time, because I failed to realize that with that trip, my actual goal had been realized upon landing on foreign soil. So the trip I planned was longer (and therefore more costly) than it needed to be. Knowing what is truly going on in your head before settling on details seems very helpful.



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