Dreaming up little adventures (more on Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure)

Lots of people who’ve read Tranquility by Tuesday tell me that Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure, is one of their favorites. We are accustomed to planning in things we have to do. The idea of planning in things we’d like to do, and that we might look forward to, completely changes the experience of time. It can also change our perceptions of ourselves. We are adventurous people!

I believe that the habit aspect of this rule is important. At first, it can be hard to come up with adventures. But as you set the goal to do two every week, part of your brain becomes constantly on the lookout for options. You start checking out those flyers on the library bulletin board wall about a concert in the park. You get on the email list for your local orchard and know all about the cider-tasting festival they’ll be hosting (before everyone else!)

Even if there aren’t any events, though, you can still orchestrate your own adventures.

As noted in some comments on Friday’s post about this rule, food-based adventures are some of the easiest to plan. Maybe there’s a cuisine you haven’t tried recently. This past weekend, one of my adventures was going to a local ramen restaurant with my older boys. We tried out our chopstick skills and experienced new flavors. Even if your local culinary scene is limited, you might be able to cook some international dish — or something exciting from a new cookbook. You and your partner or a friend could get together and try a new cocktail or mocktail that involves an elaborate preparation. Do a zoom lunch with a far-flung friend. You can also change how you eat (picnic outside or even inside on a blanket in a different room).

You might be able to shop in a different way. Some weekends this summer I’d take my kids to a local farmers’ market and they could all buy some little interesting thing. One of my kids has become a patron of a local comic book shop, and that is a definitely a memorable place to peruse. Book stores and thrift stores can be fun, or even a different branch of your county library. You could turn a normal Saturday grocery trip into an adventure by going with the whole family (well, older kids) and giving each person a list and seeing who can finish first, or come up with the most fun meal plan for a night.

You can get physical activity in a more adventurous way. If you normally walk or run, go for a bike ride. One of my summer little adventures was going on an hour-long bike ride with my husband along a trail. Invite a new friend to walk on a trail with you, or go walk in a different neighborhood, or at a different time of day (somewhere with a cool sunset, now that the days are getting longer). Go ice skating, or tubing, or kayaking, or swimming somewhere (depending on the season of course!). Take a new exercise class at your gym.

Even things you’d need to get done eventually can be more memorable. I needed my hair cut and so did my daughter, so I made us back to back appointments at a nice salon near our house on Saturday afternoon and we enjoyed taking pictures of our styled hair together. (You can go check us out on Instagram, @lvanderkam.)

If you draw a radius of about an hour around your house, my guess is that there are some events and institutions that might be worth a visit from time to time. If you couple that list with the adventures you can orchestrate yourself, it shouldn’t be two hard to arrange for two adventures a week. Two is not that many! Two is not daily or even close to it. The point of this rule is not to exhaust or bankrupt anyone. It’s to make life just a little more interesting, and even if the weather is bad, or you live in a small town, or you’re in lockdown (as some folks were during the TBT Project!) there is always something. Adventure is as much a state of mind as anything else. But it’s a state of mind worth aiming for.

In other news: Sometimes our dreams are adventurous…for unknown reasons, my brain constructed a rather elaborate one last night. This dream was about a concept museum, located in the UK, that was called “Rooms” and it featured rooms from people’s houses from different periods of time in history, with more of a maximalist approach so you could see lots of different historic domestic objects. It started in the medieval era, though as I think of this later I’m not sure why we didn’t get more of a Stonehenge-timed start in my dream. We wound through Victorian Britain and made a stop in Sylvia Plath’s room (really), and then went through a group house shared by a 70s/80s UK punk rock band — but it was a made-up band.

10 thoughts on “Dreaming up little adventures (more on Rule #6: One big adventure, one little adventure)

  1. I would totally go to the Rooms museum. It would certainly count as a “big adventure”. Interesting how, even in your dreams, you had an adventure…and an idea!

  2. You need to go to the Museum of the Home in London! It is pretty much what you describe (no Sylvia Plath’s room though). I had a lovely afternoon there last Friday with the kids. Two days in London was definitely our big adventure last week. The Castle Museum in York also has similar rooms through time – I don’t know if you made it there on your York visit. There is a wonderful novel inspired by the Castle Museum – Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson

    1. @Jenny- oh how cool! I haven’t been to either of those museums but they sound fun. Though really, shouldn’t they add Sylvia Plath? 🙂 My favorite part of the dream was that I’d dreamt up a 70s British punk band, but it definitely wasn’t The Sex Pistols or the Clash – it’s name was something that I see is like an agricultural company or something…

    1. @Emily- yep, from many years ago, running by the harbor. It was when I dreamed up the title for “Off the Clock.” That path just always looks like an adventure to me.

  3. I find winter harder so most of my winter adventures are social things – it might be the same walk, but it’s with a new pal, etc.

    But when the weather is better:
    A new beach
    Packing a lunch and sitting someplace nice outdoors for a “lunch hour”
    Meeting a new friend for coffee
    Volunteering for a few hours
    Having a picnic dinner – in the garden or in a park

    If you have kids,
    trying to visit every playpark in your town
    a different library
    movie night with the neighbours

    1. @Coree – all of these are great ideas. A new volunteer gig would certainly be an adventure (or a standing one but you do something different). And definitely any different playground can be its own discovery. And better if you invite friends to meet you there.

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