An adventure to nowhere can be complex, exciting, and leave oneself wanting for more. Many years ago our adventures involved a car, the open road, and looking at the people and places we wound up with the pluck of a senile investigative reporter. Now, in our mid-thirties with families, our adventures have taken the form of boots, decent gear, and most importantly, a healthy mind and body to propel past nearly every obstacle.
Throughout the years we have developed mental and physical attributes to help guide us with every challenge (check out How do I Prepare My Body and Mind for Adventure for more on this). Use the following accordingly and the rest will fall into place.
What’s the goal?
Develop simple goals. In the case of the original adventure to nowhere our goal was to make it to the Pacific Coast preferably without dying. Now each goal is simple. Filming the sunset and sunrise from Jay Peak, making it to a cliffline or water source off trail. Even following a stream as far uphill as possible. A simple, achievable and measurable goal is key in your adventure to nowhere. And if you don’t quite make it where you planned, maybe you’re exactly where you were supposed to be!
What do I need to accomplish my goal?
Keep it simple. The truth is, you don’t need much (think stick and bindle). Remember, you’re tough (and if you're not you can be with the right physical and mental training). Your ancestors were born in caves and fought saber tooth tigers with rocks. The only difference between you and them is an iPhone and a Pandora subscription. Keeping an open and curious mind will help fuel your adventure to the end. For a list of recommended items to bring on your adventure, check out the article What do I Need to Take With Me on an Adventure, which details recommended adventure-specific items.
What do I NOT need?
This is pretty simple. For a true adventure to nowhere you shouldn't need organized living arrangements (campsites, hotels, hostels, etc). You have what you brought and that’s your shelter, whether it’s an overland vehicle, a tarp, or a hatchet to help you build your bivvy. You are relying on yourself to stay warm and dry. For more info on this check out the piece How to Reduce Anxiety through Self Reliance and Minimalism.
When do I find time to take this adventure to nowhere?
Put a date on the calendar and stick to it. At a minimum we recommend at least two days and one night. This is the date when you will have all of your equipment, be in good physical condition, and have prepared the people who you support and support you (work, family, kids) that you will not be immediately accessible. Adventures don’t need to be long (although the longer adventures the more we learn) or require you to travel great distances, they simply need to be in an area that allows you to disconnect from the demands of modern living (for more on this see the narrative essay Escaping the Noise).
Have a safety plan in place!!
Nature, adventure, and expeditions humble even the toughest and roughest of us. Have a communication plan, a navigation plan that includes non-electronics, and make sure your support team knows your approximate location and return time. There are a wide variety of safety tools you can utilize, make sure you’re choosing tools that you are familiar, trained and competent with. We strongly recommend reading How to Develop a Safety Plan for more on this.
What do I do when the day comes?
We highly recommend checking your gear at least once the day before you head out. Make sure that cheap rucksack will hold all your stuff (yes, there’s another piece on this called Is Cheap Gear Worth It) and you know how to string up your hammock or pitch your tent. These moments just before you leave will be the most anxiety inducing as your brain constantly gives you reasons why to not hit the road. Here’s the big pill to swallow: By Giving Up Control you are Taking Control.
Now you should be feeling a good deal of Resferber, a Swedish word for the mixture of anxiety and anticipation just before a traveler sets out on an expedition. Yes, you are doing this. Yes, it's going to be awesome. Yes, it's scary, and that's ok.
As a last word of advice, you got this. Things will get messy along the way but it’s nothing you can’t overcome. Remember, we have you back! If you're feeling overwhelmed just send us a message and we'll try to guide you through whatever obstacle is in your way. Be smart, be kind, and get lost in your adventure to nowhere.