The Adventure Construction Kit

You just met Mark who has spent a year travelling overland from London with final destination Sidney. You heard the stories he had to tell, truly exciting. For a while you had a similar thing in your mind, but who can guarantee that you're back in one piece ? And then it needs to be paid, not working for a year..

ADVENTURE (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913)
The encountering of risks; hazardous and striking enterprise;
a bold undertaking, in which hazards are to be encountered, and the issue is staked upon unforeseen events;
a daring feat.

The Adventure Construction Kit is a by-product of the author's restless get-away-from-Bangkok-into-the-wilderness weekends. It has been created during a 3-year working assignment in Thailand.

If you are..
.. a curious child by nature, always exploring new ground,
.. not a curious child but so bored with one day being like the other,
.. not even a child but anyway keen on reading this page,
then read on.

Adventures are rare in daily life where we know all the surprises, so that they are no surprises any more. You want to be in a world that is unlike the one you know, want to poke around new grounds. Watch out, you're becoming a traveler ..

Provoking an adventure
Basically, this comes down to doing something where the outcome is not so sure while attention should be paid to avoid fatalities.
I personally prefer outdoor adventures with lots of pleasant surprises, some control over the course of events and a happy end.

Let's say, there's this white spot on my Thailand map, not far from Bangkok: What could be there ? An army base ? A refugee camp ? A tempel ? A treasure ? A hidden waterfall ? A waterfall with a tempel on top, a cave underneath and a hidden treasure inside ?
This white spot on my map has a huge potential. The weekend, a mountainbike, GPS, and I'm leaving all thoughts of the factory behind.

Surviving what you provoked
If such thoughts bother you, dive into my mega-instructive adventure safety notes.

Living an adventure
Let it flow and enjoy the ride. You may drift from the course you expected but if it's fun, who cares. You can change plan every hour, if you care to plan at all. If things turn no-fun, you push into another direction, then let them flow again and relax. There'll be enough surprises along the way to keep you entertained.

Imagine that your visit to Thailand becomes boring after the 12th waterfall and the 18th tempel. You happen to see this sign to the forest monastery, decide "this is it" and get stuck there for 2 weeks. You find your dictionary most useful as a pillow and your flashlight turns into a gift. Your sneakers get eaten by dogs and you substitute with leather boots. You return home with dramatically improved language and cooking skills. You don't regret that you missed the Grand Palace, the Floating Market, all of Northern Thailand.

Recycling adventures
Want to repeat your experience ? It won't work. You can be back to the same place at a later time, but you will not gain the initial excitement back. You are now familiar with the surroundings, you know what's behind that wall, inside this tempel, atop that hill, your fantasy has been disabled.
If you want to re-visit a certain place, keep some part unexplored or go there along a different path / by different means of transport.

Controlling costs
Ideally, your adventure earns you lots of money and makes you rich (find a book about starting your own business !).
If that doesn't work for you, try to get a good price at least. Make it more adventure for less work:
- Go to a place where it is safe and warm, where the living-standard is low and hospitality is high.
- Buy the latest Lonely Planet guidebook (or something better) for the place you go. It pays back quickly.
- Minimize pre-trip spending. Don't buy things you might need. Bring the money with you, instead.
- Adapt to the local standards when it saves something
- Try your best at the local language
- Have your own transport
- Have an insurance for serious risks
Above works pretty well when you're coming from a 1st world country, targeting a 3rd world country. When you have to stay in your own world, ..
- Be more independent: Bring food and camping gear
- Exploit discounts whenever possible
- Take advantage of budget accommodation (IYHA, YMCA, government resthouses,..)
- Do not spend a lot of time visiting relatives or friends. You will have free accommodation, but first they will try to make you stay and shortly after they will tell you that you cannot travel around as you do (because they themselves cannot).