About the time the new year arrives, the novelty of winter has worn off, you’re strapped for cash after the holidays, and you’re starting to dream of spring’s promised sunshine. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you might even start to get a little cabin fever.
It’s tempting to wish away the long winter days, but there’s a way to head into the new year without moping around. How about planning a few adventures — big and small — to help you unwind, relax, and explore in new ways?
If you’re feeling stuck, try these 7 ways to level up your adventures in the New Year.
1. Plan a Few Small Adventures
Yes, we love big adventures. But big adventures are tougher to squeeze in if you don’t have a lot of time or a big budget. Plus, making your day-to-day and week-to-week life more enjoyable can raise your baseline happiness regardless of whether or not you can afford a big trip.
Schedule little adventures into your months, weeks, and days. Take an early morning walk or watch the sunrise. Head to a nearby state park for a quick camping getaway. Plan a weekend exploring a new place only a couple hours from home. You don’t need to hop on a plane — or spend a week in the backcountry — to have an adventure worth remembering.
2. Change Your Commute
Depending on where you live, you can make a healthy shift in your day-to-day life by biking or walking to work. Obviously, this won’t be possible for everyone — but if it’s an option for you, give it a try. It’s a beneficial change for both you and the planet. If you want to make it social, ask friends or coworkers to join you.
If you work from home — which a lot of us do these days — try adding a “commute” to your day. Before sitting down at your desk, take a walk around the neighborhood. Do the same thing after you log off at the end of the day. You’ll create stronger boundaries between work and home, and bring more fresh air into your day.
3. Try Something New
What better time than the beginning of a new year to try a new outdoor activity? Whether you’ve been interested in trying a particular sport or you want to step out of your comfort zone, there’s something for everyone.
Wondering what to try? Obviously, available activities depend on your location and budget, but here are a few to think about:
- Trail running
- Cross-country skiing
- Rock climbing
Some activities might not require any extra gear or know-how. Others will, and we suggest signing up for a class or going with a guide. There’s always risk involved with outdoor activities, and it’s worth learning some skills from a pro. Plus, you’ll get to know other people who are learning right there with you.
4. Adventure without Leaving Home
These days, we’re lucky we can explore the world without leaving home. And yes, we’re all outdoor enthusiasts here. But when you can’t get out due to time, weather, or *cough* a global pandemic, these alternative ways of exploring are nearly as exciting.
To get a taste of adventure without leaving your home, you can watch videos and documentaries, read books, or listen to adventure podcasts. Doing so can provide inspiration for future trips or give you a much-needed escape from a stressful week at work.
You can also keep a journal of adventure ideas to reference next time you’re looking for travel inspiration — or write about past trips you don’t want to forget. Planning a big adventure is another fun way to explore without leaving home — and doing so can significantly boost your happiness.
Finally, lean into your artistic side to relive some of your favorite adventures. Print photos, paint landscapes, or put together a collage as a physical reminder of some of your best outdoor memories.
5. Recommit to Your Best Way of Living
We deal with all kinds of distractions in our everyday lives — from constant ads for new self-care products to the latest reality show on Netflix. For us outdoor enthusiasts, the newest outdoor gear might be the thing that steals our attention. And with social media more accessible than ever, all of these distractions are at an all-time high.
This year, recommit to the way you want to live. Do you want to spend more time outside? Cut back on Netflix. Do you want to have a better impact on the planet? Commit to buying less. Do you want to spend less on stuff and more on experiences? Decide to buy used outdoor gear instead of new.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Netflix, new gear, or social media — but don’t let them mindlessly distract you from what’s most important to you. With a little intention (and minimal effort), you can make sure you’re spending your time in accordance with your values.
6. Add Some Magic to Your Everyday Adventures
Make your everyday outdoor experiences even more special this year — ‘cause why not? It doesn’t take much to bring a little magic to the trail. Some ideas include:
- Creating a dedicated “adventure playlist” for drives to the trailhead or at-home workouts.
- Baking your favorite treats for an extra-special trail snack.
- Asking a friend to join you once a week on your daily walk around the neighborhood.
- Mixing up some hot cocoa to bring on your next cross-country ski outing.
- Scheduling a lesson to improve your skills at an outdoor activity you enjoy.
You don’t have to take drastic action to bring a little magic to your daily adventures. Just bring some extra thought to how you can make these experiences even more enjoyable.
Let the adventures begin!
Are you ready to make next year’s adventures some of your all-time best? Comment below to share how you’ll make the most of the year.