I do not consider myself to be a very brave person. I do however see myself as an adrenal junkie. How do these things go together? Well, it is really quite simple, give me any task that makes me a little nervous and boom, my adrenaline starts pumping. I’m anxious and yet somehow super happy at the same time. Scary movies, I scream and jump at every turn, but I’m also always up to go to the next one. Basically, I like getting my heart pumping.
When you think about it, most of the things that get your adrenaline going are things you do outdoors. If you are looking for ways to spend more time outside, trying an activity that challenges your fears can be perfect.
1) You create not only new experiences, but tighter bonds with the people you try out challenging activities with. You forever have the memories of the times you worked through your fears and took on Mother Nature together. It is fitting today to be talking about being in nature and out of your comfort zone because my father has always been a big supporter of me doing both. Here my brother, dad and I are trying Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) in Hood River, Oregon one year for Father’s Day. An awesome experience we share and still talk about. Do you see that background?! Beautiful.
2) You get views of the world you otherwise would not have. I’m not talking figuratively, although I do like to think my adventure seeking does create new perspectives for me. When I went skydiving I literally saw the world in a way I never have seen it before. Floating down across the sky without an airplane between you and the world. You get to appreciate the beauty of the earth from a new angle. Rafting and other water activities is another example of getting to take in the sites from a new perspective.
3) I always find a sense of calm in all the rush. I know it is counter-intuitive, but I tend to always feel moments of peace when doing high rush activities. River rafting between rapids is all about looking around at the beauty. When I skydived my mind was incredibly calm once the parachute was pulled, while my body still pulsed with the adrenal.
4) It gives you the chance to show yourself things you never thought you could do. I’ll be honest, I’m proud of myself for spending an entire weekend not only trying kitesurfing, but actually having a knack for it. Kiteboarding seemed like an extreme sport I could not do and I amazed myself at how well I took to it and how little fear I actually felt from it. The kite would whip me into the air and then I would tug slightly on the string wrong and boom crashing down I went. I. LOVED. IT. I could not stop laughing every time it happened. The rush was amazing. It’s always pleasant when you surprise yourself with what you can actually do.
Practicing kitesurfing on the ground before hitting the water
5) It is not about what other people find scary, it is about you. I’ve talked about skydiving and kitesurfing and perhaps things that seem too much for some of you. But I’ll let you in on a little secret, bike riding kind of freaks me out. Last month I joined friends in Baltimore for the monthly Bike Party. It’s a wonderful community event where hundreds of cyclist gather and ride through the streets. I was super nervous and made a friend promise not to ditch me in the crowds. I was so worried everyone would see my klutzy biking style and laugh. Was I a little klutzy? Yes. But did I also have the best time ever? Hell yes! To some this would not count as an outdoor activity that put them out of their comfort zone, but for me, it was. Have a friend with a motorcycle? Have them take you on a ride through the country at sunset, it’s beautiful and if you are nervous, it will take your breath away in the best way possible.
It’s okay to be honest about what makes us anxious, notice this isn’t titled with the word ‘extreme’, that’s because I wanted to focus on the personal challenge. Just push yourself a little, I bet you’ll like it and feel good about yourself afterwards.
What’s the next big thing for me? A lesson in Trapeze jumping has caught my eye. Just another excuse to get out there and push the limits. What things in your local area have gotten you out of your comfort zone? Anything you are itching to try?