The fisherman bounced the skiff through the waves. The outboard motor spat and spluttered as salt water sprayed my face. I looked over at the shoreline and there wasn’t a soul in sight. Just miles of picturesque beach under a perfect Caribbean sky. We were off the beaten path headed to Floyd’s Pelican Bar. A place that has to be seen to be believed. Built 1.5 km offshore on a sandbar off the south coast of Jamaica, the rustic driftwood shack is one of the most unique places to eat and drink in the world. And getting there is half the adventure . . .
An hour earlier, my wife and I had nearly killed each other finding this place. We’d driven across the Island and learned that Jamaican roads only have one rule—there are no rules. We’d navigated through sketchy mountain passes in monsoon rains. Found ourselves off track in shanty towns where locals tended to their goats. We’d driven roads (in the loosest sense of the word) with holes the size of small houses. We’d been lost more times than we could count and almost gave up on finding Floyd’s. But we decided to stay the course to see the ‘real Jamaica’.
We finally found a local fisherman and after some haggling were on our way. As the skiff hugged the coastline and turned into Parottee Bay, it dawned on me—this experience was a real adventure. And for a moment, the excitement I was feeling gave way to reflection. How long had it been since my last adventure? Had I spent my adult years stuck in the 9-5 routine? Had I left my sense of adventure behind in the trees I’d climbed as a kid? My questions would have to wait—Floyd’s came into view on the horizon.
I’d never seen anything like Floyd’s. The shallow water on the sand bar was crystal clear and fish darted in and out underneath the shack. Inside the bar, local fishermen played dominoes whilst fresh lobster cooked on a grill powered by a car battery. The shack was packed full of flags, licence plates, and random mementoes from all over the world—a reminder of the adventurers that had come before us. We drank ice cold Red Stripes and took it all in before a swim in the warm Caribbean waters.
Floyd’s was an experience that made me think about how important adventure is in our lives. Looking back on it, I could fully appreciate the value of the experience. So, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned. I hope they inspire you to go out of your way to build adventure into your life. Because, at the end of the day, the only thing we really own are our memories.
Don’t Lose Your Sense of Adventure
The most important lesson I learned from my Jamaican adventure was this: we must fight to hold on to that childlike spirit of adventure and exploration. If we don’t, it quickly fades into memories and dust.
I’ve been watching an amazing documentary called the Up Series. The show has followed the lives of 14 British children since 1964. Every seven years, they check in with the children (who are now in their early 60s) and produce an episode.
The children start out happy, playful, and with wild imaginations. But as they age, they start to lose their playfulness. Their sense of adventure fades as they’re moulded to fit society’s stereotypes. It’s a sad reality that affects many of us. But I don’t think it has to be that way.
We don’t have to lose our sense of adventure as we age. We can maintain it by continually pushing ourselves to try new things, meet new people, and get out of our comfort zones. It’s not easy to carve out time for adventures as we age, but the people who do go on to conquer their personal Everest.
Adventures Must Challenge You
We were told that leaving the resorts in Jamaica on our own was dangerous. And driving was definitely advised against. Things did get pretty crazy at times. But it wouldn’t have been an adventure without the challenge.
This doesn’t mean you need to go skydiving, give a public address, or lose yourself tripping out on LSD in the desert. Adventures don’t have to occur on the side of the mountain. They’re about cultivating an attitude that seeks out challenges to create growth.
I like to think of adventure as a neutral word. Adventures don’t always turn out well. There’s often risk and reward, challenges, obstacles, and unpredictability. And the greater the risk, the greater the potential for growth.
So, start small and progressively push yourself to take on more challenging adventures. They’ll build strength and resilience that translate to other areas of your life.
In Hindsight We See the True Value
We often don’t appreciate how important our adventures are until we look back on them. When I went to Jamaica, I remember thinking it was a shitty holiday. Every time we drove it was a white-knuckle, near death experience. Getting outside of the resorts on our own was sketchy and everyone was trying to rip us off. We were outside of our comfort zone and putting out fires as best we could. There was no time to appreciate the value of the experience.
I think we all face this with our adventures. If you’ve moved across the world or across your city, the experience can be filled with both excitement and stress. Starting a new job is tough. But within 6-12 months, you’re shocked by how much you’ve learned and settled in. It’s easy to overlook the value of these types of adventures when you’re in the midst of one.
So, next time you’re going through a tough adventure, try to pause for a moment. Realise that in six month’s time, you’ll probably look back at this shitstorm with a fondness you can’t quite grasp yet.
Adventures Help Us Grow
All the benefits of adventure can be summed up in one word: growth. The experiences we have in life—the good and the bad—shape us. But I believe the bulk of our growth stems from our most challenging experiences. It’s the times you take that metaphorical kick to the balls and you’re lying on the floor wondering if you’ll ever walk. It’s how you react when you’re three points down with 10 seconds left on the clock. These are the times our mettle is tested.
Adventures create the challenging situations that lead to growth. They are the antidote to the comfort zone. They force you to explore. Hunt for your treasure. Get lost. And stop sleepwalking through life stuck in a loop. There’s freakishly amazing shit out there—so start creating your own adventures.
The Adventure Challenge
Here’s a challenge for you to put this into action. Over the next two weeks commit to one adventure. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy. Start with something small, but make sure it gets you out of your comfort zone. Here are some ideas:
- Sign up for a fitness class or activity you’ve never tried before.
- Do the things you loved as a kid: climb a tree, explore a new neighbourhood, find a rope swing, or build a tree house.
- Climb a mountain and watch the sunset.
- Go hiking at night and take in the sounds of wildlife.
- Try new or exotic foods that push your taste buds outside of their comfort zone.
Don’t just consume information. If you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you find this post useful. You’ve now got two choices: 1) close the screen and think ‘that’s nice’ and move on with your day. Or 2) do the adventure challenge. Get creative and start small. And as Nike says, just do it! Decision creates action. Action creates results.
I Need Your Help
I’ve also got a huge favour to ask of you. No, I don’t want your money. But will happily accept it! I’m trying to get this blog off the ground and I can’t do it without your help. Simply sharing this post on social media (you’re so close to the share buttons—look down below) or emailing it to a friend makes a HUGE difference in my life. In return, I promise we can be best mates and you can reach out anytime. Seriously. If you need help with any health, fitness, or Jedi Knight goals you can contact me here.
You can also share some love by adding a comment below. Let me know what adventure you’re going to try.
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