Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

It’s no secret that I am an adventurous person. I think to a degree that adventure breeds more adventure, it grows our curiosity and helps us realize the joys of life. There are many reasons that we put in place in our own lives that keep us from living the adventures that we have always wanted, but I think that Mark Twain’s quote sums up the situation beautifully.

I lived in Tyler TX in one of my many moves throughout my career. I didn’t invest myself personally in the area during my time there because I thought that my family and I would be there longer. Nine months later, I was moving to Alabama to take on a new challenge in my job and I found myself regretting not fully exploring all that East Texas had to offer. Each move since then, my family has worked to actively engrain ourselves in what the community and area offer and explore the off the beaten paths along the way. We’ve had no regrets after a move since.

It’s very important to take those adventures both large and small. Here are some ways that taking a vacation and adventure will benefit you over the long term.
1. There are health benefits
A study of middle-aged people who had 40 minute walks three times a week grew their Hippocampus (The memory part of the brain) by 2% over a year. If 2% doesn’t seem like a lot, it may be enough to fight against memory loss and dementia. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that going on vacation and doing outdoor activities may help extend your life. They found these times actually reduced the risk of untimely death and heart disease in at-risk middle-aged men. Some doctors are even handing out “Park Prescriptions” to people to better their health.
2. It helps you cope better with change and be more resilient
When you put yourself in a situation that’s unfamiliar, unknown or out of your comfort zone, it helps you cope better with the inevitable changes that will happen when you are back home. Taking an adventure also helps build your resiliency. Two groups of teenagers went on a sailing expedition where they had to learn the art of sailing and how to adapt to the changing environment around them. Months later, they were tested against a control group and were found to be much more resilient at overcoming many different types of obstacles.
3. Adventures help your self-awareness
The vacation or adventure itself is a time where you can reflect inward and enjoy those moments to yourself. It’s also the gift that keeps on giving in this area. Its hard to remember what you had for lunch last week, but a good vacation and adventure will linger with you for years to come. It will offer you a chance to reminisce, reflect even more and learn more about yourself and the experience long after the actual event is over.
4. It builds your confidence
Knowing that you are heading into the unknown can be scary, but we you go and conquer that moment, It greatly increases your confidence in many areas of your life. This is the road that I traveled to get marathon running. I never in my life thought I would do a half marathon much less a full 26.2 miles. I found that my confidence built as I did shorter distances and gradually increased my mileage over time. The confidence and experience can be downright addicting too. Once you do your first trail or mountain hike, you’ll likely want to go do one somewhere else.

Each experience where you allow yourself to venture into the unknown or off of your itinerary will present you with a chance to increase that self-confidence.

So go out and try that adventure that you’ve always wanted to do. You may just find yourself changing in the process.
Make an exciting tomorrow.