5 Prompts for Adventure Inspiration

Emily Woodhouse Big Adventures, Living Adventurously, Practical Advice

Okay, so you know you want to go on an adventure, but you just can’t decide what! This is a problem for many people – either because the world is so big you don’t know where to start, or none of your ideas give you that “yes, this is happening!” excitement.

There are loads of examples of other people’s adventures (big or small) across the internet. You can take a little look at mine, for starters! Hundreds of bucket list suggestions are only a quick Google away… But it’s not quite the same as going on an adventure that was your own idea.

Here are 5 prompt ideas to get your creative adventure juices flowing…

Adventure Prompt 1: Childhood Dreams

What was that one place (or several!) that you used to dream about when you were little? Was there a book you were really inspired by, or a person, or a journey?

For example, I used to be fascinated by archaeology. In particular the Inca civilisations and their lost cities. That view of Machu Picchu – now in most tourist brochures – captured my imagination. In fact, there’s still a picture of it on my bedroom wall. Maybe I should go there sometime?

Perhaps you have a location like that? Some place that you’ve been interested in for years and years. Now personally, I’m not going to jet off to Peru and do the Inca Trail to arrive at that illusive view of Machu Picchu. It’s too touristy now and has lost the sense of exploration that I dreamed of… but it’s a starting point for me draw out from. What could I do instead that’s similar…?

Alternatively, how about trying to recreate the story of a favourite book or hero? For example, Alastair Humphreys tried to recreate the journey of Laurie Lee by busking through Spain with a violin. I have often looked dreamy-eyed at New Zealand and wondered if I could recreate an epic Lord of the Rings journey through it. Maybe in full fancy dress…

Write down 3 favourite books, 3 favourite locations and 3 favourite times in history/journeys to get started.

Adventure Prompt 2: “All”s and Firsts

Another way to create an adventure is to pick something you like (mountains, rivers, lakes, trig points…) and do all of them. Mark them out on a map and connect them all with a route. That is your adventure.

Of course, you do have to have some limit on these challenges. It would take you a very long time to do climb all the mountains in the world! But many people attempt the Seven Summits (highest peak on each of 7 continents) or the Welsh 3000s, for example. I recently walked all the tors on Dartmoor in one go. James Forrest walked all the mountains in England and Wales during 2017. Hazel Strachan is on her 10th full round of Munroes and counting!

And that’s just the mountains and walking! You could cycle, or you could swim across things or SUP or kayak or zorb… The possibilities are only limited by your imagination and counting. Or if you’re not big on counting, you could pick something linear (like a river) and run/paddle/hike the whole length of it.

Linked to this is (sort of) is the idea of “firsts”. Sure if your “all the…” adventure idea is whacky enough, you’ll probably be the first to do it. Or you could take someone else’s idea and be the first woman/twin/fancily-dressed person to do it. Or do it by a different method of transport (e.g. first to swim/SUP/etc the length of Britain). Perhaps you could genuinely find some place no one’s ever been before and become the first person to achieve it.

For finding out about firsts, check out the Guinness World Records website. You have to get an account to search records.

Adventure Prompt 3: Time

Many people view time as a barrier to adventuring. But maybe this time restriction could be the very spark to start your adventure. Have you heard of a Jail Break challenge? You have a set amount of time to get as far away from the “jail” as possible (typically for charity and without spending any money). What if you started from a certain location, like your home or office, and tried to get as far away as possible in the time allowed. Method of transport is yours to decide.

If you’re the kind of person who finds deadlines motivating, then you can set yourself an expedition to complete in a short time frame. Have you heard of the London to Paris in 24 hours cycle challenge? Or, taking this to the extreme, you could go for a round the world speed record on your favourite human powered transport. Certainly not for everyone…

See Mark Beaumont, Jenny Graham and Sean Conway for examples.

Adventure Prompt 4: Money

Another example of something that people use as an excuse not to go on an adventure. If you can’t change it, then try turning it into a feature! Deliberately go out with £1000 or £100 or nothing to spend on your adventure. See what you can achieve.

For examples: Ben Page cycled around the world on $3 per day. Laura Bingham cycled across South America with absolutely no money to make a point about poverty and the kindness of strangers. These are fairly extreme examples, but you really don’t need a lot of money to have an adventure.

Adventure Prompt 5: Random

There are lots of ways to randomly generate an adventure. You could throw a dart at a world map (blindfolded) or stop a spinning globe with your finger, then go there. The same trick works for stopping at a random page of a guidebook, or spinning yourself round in the travel section of your favourite book shop and seeing where your hand ends up!

You could just book a ferry ticket and see where the wind takes you. Or have your actions dictated entirely by friends, family or social media followers. See Yes Theory and Anna McNuff for examples of that. I am really tempted to try this some time, but I feel like I’d need a few more social media followers than I have now for it to work. Maybe I’m wrong!

Other types of randomness could be created by flipping coins to decide directions, rolling dice to decide modes of transport, and so on… Really the limit is your imagination.

Hope these adventure prompts have got your mind whizzing with ideas! Let me know what crazy ideas I’ve sparked in the comments!