Are you interested in taking a challenge? Maybe even a 21 Day Adventure Challenge to add some fun into life? I dare you to take this on!
A few weeks ago I woke up inspired to create a “21 Day Adventure Challenge” that would start on November 1st, and end today – Wednesday, November 21st. Which also happens to be my birthday! I could think of no better way to celebrate than to gift people with ideas of how to add fun into their lives. When I thought of the idea, I did not plan it out. First, I offered it up to people through Facebook groups. I did write down a bunch of ideas, to make sure I could come up with 21! (I actually came up with a bunch more, so I had the ability to choose.) Each morning I would wake up, use my intuition and create the day’s activity. I wanted them to be free or inexpensive – no travel to exotic locations necessary.
My hopes are that people will try these, or use them as springboards to creating their own fun adventures. It’s also my hope that by having adventures daily, people will see that adventures can happen every day!
A graphic summary
The details of each daily adventure
Day 1 Adventure: Take A Different Route.
Notice things along the way. Make it a game, if you want. What do you see? How does it feel to you? What do you discover that you may not have noticed before?
Try this – if you’re commuting to or from work, take a different route. Even if it’s a few minutes longer. If you’re in a car, drive slowly and notice the new areas you’re going through.
Or add a new method of transportation. So, if you usually take the subway, try taking the bus or walking (even part way – so get off a stop early or walk to a further stop).
When I took a different route from my office to Grand Central, I walked down a different avenue than my “usual”. Going with the flow of the lights (crossing where ever the sign said ok, vs waiting to keep walking straight). I took my time and looked around, noticing pretty architecture. I discovered a cute restaurant that I wanted to go back and try! I didn’t expect this, and that’s the wonder of adventure. You never know what fun (or lesson) might come up.
DAY 2: Make shopping more fun!
Take a small pad of paper and write some motivational or inspirational quotes on them. From “have a nice day” to your favorite poem you like to share, to whatever inspires you. Take these notes and fold them. Go to a store (for example, Walmart/Target/Dillards/Kohls etc) and place the notes for others to find randomly. Tuck one in between towels, or sheets. Or in a pocket. You get the idea? Be subtle. Don’t stay to see if anyone finds it – the idea is to surprise someone with a fun note, and maybe make their day brighter!
I first heard this idea from a friend’s friend describing what she did for her last birthday party. She had friends over, they wrote the notes while having some wine and cake. Then they went to a store to play this version of “hide and seek”
Today I tried this adventure! I kept getting “shy” about trying it, yet it feels kinda “rebellious” (what if I get caught? it’s almost like that childhood shoplifting fear, but instead we are adding something to the store?) I have done a slightly different version of leaving coupons I don’t use on the product shelf, hoping someone else sees it before the store people do. As I wandered through the store, I saw a lot of grumpy faces. I wondered if they would find the note, and smile…
DAY 3: Be a tourist in your town. See it as if you are a visitor from somewhere else.
This is one of my favorites. When I first started taking myself out on adventures in the city where I worked, it was easy to play tourist. NYC is like that! I had lived outside the city for many years, but only knew it mostly by the neighborhoods where I had jobs. So I let my curiosity about different things lead the way.
About a year and a half ago, I started renting out a room to people via Airbnb. We had stayed in one in Canada that impressed me because they had suggestions for places to go nearby. I wanted to do that for my guests, and that’s how this idea to explore my town as a tourist came up. Amazed, I discovered so many new things!
Feel like your town doesn’t have any attractions? Here are some suggestions to consider. What made you choose to live where you do? What do you like best about your town? Is there local history? Could you make up your own stories or destinations? (pretend the local diner was where a famous actor/musician was discovered!) For example, city folk find farm life exciting and different. If you live on a farm, or near any industry, imagine presenting them as a fun, fact-filled tourist site.
Don’t forget your camera!
DAY 4: Be a swinger!
Go to a local playground, find the swing set, and sit your butt down and play! Let your inner child out and have fun!
Does this idea seem silly to you? Ask yourself why. The adventure attitude is about looking at life much like a child looks at it. Physical movement is another way to shift your thoughts, shift your mood. Are you concerned about how you may look to others? (How you shift that mindset is up to you, but for now – go when there’s no one at the playground…so on school days Sunday works). Did you have trauma during recess as a kid? This is a gentle way to let that go. Whatever your resistance, try it any way! (If you choose another piece of equipment on the playground, that’s fine! Whoop it up!)
Do you have kids you can go with? (if they are old enough to not need constant tending, so you can swing too). I bet your kids will laugh, and that will be infectious!
Pro tip: trying to swing and take a selfie is kind of hard. It tends to make the swings go swervy!
DAY 5: Face Monday with a Smile!
Dare to smile at people you see everywhere. Smile, even briefly, to make a connection. Who knows what will happen? Mondays can be seen as the start of wonderful adventures (instead of a week filled with stress – your perception is the only difference).
“At the core, adventure is the willingness to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and a willingness to learn and engage.” – Matt Walker, mountaineer and author of the book “Adventure in Everything”
Not sure what will happen if you smile at someone, or at a stranger? Science shows that smiles (or facial expressions) are contagious. Smiles can lessen your own stress hormones (perfect on a Monday!) Add in the eye contact, and you could lift someone’s spirits. And this could create a chain reaction.
I remember trying this on what could have been a sour subway commute after a stressful day at work. I ended up chatting with a stranger, who told me an amazing story about my industry (he didn’t know we were both in advertising). Listening to his engaging story helped me let go of the stress, and I was able to be more present with my kids when I finally got home.
Don’t feel in the mood to smile? Or afraid that a stranger may take it the wrong way? Make a paper smile! It can hide your non-smiley face. And (in my opinion) let strangers know you are trying to make everyone smile, not just that one creepy person. Face your fear by being silly with a goofy paper smile. (Who knows, by even daring to show this paper smile, you may laugh at yourself and feel better!)
Or – you could make paper smiles for your pet! It’s sure to make others smile too!
DAY 6: Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved.
Make this a real adventure by involving yourself enough to move out of your comfort zone.
This idea came to me because I received a postcard hand-written to encourage me to vote today. The fact it was hand-written made it no ordinary junk mail headed straight to the trash. Who is the person who wrote it? What inspired her to do this activity? Did she (I’m assuming a she) make new friends, or do it as a party? Or pick up a packet and do it while sitting at home? What are her hopes for making a difference?
Years ago I remember wanting to volunteer with my kids at a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving. When I called, I discovered one has to reserve this privilege weeks in advance. I remember giving up. Years later, I found out my son volunteered at that very soup kitchen on a regular basis, of his own volition. So check out your local soup kitchens or homeless shelters and see what you can do to help beyond one day or one gift for the coat drive.
Gratitude is part of an adventure mindset. When you participate in a cause, your gratitudes will come from a deeper appreciation.
A group I volunteer with also help me learn my limits. The more I gave, the more they expected. When it became too much, more work than adventure, I learned I had gone over my limit and stepped back. I still appreciate all the skills I learned while there, and the deep friendships with people I otherwise would never have known.
DAY 7: Get grounded by trying Earthing!
Remember how great you felt as a kid after running around all day barefoot? Or after a day on the beach you slept better that night? It could be because the earth’s negative electrons balance your body’s positive electrons. The earth emits energy, and by being connected to it, you become balanced. This probably sounds weird, or a little woo-woo, and with no real science to back it up – you have to take it on faith. But why not try it? It can’t harm you. And being barefoot on the grass just feels good. (I read you can get the same benefits standing on concrete, but be careful of city sidewalks because…well, first, eww, and second there are apparently lots of wires running underground that interfere with this process).
You may be thinking: “It’s too cold out!” The first time I heard about Earthing was in winter, so I didn’t try it until Spring. You are able to do two things instead. 1) wear leather bottom shoes (no rubber!) for the same effect (though not as fun). 2) inside you can stand on cement floors – like your basement – or ceramic tile (I’m dreaming of my friend’s heated ceramic tile floors…but now I wonder if those have too many wires!)
The amount of time you are “supposed” to stand connected to the earth varies. So I say – you decide! Test out from 2 minutes to 20. Do they make you feel more grounded, happier or even “healthier” (no medical claims being made here! Just asking…)
Try new things
The beauty of adventure is to try new things. If they work and make you smile – WOOT! WOOT! If not, you at least have learned for yourself. Having an adventure mindset helps you let go of any expected outcome.
I am in no way endorsing these products or sites – just found them on the internet to explain what Earthing is…if you want to know! https://www.earthing.com/what-is-earthing/ or https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles or
DAY 8: Try a new food (or new-to-you food).
Trying new foods may have always been something I’ve enjoyed, but these days with the ever expanding access to exotic foods it’s even easier than ever! At my local supermarket they carry a variety of foods from warmer climates.
If your supermarket doesn’t, search for exotic foods – there are so many that will be delivered! Here’s the assignment: when you go to your local supermarket, look for a food you’ve never tried before. Buy it. Look up how to cook it, or serve it. Then do that! Let me know what you discover!
I remember the first time I tried Lychee – it was in a fancy martini instead of the usual olives. I couldn’t help but think of the time when I was a kid and my mom created a haunted house and we had to touch things blind-folded. She had peeled grapes to be “eyeballs”!
The Lychee would have been so much easier! Years later I saw Lychee in a store (I believe I was in a Chinatown market) and it was in it’s shell. It’s red, bumpy outer cover really surprised me! And it has a little nut/seed in the center.
Have you ever watched the Travel Channel and that series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern? He eats some really weird stuff, and lives! (However, I don’t think I have the stomach for a lot of what he tries…but you might!)
DAY 9: Follow your food
Be a detective on the search for the origins of your favorite food, or a food you eat often. This can lead to bigger adventures!
Do you know how it’s made, or where the ingredient(s) come from? If you’re a gardener, you’re familiar with the original states of the veggies you grow. Get curious, where can you go to see your food in it’s original state? A winery, a poultry farm (or a hen house), a dairy, a bakery or even further – a wheat field?
My love of chocolate led me to many, many adventures. I went to the ChocoStory Museum here in NYC and learned about it’s history. I’ve toured chocolate factories (none were quite like Willy Wonkas!).
The best adventure happened as a result of years of putting the goal out there into the Universe. I went to Costa Rica I partly managed this as I had made a friend who owns an Airbnb down there! Near her place is a cacao farm. I still think the way cacao pods grow on trees is funny, and truly wonder how they even discovered these beans were edible!
What food are you curious to learn more about?
DAY 10: How do you like your eggs?
I’m not talking about being sold on green eggs and ham. This adventure is about knowing what YOU like, and trying things in as many different ways as you can to know what you prefer!
Did you ever watch Julia Roberts & Richard Gere in “Runaway Bride”? The part about eggs really drives this point home (hence, why I’m specifically asking about eggs! But if you want to try cooking something else in different ways – adventure on!) https://youtu.be/RunawayBrideeggs
10 Days of 21 Days of Adventure done!
Congrats on getting through the first 10 days of adventure. Take a break if you want. Make sure to pat yourself on doing all the things and having some fun!
DAY 11: Travel the U.S.A. through food!
Yes, another food adventure. This one could inspire you to travel to another state, or further explore your own. What dish is your state best known for? What about other states? Or maybe explore the city in your state known for having the best food.
Exploring all 50 states would take more than a day, so pick one state and find a dish to try! I know it’s on my bucket list to travel to all 50 states, and this would be a fun angle for adventures!
Here are links to stories that can help you find possible answers to finding foods for each state. Remember, don’t take these too seriously – find a reason to disagree or add to the list. You be the expert:
I’m not one for rankings, but this has an interesting POV www.thrillist.com/nation/every-state-ranked-by-its-food-drink
DAY 12: Prance! Do a Silly Walk! Dance on down the road!
The goal of this adventure is to be silly. Don’t worry at all what others will think of you, just have fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire others to Prance & laugh with you! Check out the videos where you’ll see the originator of Prancercise teach comedian Tosh how to prance; a satire on prancing; and my favorite classic – Monty Python and their Silly Walk sketch. Enjoy!
DAY 13: Wear something outrageous!
Wear a bold color that makes you feel bright, and makes you stand out. Try silly sunglasses or a furry hat that looks almost like a toy. Wear your “statement” jewelry. The bigger, the better. Really want to be daring? How about that costume you create and become a new persona (or enhance your a part of you). It’s Tuesday…wear a tutu!
The point is, dare your self not to blend in. To try an extreme to test your limits on being seen, and enjoying it. Wear something that makes you feel that specialness, even if you start this adventure by only doing it in the “safety” of your home.
At Burning Man (if you don’t know what this crazy art event is, PM me and we can chat), it’s a “thing” for people to wear tutus on Tuesday. A majority of people do! So, in a sense, it becomes the “norm” yet it’s so different from our everyday norm. By joining in, I let go of some body image issues. I was able to enjoy the pseudo fantasy from my childhood days of being a ballerina. These days, the long tutu skirts have become fashion. So – why not wear a tutu?
DAY 14: Flirt!
Get your groove on and flirt with everyone. Make it your secret superpower!
Mama Gena defines flirtation as “enjoying yourself in the presence of others.” True flirtation is all about enjoying myself, and uplifting someone else as a wonderful by-product of my flirt.
While feeling sexy, or your most sensual self, helps you with the energy for flirting, it isn’t about sex, or charming others with the intent of sex. It’s about digging deep inside yourself to use that sexy energy that makes you feel alive, and sharing it with others, just for the sheer joy of it.
Today is the 14th. Pretend it’s Valentine’s Day. Give the loving gift of a compliment (or smile, or whatever comes to mind) to people in your day. The grocery clerk. The receptionist. The baby. The grumpy old guy. The coffee barista. Getting the courage up to flirt can help you overcome some of your own inner obstacles like self-doubt, fear of doing it wrong, or overthinking it.
https://youtu.be/d5Vk6r5dG0U (Mama Gena on flirting)
DAY 15: Fluff yourself!
Go find what makes you feel pleasure, turned on and sexy. Discover how that energy makes you feel throughout the day. Remember, you are never too old for pleasure!
Does this challenge make you feel uncomfortable? Take a look at the reasons why, and see how you can flip them. Masturbation is healthy, and orgasms improve your health (there is science behind this…and I also remember the international Herbalist, Susun Weed, once telling a class that having seven orgasms a week – even possibly in one day – is a method to keep you young!) And going solo helps you discover yourself, instead of depending on a partner to do it for you, and that partner may not be reading your “map” right!
If you really aren’t ready for masturbating (no judgements!) start with baby steps. What textures do you really like? For me, I don’t really like satin, but I do like silk. And very high count thread sheets! What flavors tingles your tongue? How do you feel after a sensuous bubble bath?
Already good in the orgasm game? Would you adventure into taking it up a notch? You can find all sorts of ways to enjoy pleasure. Mama Gena, the women’s empowerment guru, often suggests the book “Extended Massive Orgasm”. (Side note, I have not done this particular adventure, but I have heard it’s good). Recommended by several women: https://thewomenswellnesscollective.com/journal/2018/1/29/healing-breast-massage
DAY 16: Opposite Day!
Enjoy the absurdity of what can happen! Try this for a day – Say things backwards; use your non-dominant hand; start your step with the opposite foot; roll the other way when you get up; carry your purse on the opposite side. Wear an outfit that’s opposite from your everyday. Maybe even say Yes when you think automatically No.
Opposite day requires mental dexterity, a quick wit, and the ability to pick words we may not use every day out of the cobwebbed recesses of our brain. Not only that, but some of the things we may be overheard saying to our friends and coworkers may be nothing short of outrageous!
Check out the link in the comments for a clip from Seinfeld when George Costanza does the opposite from his normal! What a funny outcome from that adventure!
DAY 17: Gaze into someone’s eyes for 2 minutes or longer.
Making contact with our eyes is one way to connect with others. Avoiding eye contact can also avoid intimacy, or possibly make you appear untrustworthy. This you probably know already. But have you tried to purposefully make eye contact for longer periods of time? It can be unnerving, but the results can also be unexpected – possibly deeper connections with those you lock eyes, and possibly a deeper connection with yourself.
Are you daring enough to try? Find a partner to do this with. I’ve read you can even try it with an animal (however, they may not be able to understand what you’re doing). If you’re really adventurous, try it with a stranger. There are “eye gazing” parties!
- Sit down comfortably, facing your partner. (Actually, the first time I did this I was standing)
- Set the timer for at least 10 minutes. The longer, the more powerful the experience. (Only if you want. Again, my first time there were no timers around, we just tried to do it for as long as we could stand it.)
- Gaze into the eyes of your partner. You can blink at any point, it’s not a staring competition. If you get distracted, simply bring back your awareness to the eyes of your partner.
- After the experience is over, you could grab a piece of paper and draw / write about how you are feeling. Definitely talk about the experience with your partner.
DAY 18: Have a scavenger hunt in a museum!
Scavenger hunts usually seem like children’s play. When you do it as an adult, it adds that child-like fun element into what could be an other-wise boring walk through history. (Side note: many museums have free nights, or “suggested” entry prices, making access affordable. If you’re in DC – you have so many awesome ones to choose from! Hunting down exotic or smaller museums can be part of the adventure!)
1) didn’t plan ahead? Create an adventure on the fly. I like to photograph details that could be used as a fun instagram post. You could also do this challenge: pick an object or theme and photograph it 20 different ways. ie – the color pink, or old chairs, or people who are doing some kind of labor.
2) Create a scavenger hunt for your friends. This is how Bret Watson, of Watson Adventures, started years ago. (I’m posting a story on him in the comments, as I like how his passion turned into his business!) There are a bunch of questions you can create, be inspired by ones you find online.
3) Find a paid scavenger hunt, like the Watson Adventures (he seems to have them in many cities). There are companies that will create them for your company for team building (another idea – get your company to do this!). This kind of activity seems well suited if you want to meet new people!
DAY 19: Dance like you just don’t care!
Take a dance break to shake off the doldrums and get back into what makes you feel alive! Got kids? Get them into the action too, because it can help you let your inner goofy dancer free!
Dance in the morning naked. “Shake it out” when you’re feeling down to move the emotions up and out of you. Dance a little jig when you’re feeling nervous. Get up and dance when you’ve been sitting at your computer for longer than an hour!
While you’re at it, explore a music genre you may not be familiar with – for example, a friend gave me a CD of Zydeco music. I love bopping around to this music (and maybe someday I will travel to Louisiana and learn the steps listening to a local band!)Today’s adventure inspired by my friend Lisa, who encouraged me with this video (check out all the parents being back up dancers to their kids!)
DAY 20: “We’re not lost, we’re on an Adventure!”
Why worry when you get lost? In fact, today’s challenge is to get lost – on purpose!
Test your inner navigation abilities. Pick a destination, one that you haven’t explored much. Pack a paper map and your GPS (phone) in the bottom of your backpack for emergency back up. Once you’re at the place, wander recklessly until you don’t know where the hell you are.
Then, get unlost without retracing your steps. Use your power of observation and gut instinct. What does the light tell you? Do landmarks, buildings, objects in nature help you figure which way to go? If your intuition directs you to ask for directions from a person, go for it. If you still feel too lost after having tried for a “certain amount of time” then pull out the paper map, and then your phone. Remember, be open to the outcome!
12 years ago, before GPS was common in cars (and phones still flipped open), I had a paper printout of directions to a Boy Scout overnight. It was supposed to take an hour to get there. I accidentally took a wrong highway! Panicked, I pulled into a gas station – which had no maps and the attendant was useless for directions. I called a friend who was able to access Mapquest and generally get me back to where I needed to head.
As we pulled out, my son looked at the beautiful surroundings and said “we’re not lost, we’re on an Adventure!” He had noticed we were in Amish country, and I, in my stress, had not. We laughed, and with that flip of a mindset, we enjoyed the rest of the trip!
Why worry if you get lost while traveling? Or even if you get frustrated, overwhelmed or stressed over some thing? Flip the obstacle into an adventure, and enjoy!
DAY 21: Celebrate YOU!
You know how special you feel on your birthday? Or, sometimes how you want to feel? Why not treat yourself as special every day? This could be an adventure in learning to receive (you may be the one giving all the time). This could be an adventure in self-care (which can range from telling yourself something positive, to getting a beauty treatment, or even signing up for that class/course/adventure trip you’ve been dreaming about). It could even be the gift of writing yourself a daily gratitude and placing it in a jar to look at later/at the end of the year.
The world needs that special gift that only you have: YOU! Enjoy the adventure of discovering what you find fun, and celebrate it!
https://youtu.be/corbinbleu (a fun song called “Celebrate You”)