So in the last post we talked about a lack of time keeping people from living the adventurous life of their dreams. In this post we are going to explore another great big barrier- lack of money…

I get you. Adventures cost money. Big adventures cost big money. I have a huge list of all the adventures I could do right now if I had the money to do them… trekking in the Himalaya… walking along the Great Wall of China… storm chasing in America… but I can’t afford them and I’m willing to bet the you can’t either.

We are constantly being told that the cost of living is spiralling ever upwards, and it certainly feels like it. Too much month left at the end of the money, unexpected bills, going into the supermarket for a ‘couple of bits’ and coming out with a trolley load of stuff…it’s tough to save anything at all and any money you do manage to squirrel away earns a pitiful rate of interest. It’s no wonder even a small trip feels out of reach.

But being skint needn’t necessarily mean that you have to put your adventure dreams on hold- it’s time we got a little creative…

Savings you won’t miss
Alastair Humphries has come up with a way of finding money for an adventure by saving £20 per week. The idea is that at the end of a year you will have £1000 which you can use to have an adventure- many folks have spent less than this on long cycling trips or doing exciting stuff such as picking a river and kayaking the length of it. What could you do with a grand?

I know many of you will be wondering how you can possibly commit to saving £20 every week but there are ways of finding that money without even missing it. Alastair gives you a few ideas, but here are some more hints;

Check your direct debits- I am willing to bet that you are still paying out money for things you don’t use, for instance insurance on appliances you no longer own or a gym you no longer go to. Get these cancelled and save the money into an adventure account instead.

Take this a stage further by examining your expenses- start by comparing energy and insurance deals to see if you could do better. Check whether you could manage with a cheaper television and internet package. Do you really need to eat out so many times each month? Could you cut your weekly grocery bill by shopping at a cheaper supermarket? Get ruthless- every pound you manage to trim could buy you an adventure in the future.

Do you have a bad habit you’d like to kick, such as smoking or drinking too much? Do you tend to buy several overpriced fancy coffees every day? Make a resolution to kick the habit, or at least cut it back. Pop the money you save into your adventure account.

Earn more

Does your work offer paid overtime? Could you do more hours a week and put your extra pay into your adventure account? If overtime isn’t an option where you work can you fit in a small part time job in the evenings and weekends? Even washing a few windows in your spare time or mowing lawns on a Saturday will make a difference. Yes, I know you work really hard and the last thing you feel like doing is spending your spare time working some more, but think of it as short term pain for long term gain… if it lets you reach your adventure goals, isn’t it worth putting up with it for a few weeks or months?

Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset? Maybe you can come up with a business idea you can run in your spare time! I know plenty of people who sell crafts or home made cards on ebay or Etsy.

I know someone who writes books which they sell on Amazon Kindle, and someone else who looks after cats and dogs in their own homes whilst their owners are on holiday. Get your thinking cap on and list your hobbies and interests- there could be an opportunity there.

Sell your stuff
If you are like most people (yes- me included!) then chances are you have a load of clutter. Take a look around your house- I bet your cupboards and drawers are bulging with stuff! Having a good clear out is great for the soul and a necessity if you are planning on disappearing on an adventure for months on end… but it’s also an opportunity to fatten your adventure account by selling your unwanted stuff through ebay or local ads.

Have adventures for free (or very cheap)
You don’t have to spend much on an adventure. In fact you don’t have to spend anything at all! It costs nothing to walk or cycle for a day and set up a wild camp overnight. Or to take a walk around your home town and explore its parks and free museums and exhibitions.

Do you have friends or family living in other cities or even other countries? Why don’t you go to stay with them and explore a new environment? You get to catch up with them as well and you can return the favour and show them round where you live.

We discussed Alastair’s concept of Microadventures in the last article, but as well as being great for those of use who are short of time, they also don’t tend to cost much. I have undertaken a series of little challenges such as following the course of the tram line to the terminal- the cost was a tram ride back to the start and a supermarket lunch.

I am also planning on walking from my house to my mum’s house- she has kindly offered to drive me home but I could get the bus if I needed to. It just takes a little imagination!

Use cheap airline deals
I have signed up for promotional emails from certain budget airlines (one of which has a distinctly Irish sounding name) and every so often they have a sale. Last year I flew to Dublin and Berlin for £9.99 each way- that’s less than £20 for a return trip. Book a cheap hotel, hostel or use Air BnB and it is possible to have a few days away exploring a different city and have plenty of change left from £100.

Offsetting the cost of an adventure
I took a trip to Spain a couple of years ago and we decided to explore a city I’d never been to before. When I returned home I wrote an article about it which I sent to an airline magazine. They printed it, and the payment I received more than paid for the cost of the holiday.

When you’re planning your next trip it would be worth considering whether you could write about some aspect of it to recoup some of the cost. Another idea would be selling copies of your photos- there are places you can market them online.

With a little bit of effort and creativity lack of money needn’t stop you from having adventures, even if it means those far-flung months long epics may need to wait a while longer.

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Filed under: Barriers to Adventure

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