How to Have your First Adventure

Emily Woodhouse Big Adventures, Practical Advice

How do you make your first adventure actually happen? This post focuses on how to turn your adventure idea into a reality. It is not about how to come up with ideas for adventures or for inspiration. We’re assuming that you know what you want to do, it’s just a case of getting around to it.

If you’re still stuck for ideas check out: 5 Prompts for Adventure Inspiration

So, without further ado, here are my top ways to take that adventure dream and do it.


One of the most effective ways to make something happen is to tell another person you’re doing it. For some reason this forces us to turn the adventure into a reality. Maybe it’s to do with not wanting to seem a disappointment? I’m not sure. But it’s definitely worked for me.

If I’m not too sure about an adventure, I’ll tell a friend I’m going to do it (and either say “one day” or “this year” depending on how I’m feeling). Pick the right friend and they’ll remember that you said it. They’ll ask you how it’s going, whether you’ve booked the trip yet… etc. Trust me, you’ll start acting on it. Otherwise you’ll end up feeling like that kid making excuses week on week for why they haven’t done their homework.

Scared of telling someone? Have a read of this: On Adventure and the Fear of Judgement

Telling someone in real life works best. However, you could announce it on social media if you feel like that would force your hand. Or, you could find an online “accountability buddy”. This is someone who you have to keep updated about the progress of your adventure. It works better if you’re both trying to make your adventure happen. Agree to do catchup messages/emails on a regular basis.


Adventures can very easily slip into the realms of “one day”. That thing you’ll do when you’ve got a bit more time. Needless to say, that usually means adventures being put off indefinitely. To prevent this: set a date and spend some money.

Why? Fixing a date suddenly make the adventure feel real. You stop thinking about it as a far-off dream and start thinking about all the things that need to be done before the deadline! This date can be moved if really necessary, so just make up a date and work to it.

Spending some money ups the stakes. In the same way as telling someone adds accountability, spending some of your hard earned cash makes you even more likely to complete the journey. Examples I like to use to solidify and adventure include:

  • Book a flight
  • Buy ferry tickets
  • Book time off work (this is like money as I haven’t earned it yet…)
  • Book a piece of accommodation

Remember, you don’t have to book everything. Just ensure you do one piece. You’re far more likely to finish the job once you’ve stuck your neck out and started.

Know Yourself

If neither of the previous suggestions are helping, you’re probably stuck on a very specific step. The trick here is to recognise what it is that’s stopping you. Then either adapt your adventure to get around this, or find a way to overcome the problem.

For example, I’m writing this now because I’m doing a cheeky bit of productive-procrastination. This post is not the most important thing for me to write. I’ve got a piece of work due in for a magazine in two days that I’ve barely started. I’ve tricked myself into doing other writing to try to “get myself in the mood” of writing.

What are you putting off that would progress your adventure preparation? Then ask yourself “Why?” – keep asking why until you get to the bottom of the problem.

The first step is to be aware of all of this. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Recognise that you’re putting something off and consider why you’re doing it. In my case, it’s because I don’t know what to write and the looming deadline is making me want to run away from it.

So, instead I’m going to tell myself that I can’t write anything else until I’ve written half of my article. Or maybe not allowed to eat lunch until I’ve done that. I know that sometimes I find the a big urgent task overwhelming, so I’m going to break it down.

What is the thing blocking your adventure? Be honest with yourself and act on it. Even if this means completely changing your adventure – you might learn something about yourself.

I hope that was helpful – let me know in the comments if you liked it! And what you’d like me to talk about next.