A woman in a pink t-shirt looks over a stone bridge towards a church to represent adventurous living

How to live a life of adventure

If anyone has been looking closely at this blog (and, let’s face it, I won’t blame you if you haven’t!) you may have noticed that I recently changed its tagline to include the words “adventurous living”. 

I’ve been searching for a while for a phrase which encapsulates the current travel-stage in life I’m in. As, while the blog will always be there to encourage and support anyone planning to take a career break or a sabbatical, there is no denying that my travel style is very different to the one I had during my own grown up gap year.

I’ve written a lot about this over the years, how things changed when I started travelling as a couple with Mr A. Then how we adapted our travel style again when our first little adventurer came along. Plus, what happened when our second little adventurer was born during a global pandemic.

Most recently we bought our campervan, Bertie D, which again completely changed the way we travel.

First cup of tea in the VW campervan
Enjoying the all important first cup of tea in the van!

Changing travel styles

I’ve spoken before about how life changes when you get back from a grown-up gap year. But for me having children is the single biggest thing which has changed my travel style. And while I’ve always loved travelling with my little adventurers, my previous travel style is something I’ve missed and tried to replicate over the years.

One of the things I used to love most about backpacking was the spontaneous nature of it. I loved the process of choosing my route along the way, being able to adapt and change it as I went. It’s something I’ve continued to crave since having my little adventurers and we’ve tried different ways to recapture that feeling. We’ve often done this by incorporating a number of destinations into our trips, such as when we did a roadtrip around Spain or spent 10 days in Albania.

However, while this does mean you get to see lots of places, hotels and apartments still need to be booked in advance. So it never quite fulfilled that on the fly decision-making I missed. Added to this, it can be unsettling for some children having to continually check in and out of new places. Plus, you end up wasting time having to pack up and check into new places every few days.

Our summer of adventure

This was one of the things which really appealed to me about van life, as it would become a place of familiarity for my little adventurers, even if we were moving on to places quite quickly.

So this summer when we left for our holiday we only had two things booked: our ferry to France and our ferry back to the UK. The rest of our trip we planned as we went. Some of our friends thought we were crazy to travel this way with two small children, but we had the reassurance of knowing that wherever we went we would have Bertie D to sleep in every night. Plus, the huge amount of campsites and wild camping opportunities in France meant that we were bound to find somewhere to stay.

And it worked out perfectly. We were able to plan our trip on the way, factoring in things like the weather, other people’s recommendations and choosing to stay an extra night somewhere if we weren’t ready to move on. I loved sitting down each night, when our little adventurers were safely tucked up in the van, discussing our route for the next day. Or sometimes, simply choosing to stay where we were!

Plus, despite the concerns, we only nearly came unstuck once. That was when we arrived at Lake Annecy at the same time as everyone else in France (or so it seemed!). However, we still managed to find a campsite eventually and even if we hadn’t, we had the security that we could just drive on to the next town.

So after 2.5 weeks on the road, my heart was full. We’ve found a way to travel that ticks all of our adventurous living boxes. It allows us to have the spontaneity we’ve always craved, while knowing that our children will always have a safe place to sleep each night. It seems that van life really is the life for us. 

What is adventurous living?  

And while I know that van life isn’t an option for everyone (in fact we are incredibly lucky to be able to do what we do), if one of your goals is to live life adventurously, then I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about what that means to you. Does it mean doing at least one big trip a year? Does it mean committing to taking a weekend away every couple of months? Or does it simply mean getting out in nature once a week or taking a regular microadventure? Adventurous living will look different for everyone, depending on current life circumstances. 

However the reason I’m suggesting thinking about this is that otherwise in this busy life we all lead, it’s easy to push it to the bottom of your to-do list. Suddenly you can turn around and realise it’s been months, maybe even years since you did something to fill your adventure cup. 

So have a think, if you have a partner or a family discuss it with them, and get some dates in your diary. Because you only have one life to live, so you may as well make sure you live it adventurously!