Set Your Inner Adventure Junkie Free

Inner Adventure Junkie 1
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Set Your Inner Adventure Junkie Free:

How to Cope With Setbacks, Fear, and Anxiety

By Caitlin Evans

The word adventure has a jolly good ring to it, doesn’t it?

There you are, climbing a mountain, struggling through the fast-melting snow, the weight of your backpack pinning you down to the face of the cliff.

Or there you are again, riding the perfect wave as the sun sets over the peaks of a dormant volcano.

There you are again, walking into Santiago de Compostela, having just trekked over four weeks, exhausted but triumphant, sporting an amazing tan and an enviable collection of blisters.

Is your heart beating a bit faster? Can you feel the elements on your face? Ready to go out and conquer the world?

Uhm.

If what you’re thinking right now is “I’d rather stay home with my favorite mug and watch the Breaking Bad movie on Netflix” rather than “sounds amazing, let me go pack a bag,” I’m with you 100%.

It can be daunting, terrifying, absolutely paralyzing, this business of leaving your comfort zone, and taking on an adventure. But you know, deep down, that it’s going to be absolutely worth conquering your fears.

Let’s see what you can do for your inner adventure junkie, and set it loose on the world.

 

Rational vs. irrational

On the road to overcoming our fears of adventuring into the unknown, the first thing we’ll need to establish is the difference between rational and irrational fears.

Irrational fears are the ones that have no basis in reality. We might be afraid of swimming in the ocean, because we believe the currents will drown us, or that some sort of sea creature will attack us the second our feet leave the sand.

Our irrational fears have convinced our brains that the second we face them – we will die.

Inner Adventure Junkie 3
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These kinds of fears prevent us from doing things: swimming, climbing, traveling, flying. They may have once had their basis in reality (yes, there is a chance we might drown), but have since morphed into vast monsters we can’t cope with anymore.

On the other hand, we have rational fears – the fears that have kept us alive as a species.

Let’s return to the drowning example from above. It’s true that we might drown in the ocean if we swim in it. People do every year. And having a healthy dose of fear and respect towards nature is good for us. This kind of fear keeps us alive – we won’t go swimming when the waves are too strong. We don’t swim in treacherous waters, or go too far from the shore if we’re not excellent swimmers. We know our limits and stick to them. This is what keeps us alive.

If we had no fear, we’d be playing with lions and touching poisonous spiders left and right.

 

Fight vs. flight

Secondly, we need to understand our human mechanism of facing and fighting fear.

When placed in a dangerous situation, our brains and bodies go into fight or flight mode: we’re either going to fight whatever it is that’s attacking us, or we’re going to flee and try to get away from the danger.

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This is a deeply rooted response that has kept us evolving and safe for millennia.

What happens with irrational fear and anxiety is that our minds think we’re facing danger even when we’re perfectly safe.

For example, we might get anxious when we need to board a plane. Our anxiety can work us into such a state that we’re completely convinced we have seconds to live, even though the plane is gliding through the air quite smoothly.

Our rational fear (a fear of falling to our fiery deaths) has given way to an irrational fear (and we are now convinced that the mere act of being on an airplane is deadly dangerous). A stumbling block to our inner adventure junkie for sure!

 

Going forward vs. sliding backward

Combating our fears and anxieties is a challenge and adventure in itself. However, overcoming the setbacks that are keeping you from living the life you want is possible: you just have to work on it.

Rather than giving in to the thoughts that keep preventing you and holding you back, make an effort to:

  • Acknowledge your fears and give them names. Once you’re able to identify your fears, you can imagine your worst-case scenario.
  • Face your worst. When you know what it is you fear the most, you can work towards overcoming it. And once you realize you’re still alive after having just faced that, you can live a life free from your fear.
  • Always be prepared. Like a true scout, you should never rush into any adventure heedlessly and without any prep. The reason people have fun and stay safe on adventures is the thinking ahead that has gone into it.

Let me give you a rather basic example: if you’re going hiking in the winter, you will want to pack some thermal underwear, whereas if you’re going hiking in the summer, you’ll need to choose your hiking shorts so that they allow you to move all day, and stay comfy. The same gear will simply not work. No matter what adventure you’re taking yourself on, prepare yourself for every eventuality – this will help your fears significantly.

 

The skill of acceptance

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The one thing you need to remember about facing any setback in life or in nature, and battling any anxiety or fear, is that you are not a weaker or lesser person for doing so.

We often make ourselves feel small when we feel fear. However, bravery and magnitude can only be achieved in the face of fear. How can anyone be brave when they’re not afraid?

The key to overcoming these negative thoughts and feelings lies in accepting their existence and working towards your goal with them in tow. It may be more difficult, but that just means that the road will be more challenging – not that you can’t make it to the finish line.

Don’t dwell on your past setbacks – look forward to your future successes. We are all imperfect, and no one can have nothing but good days all the time.

 

The power to change

Always remember that you hold all the power: no matter what life throws at you, you can accept it, learn from it, and grow.

No matter what kind of adventure you seek – go chase after it. Hike that trail, climb that mountain, swim those seas. Yes, setbacks will likely come. But how you face them is all that matters. Showing great courage in the face of overwhelming odds is the stuff medals are awarded for.

Inner Adventure Junkie 2
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Face your fears, no matter how daunting they may seem right now – you will quickly see how rapidly they can diminish when you bar your teeth at them.

 

Ready to apply these tips to realize your inner adventure junkie? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Guest Author

Caitlin is a bookworm and active-life aficionado. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health, travel and adventure-related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and long walks.

31 thoughts on “Set Your Inner Adventure Junkie Free

  • November 14, 2019 at 10:28 am
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    Our goal at Adventures in Good Company is to make sure that you have the trip you want. We create experiences of a lifetime for women seeking a new adventure. We offer small group adventures that encourage women of all ages to (re)connect with their Women adventures, physical abilities, other women, different cultures, and the natural world.

    Reply
    • December 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm
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      I’ve checked out your blog, looks great. 🙂

      Reply
  • November 4, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    This is a very well written blog post and it definitely got me thinking. I love to travel but sometimes it’s terrifying to visit new places. I remember the first time I was in on a backpacking tour to Asia and took a night train, couldn’t sleep at all that night but eventually, my fear disappeared and now I like pushing my self into new adventures.

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    • December 12, 2019 at 12:22 pm
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      Thank you for your kind words about my article, I’m glad that you like it. 🙂
      Huh, same here, I always spend the whole night awake before any trip and the fear sometimes feels unbearable, but I keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2019 at 3:17 pm
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    I absolutely agree with you that it is always worth it overcoming your fears. But how? Of course, by going out of your comfort zone and acknowledging all your fears and everything will be worth it in the end. Nice article! 🙂

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  • November 2, 2019 at 3:13 am
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    This is such a thought-provoking post to set your adventure junkie free. I am into adventure big time and I too have faced the same fears at some point in time in my life. And, fear is not restricted to just travel but in everyday life too. During those times you really need to apply rationality over irrationality.

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  • November 2, 2019 at 1:50 am
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    I love to travel and I am not scared of exploring new places but even though I want to experience activities like skydiving or riding extreme rides, I worry if I cannot handle it, fear is stopping me. Hopefully next time when I travel I won’t be scared of doing these activities

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  • November 1, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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    This is a great post. We struggle with fear in many forms. Not only in the world of travel, but in daily life. Practical reasoning and logic can help someone to push the boundary to try something new. whether its the adventure one wants to go for or the any giant step in life, apply logic and prepare your mind for everything can make you win your fear over. Loved reading the post.

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  • October 31, 2019 at 7:19 am
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    Though I have not tried many adventures, I love travelling and I don’t fear to travel or explore the new territory or geography. I love to explore new places and you are correct that becoming acceptable and power to change comes within. The more you travel the more adventurous you become. Hopefully one day I will overcome more adventures.

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  • October 30, 2019 at 12:38 pm
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    I love traveling and I try to find ways to make it less harmful in so many ways. your post gives a great inside with it

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  • October 30, 2019 at 3:26 am
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    It is only when we have the courage to step out and face our fears head-on that we can say we have truly lived life to the fullest. I think this would apply not only to the outdoors adventurer but for everyone trying to rid themselves of fear. You never know you can do it if you don’t try.

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  • October 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm
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    I will admit I have numerous fears. They’re a mix of rational as well as a few irrational ones to add to the mix. It isn’t always easy to face them although taking it slowly can help.

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    • November 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm
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      I have tried few adventures and I have been both successful and kinda failure too. Like I have been successful in sky diving, but I could not scuba dive. I have a great fear of water and I think that created a problem when I tried doing the scuba diving.

      Reply
  • October 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm
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    I totally agree! There will always be challenges, how we face them is up to us. Learn to get a handle on the voices that speak to you, recognize the negative self talk and challenge it. Don’t let it run your life. Learn to conquer your fears one baby step at a time.

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  • October 29, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    I’m an adventurous person and I’ve always to conquer my fears to enjoy myself great points in this post! 🙂

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  • October 29, 2019 at 12:51 am
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    I think everyone has a little adventure inside. Stepping out the comfort zone is a good thing

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  • October 28, 2019 at 6:04 pm
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    What a great post, we all have fears and taking those first few baby steps to start to overcome it is the worst part I think

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  • October 28, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    What an inspirational post! Really got me thinking…I could apply this in every single part of my life! I could apply this on my fear of surfing or even my fear of not achieving a certain personal goal. I tend to be a perfectionist so I ask too much of myself, thanks for reminding me that we need to accept our limitations and we are not weaker for doing so! Thanks!!

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  • October 28, 2019 at 11:45 am
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    I love this. I’m not a big adventurer but I think these tips apply to so much in life

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  • October 28, 2019 at 8:34 am
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    We all have a junkie inside us. It’s about getting up from slumber and experiencing this beautiful world waiting to be explored. Adventure is the key to learning.

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  • October 28, 2019 at 6:38 am
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    I love travelling, but for me the adventures I crave are cultural and culinary, rather than physical. I love the photos people share from mountain climbing and other such adventures though! I think many people who may enjoy them are scared though, so great to work through that.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2019 at 3:48 am
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    I know that fear that you are talking about! I don’t ski because my fear is to fall and brake something. Or skiing down the slope and will not be able to stop.
    Reading your post completely help me to understand my fear, to accept it but also try overcome it!

    Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 5:52 pm
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    Overcoming your fears is difficult but SO worth it! Most often, the fear you imagine in your head is way worse than the actual experience. The exhilaration of success is what keeps you growing throughout life.

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  • October 27, 2019 at 1:54 pm
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    All of my life I have chased adventures. I have tried to manage irrational fears by lots of planning. And managing the risk actively. I did 150 skydives. But always jumped in good weather conditions, with lots of advance planning and with a backup parachute in my own gear that I knew was maintained. A risky adventure. But the risk was managed. Even after 150 jumps, when I stood in the door, I had the urge for flight. But I took a big breath and just jumped. I broke an ankle. And had to ride down an emergency parachute. But tried not to dwell on these setbacks. I learned a little and kept on. A great article on how to push yourself to enjoy more adventure. The points certainly resonated with my experience.

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  • October 26, 2019 at 7:20 pm
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    It’s so true that you can’t ignore your fears because they won’t disappear! Much wiser to accept your fears and then work with them! An inspiring read!

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  • October 26, 2019 at 6:18 pm
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    Comfort zones are a nice place to be, but sometimes it is good to step outside them. Yes, we might have fears and anxiety, but as you say, acknowledge them and prepare for them. Great post.

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  • October 26, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    MY wife loves camping… this was not always the way tho. We had to start with a few overnight camps and work our way up to a week-long hike and wilderness camp. I believe there was an assumption that it was going to be easy! But she was a great sport and we had a wonderful time in Colorado. Camping opens your mind.

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  • October 26, 2019 at 5:38 am
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    This was really good to read. I’m guilty of playing it safe and not stepping out of my comfort zone that often and it’s something I’m working on.

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  • October 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm
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    Well written! And so true. I’m really seeing the value of naming the fear. I think the hardest part is the baby steps to overcoming it. For me, it’s fear of heights, which limits my hiking. But I’ve not given up yet!

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  • October 25, 2019 at 6:36 pm
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    Irrational fears affect so many people. People who say they hate something because they may have had one experience 20 years ago or because something looks hard to do. I’ve always been a pretty big Tony Robbins fan (laugh if you will) but he referred to FEAR as false expectations appearing real and it’s very true. Many won’t try something because of what they fear to be the reality. Sometimes you need to sept out of your comfort zone to really live life. Bookmarking this one.

    Reply

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