How to Find Time to Adventure

Emily Woodhouse Big Adventures, Living Adventurously, Practical Advice

One of the big reasons people give for not having an adventure is that they don’t have time. In this blog post, we’re going to explore ways that you can find time to have adventures. We’ll do this by reassessing your beliefs about the two crucial parts: time and adventure.

What do you mean?

Okay, so you think that you don’t have enough time to have an adventure. First, ask yourself the question: “What am I thinking of when I say that?”

For example, when you’re thinking of adventure, are you thinking of cycling around the world – or going camping for the weekend? When you’re thinking of the time you’d need to find, is it weeks or months or hours?

Once you define that it’ll be so much easier to reach. Honestly. If you’ve got a specific idea, write it down. Stick it on your wall, your diary, your fridge… make it your computer background. If you keep it present, your subconscious will start trying to find a solution. Every time you look at it, it’ll be thinking “How? How?”.

But I don’t have a specific idea

Okay, that’s fine too. What do you know about your adventure? Do you have any idea about what you might like to do, or how long you might like it to take? Even if it’s only vague like “long”, “short” or “kayak”.

If you’re really stuck, but have that crave for adventure, just write down something. Don’t focus on it being the perfect adventure, or the adventure of a lifetime. Just pick something. It can always change later if it you like.

So now you’ve got a vague something written down, that includes a rough timescale and a rough sort of adventure? Good. Let’s talk about how to find the time to do it in.


Okay scientists, you can stop laughing now. Most people have heard of microadventures – a term coined by Alastair Humphreys for short adventures. They might be one day, one afternoon, overnight… possibly a weekend at a stretch. So, taking the factor down from micro (10^-6) to pico (10^-12) we’re talking about REALLY small adventures. Adventures that are so small they might not even really count as an adventure.

This is the best way to get started in finding time to adventure. Use your lunch break, your commute, an hour in the evening or before everyone else wakes up. Choose something from your normal routine and twist it. Cycle to the office (or walk, or run or skate). Go shopping via a place you’ve never been before.

For an example, see: I Got Off the Bus and Ran (5 Miles) Home

Once you get into this mindset of breaking out of your own mould, even just a little, you’ll find it easier to progress. Make adventure a habit.

Finding time in my routine

Right, now you’ve proved that you can grab a couple of hours here and there to be adventurous. Next task is to find a way to clump all of these hours together. For some people this will mean the weekend. Others, it will mean doing something overnight – or rearranging their tasks so they can take an afternoon off from normal.

There is a thought prevailing on the internet that you have to quit your job to have adventures. This is completely not true. Although it does sound glamorous, trust me it feels a lot less glamorous when you come home again. If you care about your big adventure enough, I still believe you should be prepared to quit your job as a last resort. But for most people this simply isn’t necessary.

You might like: We Need Local Adventures

So, now you’re in an adventurous mood, think about ways to find the time. Could you take holiday from work? Or you bring your family with you? Could you work overtime for a week to free up time later? Or could you stop watching Netflix, use that time to complete tasks you’d usually do on the weekend, and then have a weekend free?

Be creative. Post in the comments if you get stuck.

Finding time outside of my routine

Sometimes, adventures are too big to fit into our “normal” lives. If you’ve tried the examples in the previous section and can’t find a fit, there are a few more things you can try. That was all about fitting your adventure into your routine. You can always try to fit your routine into adventure.

Now, this is not for everyone. It is all to do with priorities. If you care more about adventures than having a traditional career, for example, then you could break out of that path and craft your income around it.

You could do this by asking nicely for more holiday (or more likely unpaid leave). Or you could negotiate different hours, or maybe change jobs altogether to become more flexible.

For examples of crafting career around adventure, see: How to Become an Adventurer like Indiana Jones

For more entrepreneurial ideas, see3 Business Models for Adventurers

The Last Resort

If you’ve got something enormous that you really want to do – like cycling around the world, or walking the length of a continent – then you might have to break up with your current routine. By that I mean a complete split from “normal”. For some people this is quitting their jobs. For others it is taking a sabbatical or dropping out of university.

Basically, you are taking drastic action and a complete pivot of direction of your life. Some people will be horrified. They will tell you that you’re throwing away what you’ve achieved so far (or that you’re crazy, selfish etc). Be ready for a push back against your decisions.

But also be ready to have an incredible time. There is nothing quite so liberating as cutting ties and running away on an adventure. Make as best plans for afterwards as you can beforehand. Very few things are completely irreversible, you can always go back to something like your old normality if you want to. Then commit.

Happy adventuring!