But you can inject more adventure into your life now! I’m excited to share this guest post by my friend Wade from Intrepid Daily — he’s an expert adventurer with some insight to share, and there are a surprising number of shared values between the early retirement and adventuring communities.
Why do we want to retire early, or semi-retire? Is it simply because we want to be out of the working world, no longer answerable to a boss or supervisor?
I think there’s more to it.
In the five years I’ve run my website, Intrepid Daily, I’ve talked to a ton of people who want to leave the working world behind them, and most of them don’t just want to avoid work. They long for freedom, meaning, fulfillment, and adventure.
Does that sound like you?
If you’re in the process of retiring, semi-retiring, or even just starting to plan for retirement age in the future, there is no better time to start leading a more adventurous life than now.
Adventure takes many forms, but what I write about most is outdoor recreation as adventure. Think camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing, fishing, canoeing… Actually, just about any form of playing outside. What I’ve learned is that adventure provides a lot of value.
This isn’t just anecdotal either. We’ve learned that we can reduce stress and improve our attention spans, physical fitness, and willpower just by spending time in nature. You can reap those benefits too, but don’t worry if you’re new to adventuring in the great outdoors — even a 20 minute hike has been shown to help lower the human stress hormone cortisol. Other research indicates that “Those who got in two to three hours in nature were about 20 percent more likely to report high overall satisfaction with their lives than those who spent no time outdoors at all.”
Additionally, adventuring in the great outdoors also provides exercise, which we know can help prevent or manage several health concerns — it can reduce the likelihood of stroke, arthritis, heart-related illness, and many types of cancer, while helping to regulate conditions like type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
In short, if you want to live a longer, healthier life in which you feel satisfied, adventure is the way to do it.
How to become an adventurer
There’s no complicated set of instructions for becoming an adventurer, no secret formula you have to figure out. In fact, it’s really quite simple. There’s just one thing you need to do.
Go on adventures
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s always easy. If you’re new to the adventuring game, it’s probably unwise to just head out into the backcountry without support. Instead, consider introducing adventure into your daily life by adopting an adventurer’s attitude, then letting the small steps compound into significant lifestyle changes.
What is an adventurer’s attitude?
To create a more adventurous life, the first thing to address is our attitude.
We need to look at the challenges we face — even the small day-to-day tasks we all have to deal with — and consider them as, at least in some small way, part of an adventure.
This sounds silly, I know. And I won’t lie, it’s difficult at first. I mean, all the mundane or unpleasant tasks we face in our lives don’t feel like they’re part of an adventure, but we’ve got to put in the work to alter our mindset. By doing so, we develop the skills that ALL adventurers need. Like the ability to accept a certain level of discomfort in order to achieve a goal, or to make a sacrifice now in order to facilitate a greater success later on down the road.
The next step in developing the adventurer’s attitude is to begin stepping outside of your comfort zone.
If this is new to you, feel free to start small. Maybe, instead of ordering the same meal every week at your favorite restaurant, you try something new or go to an entirely new place. Maybe you try to learn a new skill, or explore a new location. You’ll notice that none of this is extremely frightening or dangerous. That’s just fine.
Once you’re comfortable with things like that, you can take a day hike in a nearby National or State Park. Then try out a camping trip. Eventually you could take on a backcountry backpacking trip, if you want.
Do you want to retire to live in a van, sailboat, RV, or tiny house? Explore what that’s like now by renting one for a few days, or even a week or two, and get a feel for whether actually doing it lives up to the romantic idea of doing it.
Stretch your comfort zone, taking on bigger challenges as you go. You don’t have to make huge changes all at once — just like investments, let them grow over time.
Living a rich life
Like most things, retirement of any kind comes down to what you want. If you want to retire early, chill at home, watch some ball games, and work in the garden, by all means do that.
But if you’re looking for a freedom beyond the working world, a life of adventure may be right for you.
I know folks who lived the semi-retired life working part time at National Parks, or who lived in an RV and worked remotely. These sound like awesome lives to me, but what matters is what sounds right for you.
At its heart, semi-retirement, early retirement, or any kind of lifestyle change is an incredibly personal, individual choice. The goal isn’t to chase someone else’s dreams, but rather to hone in on your own. To lead a rich life.
When I say “rich life,” I’m not referring only to money. Though money is an important element in leading a rich life — and you’ll find plenty of posts on this site that can help with financial choices — I’m talking about the quality of life, the level of happiness you experience, the fulfillment you enjoy, and the experiences you explore. An adventurer’s attitude will absolutely help you lead your own rich life.
If you want to lead a more adventurous life during your semi-retirement, embrace one of the core tenets I teach on my website — start now, not later. Just like you shouldn’t put off saving or investing money for retirement, you shouldn’t delay investing in your adventurer’s attitude. The sooner you begin to add adventure to your daily life, the more your adventures will grow by the time you begin retirement.
Want help getting started on the semi-retirement path? Check out some of these articles to learn more. And if you’re interested in adding adventure to your lifestyle, no matter where you’re at in life, stop by my website at IntrepidDaily.com to get started.