The first step to getting started on any adventure is having a plan. Now, that’s not to say that adventures can’t happen impulsively on a whim. In fact, some of the best ones do. However, having a plan can definitely help steer you in the direction you want to go.
What kind of a plan you might ask? Well it can be as detailed as a day by day route planning the miles of a road trip, or it can be as general as “I want to explore somewhere new.” Both are great places to start.
When I decided as a sophomore to not go back to my university and study abroad instead, I didn’t have much of a plan except, “I need to go somewhere else and see how I feel about life in a different place.” And goll-eee, was that sure an adventure. I traveled all around Costa Rica, even went to Nicaragua and Panama, learned to cook local dishes, learned a lot more Spanish, tried surfing for the first time, saw a ton of animals and plants I had never seen before, and made a lot of great friends.
Another big adventure I went on that really did need quite a bit of planning was hiking the Appalachian Trail. My original plan, of course, was just that I knew I wanted to hike it. Eventually that lead to a big plan, including what gear I would need, and figuring out a lot of big ticket life housekeeping things (like paying bills, planning for insurance, find someone to take over my lease, etc.) leading up to my trip that allowed me to save enough money to complete the whole trip and be able to take off for a few months. Big adventures like that tend to require a bit more planning. Lots of people that start the AT, actually have to get off the trail early because they run out of money or encounter issues with things back home that they did not tend to beforehand. It’s a horrible way to end a big adventure due to lack of foresight.
As for my current big adventure plans…I just moved to California to start an internship with the Bureau of Land Management. Moving here has definitely been a big adventure. Now that I’m finally settled I’m going to be exploring the public lands in and around California. My latest plan involves taking control of my career goals and actively seeking out opportunities in my present situation that would let me get outside and work so that eventually I can land my dream job of working on public lands full time. I’m looking forward to getting out both on the job and off and continuing my exploration adventures in California. If you have any favorite spots I should check out, please let me know!