The advantages of taking a gap year or travelling are well known and documented, but if you really want to make the most of your gap year and reap even more benefits, then you should throw a little bit of adventure in there too!
Going on a round the world trip or a gap year is an adventure in and of itself, but there is far more to backpacking than lazing in a hammock on a tropical beach or partying with one too many whisky buckets. There are so many ways you can crank up that dial and give yourself some amazing and daring experiences that will not only benefit you physically, but mentally and psychologically too. This is why you should throw a little caution to the wind, take a few risks and have an adventure on your next trip.
You get some exercise without even realising it.
Most adventure activities, mountain climbing, trekking, diving, extreme sports, whatever they are, generally involve at least some level of physical exercise, and that is obviously going to have huge benefits to your physical health.
By incorporating some adventure into your travel lifestyle, you won’t even realise you are exercising half of the time. You can do away with a sedentary lifestyle that you may have lived back at home and you will need to be active on a day to day basis just to do all those awesome things you want to do! You will use muscles you never have before simply by getting out there and indulging in the activities you are enjoying, you will get amazing cardio workouts by climbing that mountain to view the sunrise, tone and strengthen your muscles by diving down to view that shipwreck or kayaking down a quick flowing river.
There really is no need for gyms when you have the great outdoors to have an adventure or two in!
It’s good for your health.
By experiencing a bit of adventure on your travels, you will get a huge boost to your physical health. The increased exercise you are getting will help reduce your body fat levels and tone and strengthen your muscles, so your risk of illness and disease vastly decreases too. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, the list of illnesses and diseases often bought about by a sedentary lifestyle that can be improved – or even in some cases cured – by indulging in a bit of adventure travel is very long.
It’s good for your mental health.
Although they are often seen as two completely separate things, your physical health and your mental health really do work together side by side. When one suffers, both suffer. Adventure activities that give us a huge boost in physical fitness also increase our overall wellbeing, mental awareness and positive mood. More than that however, it can have significant effects on stress levels, anxiety and a variety of mental health problems.
It makes you happy.
Endorphins are a wonderful thing. They are a natural hormone secreted within the brain and nervous system, act as a natural analgesic and pain killer, increase our mood levels and essentially make us happier. When we indulge in exercise or adventure activities, our brain is pumped full of them, which is why so many people get a natural high after skydiving or exercising hard. Adventure junkies aren’t called that for nothing!
It makes you smarter.
Despite most people protestations that there is nothing inherently smart about jumping out of a plane or abseiling down a mountainside (they are all wrong by the way), the fact is that exercise and adventure travel does make you smarter. It has been shown that the hormones and other growth factors produced by the brain during exercise and adventure activities can increase memory and improve fluid intelligence.
It boosts your self confidence.
Travelling in and of itself takes you out of your comfort zone and gives you such a confidence boost that you genuinely feel like a bigger, better, stronger version of you, but really pushing yourself to your limits and coming out on the other side increases that tenfold.
Imagine having the courage and the confidence to climb that mountain, to camp in the desert on your own or skydive out of that plane without hesitation. That is what adventure travel can give you! It doesn’t matter whether that is facing fears of the ocean to learn to dive, pushing past physical and mental exhaustion to complete a humid jungle trek or a muscle cramping mountain climb, knowing that you have achieved something you never could have done before is game changing.
It gives you amazing stories to tell.
Imagine taking a gap year and coming home with nothing but a few stories of how drunk you got at those full moon parties and endless selfies of your face with a vague, blurred outline of where you were in the background. What a waste! Now imagine coming home full of stories of exciting escapades and wild, daring adventure!
Imagine being able to look back on your life and laugh at the time you got lost in the jungles of Borneo, the time you conquered mountains or pushed yourself to the limits on a desert trek. Think about having stories to tell as cool as a cat saving your life! Odds are that people still won’t want to listen to you, but at least you will have a few thrilling chapters to add to the story of your own life, and that is truly priceless.
It brings you back to your childhood.
Do you remember when you were a kid? How easy it was to go out and play? Climb a tree? Make a fort or explore just because you wanted to know what was on the other side of that hill? Now do you remember how all that kind of just disappeared as you grew up? How the stresses and strains of teenage life and then later paying the bills and all that crappy grown up stuff just made everything that used to come so naturally to you just got pushed down deep inside you so you could concentrate on what society told you was important?
Well adventure travel helps you get rid of all that grown up crap and get back to what is really important, that sense of freedom and exploration and living life to its fullest. That sense of fun that we instinctively knew as children.
So knowing all of this, why wouldn’t you want more adventure travel in your life? Why wouldn’t you want to find the nearest jungle, desert or mountain and throw yourself into trekking through it or climbing up it? Go! Get on that plane. Travel the world and live your adventure!
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