Everyone knows that traveling and being outdoors is wonderful, but is that really all there is to having an adventurous life?
The short answer is no. For so many reasons, constantly traveling and signing up for new and grand experiences just isn’t feasible. Full time travel isn’t for everyone. Hell, even part time travel isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, experiences can be costly. Not all people are down to go whitewater rafting and ziplining every weekend, whether that be due to monetary, time, or motivational constraints. And you know what? That’s okay.
Living adventurously means more than chasing adrenaline highs. It means more than constantly waking up next to strangers on airplanes. It’s more than summits and valleys and Instagram photos. Adventurous living requires a particular mindset, one that recognizes opportunities for challenge and growth and excitement. Those opportunities will differ from person to person, as everyone’s prior experiences and comfort zones differ so widely. The one thing we all have in common? If you want to live an adventurous life, you should be an avid reader.
I know, I know, you were all with me until I got to the part about reading. What about skydiving? And teaching overseas? And seeing World Wonders and fine dining and scuba diving? Well, by all means, do those things! Please, do them! But during those down times when you’re not chasing waterfalls or working (so you actually have money to go chasing waterfalls), please pick up a book.
1. Reading itself is an adventure. When you allow yourself to be taken in by a book, you are effectively transported to another world. In this other world, anything could be possible — things that could never be truly achieved during real, physical travel. Your no-so-secret obsession with dragons or mermaids or magic doesn’t have to be entirely ignored due to its lacking presence in reality. Rather, it should be embraced in fiction, where you can experience it as vividly as your own imagination will let you. And don’t take this lightly — a good book can make someone’s heart race and ache and someone’s stomach flutter and drop just as effectively as real life experiences.
Reading will stimulate your imagination and further ignite your adventurous spirit. If your nose is in a book, it doesn’t matter that you’re sitting still; you’re still going on a grand journey in the most infinite expanse possible — your mind.
2. Reading will save you money. Compared to other modes of entertainment that don’t hold nearly as many possibilities as a book does, reading will help you keep your money in the bank. It’s significantly cheaper than physical travel and experiences, and can even be free if you do it right.
Even if you are able to travel full time and are loving that ongoing experience, you simply can’t be “on” every day. There are going to be some off days, some down days, sick days, relaxation days, and so on. These are the days to really embrace reading to save some dough. Instead of paying to relax at a movie theatre, or buying a new game to play at home, ditch the pricey screens and start turning some pages.
New books from high end bookstores can be expensive at times, but luckily that are many other options for getting your story fix. Used bookstores offer cheaper prices, as do online distributors, and local libraries provide many titles free of charge. Now, before you write off the library, you should be aware that many public libraries are interconnected. This means that if the one in your immediate area doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, staff can request it from another library and have it delivered at no cost to you. If you really want to save some money between bungee jumping endeavors, check out your local library! (Pssst, they even have movies and video games if that’s really the way you want to go). You can’t beat free!
3. Reading will prepare you for your actual, physical travels. So maybe you’re not impressed with the ginormous adventure you could have inside a story. That’s fine; some people just aren’t into it. Whether you are or aren’t, don’t forget that reading doesn’t have to be done for its own sake. There are several ways that reading can help prepare you for your adventures in real life too.
Most basically (and sticking with fiction), reading can provide inspiration for things you’d like to experience personally. It can make you aware of places and things you may never have thought much about, and depending on the way those places and things are presented, reading a book may end up giving you a couple extra things on your bucket list!
Additionally, reading can expand your travel horizons by helping you acquire another language. Many people fear foreign travel and experiences because they’re only fluent in their native tongue. Ditching this limitation and committing yourself to reading in another language can drastically increase the number of amazing places you’d be comfortable traveling to. There are plenty of language learning materials available for reading (even at the library!), but don’t forget that reading in another language can also be accomplished through fiction, webpages, newspapers, etc.! Even a small bit of exposure each day can make a big difference.
Finally, reading can prepare you for your upcoming travels. If you want to make the most out of your trips, you should be reading up on the locations you plan on visiting. This can be in the form of travel guides, local history, and the like. There is, of course, the expectation that you don’t experience a place completely by the book; you should put yourself out there, talk to people, eat the food, immerse yourself. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an idea of where you’re going beforehand! Reading up on your destination first will give you a foundation to understand and explore more fully so you don’t have to start from scratch upon your arrival. This will ultimately make your trip much more fulfilling.
So, what have YOU read today?
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