I'm just a normal(ish) woman who loves to go away once in a while. I have a kind of restlessness, a boredom that pushes me to travel and seek adventure.
Recently my choice was South East Asia and I decided to go alone. On my bicycle. One I had not yet bought. Despite the nay-sayers trying to put me off, I went regardless. Predictably, I absolutely loved it. Here are my tips to have your own mini adventure...
1. Just do it! Pick somewhere. Anywhere. In fact, the place is not really important. I can have an adventure 10 minutes down the road, but that's a story for another time. For me it helps if the place is hot though.
2. Book the time off. That might sound obvious, but it is easy for the months to while away with a lack of action. Book the time off and it will force you to buy a flight, an experience or at least make inroads into your forthcoming adventure. As a freelancer I blocked out eight weeks and made the effort to say no to any work coming in for that period. That way I would either force myself to go away or be sat on my ass for two months.
Credit: Anhhao Pham
3. Push yourself. I like doing things that scare me. I find it always feels good afterwards, and (mostly) even during.
4. Try going alone one time. Don't always go alone, but please go away alone once in your lifetime. I found it brilliant. There is no-one to blame, no-one to complain to and no-one to gain sympathy from by crying. It makes you become self-sufficient and a little bit selfish too, but in a good way.
5. Grow some balls. Never force yourself to do something you do not want to do, but sometimes it is fear stopping you rather than the fact you will not enjoy something. Just try it.
6. Enjoy the ride. Don't plan all the fun out of it. All I had was a one-way flight to Luang Probang and a cycling route guide from 2001. Go with the flow. Do not put pressure on yourself to reach certain destinations. Stop. Absorb the experience. Take photos. Go for a paddle. Chances are you will not be back to these places anytime soon, so enjoy passing through.
7. Listen to your heart. Although your family and friends might have your best interests in mind, do not necessarily let their concerns or advice dissuade you. Listen to them by all means and take on some of their suggestions but do let them stop you. When they know you are determined those with the best intentions will support you.
8. Please do not be righteous. You are not going to change the world. You are just fortunate enough to be in a position where you can go away and see a little of the world for a while. Enjoy it for the privilege it is.
9. Get a maintenance-free haircut, buy a GPS tracker, probably buy pepper spray too, only take 10 items of clothing, learn a little of the language, buy a picture dictionary, definitely buy padded pants (if cycling).
10. And... smile! It is the international currency of kindness, it is free and goes a long way with the locals, wherever you end up.