When the first of my few major travel writing jobs vanished and our city enacted social distancing measures, I used my newfound free time to overcome my fear of surfing the local wave, just a ten-minute boat ride from my house. Then, Cyclone Harold arrived with its torrential rain and wind. My partner and I had to pull our boat out of the water. All the while, the government emphasized its stay at home orders.
I itched to go outside and explore. I imagined all the big adventures I’d have once this pandemic was over. I told my partner that as soon as Fiji became coronavirus-free, I’d run a 300-mile lap our island. He let out a laugh and said, “I don’t see you doing that.”
“What? You don’t think I can do it?” I replied, daring him to start a fight. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw his point. There are plenty of stray dogs in Fiji and I fear stray dogs even more than I fear big waves. Not to mention the crazy-ass drivers…
With no prospects of an immediate mega-adventure, I turned to the outside world. Here are the ways I’ve found it possible to explore the world and going on big, bold adventures while staying in the confines of my two-bedroom apartment.
Listen to Travel and Adventure Podcasts
Whenever I’m in need of a dose of secondhand adrenaline, I turn on the Tough Girl Challenges podcast hosted by Sarah Williams. Sarah has completed the Appalachian Trail, cycled from Vancouver to the tip of the Baja Peninsula, trekked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and completed the Marathon de Sables. She interviews all around the world who’ve gone on incredible adventures like motorcycling across the world, running the length of New Zealand, and climbing to the top of Everest (from both sides) by age 21. I also like Living Adventurously, Not So Bon Voyage, and the Adventure Sports Podcast.
Get Lost in Survival and Adventure Books
Miriam Lancewood and her husband Peter decided to give modern civilization the peace sign and escape into the wilderness of New Zealand, surviving mostly off the land. Formerly a lifelong vegetarian, Miriam learned to hunt wild possum and goat with a bow and arrow. Her book, Woman in the Wilderness, talks about their past few years living in wild terrain. I also enjoyed Ruthless River, a survival story of a couple who had to survive on a raft in the Amazon. Deep by James Nestor explores the ocean from the perspective of a freediver, and Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival is a crash course on staying alive in the wilderness.
Keep a Notebook of Dreams–Big and Small
What have you always wanted to do? I’ve set aside a notebook specifically for big adventures I’d like to have in the future. I’d like to trek through the interior of Fiji (no stray dogs!), go on a freediving expedition in Western Australia, cycle around the islands of French Polynesia, and learn how to sail. My notebook allows space for daydreaming that can easily turn into proactive planning. How much money and time will I need to ensure that these dreams could happen? If I don’t have the money or time, is there a way I can modify these dreams to make them cheaper or less time-intensive?
Take an Online Skills Training Course
While it’s obviously better to learn any hands-on skill in the flesh, it’s worthwhile to spend time soaking in as much information as you can before it’s time to use these skills. For example, many scuba diving courses offer e-learning courses, where you can complete the science and background part of your scuba diving certification before completing the rest of the course in person. While there are paid courses available on many platforms, an old-fashioned YouTube search can teach you how to identify outdoor plants, tie knots, and introduce you to the basics of backpacking. I’ve learned a lot simply by watching vlogs of travelers going on cycling or trekking expeditions, taking in the choices they make whenever they encounter a tough situation.
How are you kindling your spirit of adventure?