The word ‘adventure’ calls to the mind so many images, snowy mountain peaks, rushing rivers, deep, lush forests and untamed nature.
Adventures are in many ways exciting, and often take a certain act of boldness and courage to step one foot in front of the other into the unknown.
As kids, it seems that adventures were easy to come by, but as we have grown just going out and doing something for the sake of the experience is something that has gradually become lost.
On a recent episode of the Lean In Podcast, I spent some time speaking with a true adventurer, Lucy Barnard. Lucy is on her own personal adventure, and it’s one unlike any other.
She is trekking across the globe in a bid to be the first woman to walk the length of the planet. Along with her canine companion, Wombat, she started at the southernmost point of South America, and she aims to eventually end up at the highest point of Alaska.
This grand tour is covering a mammoth 30,000km across 15 countries, and I was lucky enough to catch her crossing over from Peru into Ecuador.
Her undying sense of adventure was one that we can all learn from, so here are a few key lessons that I took from our conversation.
You Don’t Have to Have Something to Prove
Looking at Lucy’s journey, the first thing you might be thinking is “What is her motivation? What on earth is she trying to prove?” When you actually get down to the core of it, her adventure is purely motivated by her unquenchable curiosity – basically, she just wanted to see if she could do it.
Embarking on a journey, whatever that may look like doesn’t have to be rooted in a particular meaning. Your main objective might just be for the whole experience of it, and that is usually the best reason of all.
I think we’ve lost that connection to doing things just for ourselves, for the experience and things we can learn. So, take that step and just go for it.
Confide in the Right People
‘No man is an island,’ a saying that rings true when you’re about to embark on a new challenging chapter within your life. We as humans don’t do well when there isn’t a solid community around us and in Lucy’s case; her globetrotting endeavour meant that those sceptics closest to her didn’t always support her.
“I have a family member who is really shy about travelling, so that is someone I wouldn’t confide in on a journey like this. I know that the only reaction that I’m going to get is a negative and discouraging one,” says Lucy. “I went to people who were adventurous, who knew me well and knew that that’s something I could possibly achieve.”
This particular lesson resonates with me and is certainly something we can all instil within our lives. Confide in those that understand you – your nature, your mind and your future adventure.
Nothing is Impossible
Putting on a pair of walking boots and just heading on out into the wilderness unprepared isn’t always the best strategy. In Lucy’s case, her mammoth task has meant she has been faced with the ultimate life or death situations that have had to take up a lot of mental space, resulting in lots of planning and strategic thinking.
Anxiety around food, accommodation, funds and the health and wellbeing of both her and Wombat the dog are the daily internal battles she faces, let alone the harsh reality of her surrounding elements.
So, what’s keeping Lucy going? For many, the mental energy it takes to contend with these situations can be daunting, but Lucy uses the teachings of her father;
“There’s nothing that you can’t do, you just need to find a way to do it and hurry up and stop dawdling about it.” It’s a sentiment that she draws from often and utilizes it during the harder times.
When you find yourself at a difficult point, trust in yourself, act accordingly and carry on.