Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Here's my nine step approach to designing and preparing for an adventure. This is a process I've used over the past 15 years to help me take on both local adventures and big multi-month expeditions.
This is by no means exhaustive and what works for some might not work for everyone. We'd love to know what you think about this approach and whether it works for you. Please leave comments below.
1. Ask yourself lots of questions
Creating a list of what's most important to you is a really useful first step to help you work through what kind of adventure you're actually looking to take on. It might sound obvious and quite basic but when it comes to creating a short list and ultimately deciding on a trip to go for a pre-determined list of what's important to you will be invaluable.
Some of the question I use when designing a trip...
What type of adventure do I want to go on?
Who do I want to do it with?
What's my budget?
How long do I have?
What do I want to achieve from it?
How do I want to travel? e.g. kayak, paddle board, horse, on foot etc.
Why do I want to go on an adventure?
How much time do I have to prepare?
Where do I want to go?
Do I want to do something a little different?
How committed am I to the preparation and training required?
What else do I need to consider? e.g. family commitments, work, health etc.
2. Day dream (research)
This is the fun part! This is where you can use your imagination to come up with all sorts of wild and incredible ideas for journeys, expeditions and local adventures. There are so many places to take inspiration from so grab a notepad and get scribbling.
Some of the great places we've taken inspiration from before include:
Looking over maps - where are the great trails, waterways, hills, coastlines, caves etc.?
Reading great stories, blogs and books of people who've been on incredible journeys
Exploring our local area (or the area we fancy exploring)
Going to hear people speak about their adventures
Going to grab a coffee with adventurous folk
Doing a good ol' bit of desk research (e.g. Google and the WildBase directory)
3. Create a long list
Using your scribbles from your day dreams, it's now time to create a long list of ideas. This list could include:
Potential modes of transport
Potential team mates
4. Put these ideas together to create a short list
Once you've created a long list you can now start to pull these ideas together and start to shape a list of 2-3 adventure ideas that you love the idea of.
This is where the list of criteria in step 1 comes in. For each of your 2-3 adventure ideas cross-reference them with the elements that are really important for you. You might have to slightly refine your ideas to fit your criteria but hopefully you'll be able to identify an adventure(s) that could work for you.
5. Pick one. Tell someone!
Now it's time to make a decision and pick one of your ideas to take forward (if you haven't done so already). It doesn't need to be a fully formed idea at this stage but you need to be happy and comfortable that this is the kind of adventure you want to commit to.
And then for a very important step! Tell someone, tell everyone what you're going to do. We all know the power of accountability when setting goals and objectives.
6. Get started. Make a commitment.
Taking the first step and getting started is often the hardest part of any project. If you've ever started a running training plan, you'll know that the first run often feels like the longest and the hardest but once you've got the ball rolling it feels good and the momentum starts to build.
It's the same with adventure planning. No matter how big or small the adventure is, it can feel overwhelming. And like anything else, if you take a first step and break it down into chunks it suddenly feels so much more manageable.
My advice on taking the first step with adventures is to pick something that creates an increased level of commitment. You've already told everyone you're doing it and now it's time to take a practical step forward. If it's an organised event or race the first step might be to register for the event/buy the ticket, it might be to buy the train ticket to the part of the world you want to explore, it might be setting up a social media page to document your journey, it might be attending a course or class to learn a new skill.
Whatever it is, make it a meaningful first commitment.
7. Prepare well
Now that you've built some momentum the real fun starts. It's time to get ready and we'd always recommend committing sufficient time to getting yourself well prepared so that you enjoy your trip (and so that you're as safe as possible).
The approach to preparing for your chosen adventure will vary from person to person depending on the size of the trip, your experience and fitness level and how much time you've got to prepare.
The below is an illustrative list of things to consider.
Build a project plan - a timeline of all the key activities you need to complete
A physical training plan
A nutrition plan
Preparing yourself mentally
Logistics including transport, visas, food/water etc.
Technical skills and training
Are there any mandatory qualifications / certifications?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk about specific adventure planning and preparation.
8. Go do it! Create memories.
All the hard work has been done now it's time to on an adventure! Enjoy!
9. Tell stories!
This isn't mandatory :) but it's always fun to share your tales and photos of adventure.