An Easy Strategy to Fund an Adventure

Emily Woodhouse Big Adventures, Practical Advice

How to fund an adventure has taken on a mystical quality. Particularly big adventures that require more money, time, logistics and equipment. We’ve talked about sponsorship and getting equipment provided for “free”. But actually, the simplest way to fund an adventure is to save for it.

What do I spend money on?

The other day, I was getting some data together for a tax return (yay!). This involved looking at all the transactions from my bank accounts and allocating where the income came from. It’s something I’ve been putting off for ages because it feels like such an enormous task. But once I got stuck in, it was actually really interesting.

What does this have to do with adventure? Let me explain.

Once I’d put my income into categories, I thought, “Well I may as well do it for the expenses too.”

So I started fitting everything into categories. I didn’t want to be too specific, so I used:

  • Travel – trains, buses, flights
  • Adventures – catch all for accommodation and anything else on a 1-off trip
  • Social – going out for meals, buying drinks etc
  • Things – anything that’s a object
  • Food

Then there were a few separate things like rent and phone bills that I wanted to keep track of specifically.

Finding Spare Income

Now, I don’t think I buy much, but I was horrified to discover how much money I spent a year on Things. I consoled myself that some of this was birthday presents, but still – what on earth was I doing? If you’d asked me, I would have said that I don’t want to buy Things because I’m trying to reduce the amount of stuff I own. Books are my weak point, so I deliberately don’t let myself go into book shops at the moment!

If I wanted to have more money to spend on adventures (don’t we all) surely the easiest thing for me to do is cut down the spending on all those Things. More space and more spare cash – win win!

The point is, unless I’d made that spreadsheet I would¬†never have known.

Don’t think you spend much on Things? Reckon you know where you spend most of your money? I challenge you to go export the transactions for last year from your current account. Do the exercise I described with categories… you’ll be surprised.

But why not chase external funding?

Don’t get me wrong – you absolutely could chase external funding. I have and I will continue to, because sometimes I just don’t have the income to match my adventure dreams. Look at all the people who’ve raised tens of thousands to climb Everest, go on Polar expeditions or row oceans. It is possible to adventure well outside your pay cheque.

There are many ways to do this. You can look for grants or approach corporate sponsors. You can try to reduce the costs by finding kit sponsorship. But – and it is a big but – none of this comes for free.

There is a reason why charities employ full-time fundraisers. It takes up a lot of time to find, pitch, chase and network your way into sponsorship deals. A good grant application often takes a long time to write (and check your adventure is applicable). Then there’s the time spent of producing content to fulfil you sponsorship agreement.

Most of us already work for someone else. We already perform tasks in exchange for money. Why put all that time into finding a sponsor so that you can work for them during your adventure? There are reasons, I know. But in many cases, it’s probably much easier to just save up from you current job, instead of looking for another.

Start an Adventure Fund

Here’s an easy way to fund your adventure: set aside a small portion of your income every month for your adventure. If you’re feeling brave, set it as an automated transaction from your main account into a separate bank account. For best results, schedule it on pay day – that way you never touch that money. It goes straight into your adventure pot.

The flip side of this is to make sure you calculate how much your adventure will cost. Or, if you don’t have something specific in mind, set an adventure budget – like “I will give myself ¬£100 to do this with”.

You’ll be off on your adventure before you know it.

Does this strategy sound helpful? Tell me what you’re saving up for in the comments.