January 14, 2008 7:51 AM   Subscribe

How can I add more novelty and adventure into my life?

It seems that most of my days follow the same patterns with the same people. Go to work, interact with same co-workers, go to gym, interact with same gym people, go to dinner parties, interact with same circles of people. The only time I find adventure and meet new and interesting people is when I travel. Backpacking around the world is not an option for me. I am not unhappy. I would just like to add a little excitement to my everyday routine without drugs, crime, or adultery. I realize that as I get older, novelties will be harder to find. But I really want to recapture some of the romance of my youth. Is this possible for a 34 year-old domesticated, corporate, happily married guy? Do I need to drive a different route to work everyday? Start kickboxing? Strike up conversations with random people in the library?
posted by kaizen to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
posted by hermitosis at 8:02 AM on January 14, 2008

posted by hermitosis at 11:02 AM on January 14

Agreed. Go feed some people or be a math tutor after school at the high school or visit people in the nursing home or... ... ...
posted by shothotbot at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2008

Do I need to drive a different route to work everyday? Start kickboxing? Strike up conversations with random people in the library?

You could try any of those, or any of the things that people give you as an answer here. There's probably not some "perfect" new activity that will turn your life into a giant adventure, but you can definitely try some new things to make your life better and less boring.

Personally, I would suggest learning to play poker. A poker game can be very exciting, even if its not for very much money. Going to a game with a group of people you've never met is somewhat of an adventure, and you can meet and talk to all kinds of people that you wouldn't otherwise.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:07 AM on January 14, 2008

Travel is not required to find new things. It sounds like finding new people is your main objective. One way to do that is make a list of things that interest you. How? Do any of the following:

1. Use StumbleUpon to dig up new sites for you, whether you've heard of the category or not. Could be anything from books to astronomy to 8mm film geeks. Pick a few categories you either have not heard of, or something other than your usuals to mix it up.

2. check out the 'popular' and 'recent' posts on del.icio.us.

Once you have a list, pick one or two categories and then look on something like MeetUp or Volunteer Match and check out what's going on locally to you.

One other note: age is also not important when it comes to learning and discovering new things. Life may be short, but it is really, really wide.
posted by yoga at 8:11 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do one new activity each month.
posted by probablysteve at 8:15 AM on January 14, 2008

You don't need to backpack around the world to find adventure. You should just try backpacking period. In civilization there is a safety net around you at all times. If you get hurt, you can go to the hospital. If you feel threatened, you can call the police. There is something exhilarating about stepping outside that safety net and being totally responsible for your own survival. Backpacking allows you to do that (to a certain extent). Find a trail nearby that will cause you to really push yourself. Equip yourself by borrowing and buying used as much as you need, but keep it to a minimum. Then just head out. Build up to where you are doing long-distance multi-day hikes. It is an inexpensive and non-time-consuming way to add a lot of adventure to your life. You can do it with your friends or your spouse, you can even do it by yourself, though I would wait until you are a lot more experienced. There are also clubs that you can go on hikes with, and you will meet some great people that way from all walks of life. There is nothing like being out in the middle of nowhere with everything that you own (for that little while) in a pack on your back, and getting that feeling that your survival is in your hands and in your hands alone, to add a little adventure to your life.
posted by ND¢ at 8:16 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I realized afterward my answer may seem a little too pat to be useful, but really, you have idle hands and the need to have unprecedented experiences. This would make you a very valuable person to almost anyone.

Start attending city council meetings, just to see what's up with that. Attend functions at your local schools to see what's up with that. Once you hear people speaking passionately about problems or projects in your community, you may find yourself inspired or uniquely capable of helping out somehow. Do you live near a hospital? Swing by and ask what kinds of volunteer programs they have.

These could all fall under the category of "driving a different route to work". I would go with that impulse, but amend it to "stop at a different place after work every day." Take a serious gander at places you're used to thinking you have no business being. You may jog something loose that changes things dramatically-- but if not, you'll still get to know and do more.
posted by hermitosis at 8:21 AM on January 14, 2008

Sometimes we block out enthusiasm because it isn't dignified or "cool". Try to cultivate an attitude of not caring about other people's judgement of you and you'll have more fun.
posted by teleskiving at 8:31 AM on January 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

Make a list of things you want to do. Remember local attractions you've meant to see but so far have not. Whenever you're feeling bored or stuck in a rut, consult the list.

As an example, my list currently includes "Raft American River, Learn Scuba, Backpack Lost Coast, Kayak Moss Landing, Go to Steinbeck Museum, Go to Waterslides, Go to Pinnacles, Go Whale Watching, Buy Autoharp, Cold Enfleurage."
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:40 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Get some guide books on your area then spend a weekend being a tourist in your town or somewhere near you. Travel doesn't have to mean going half way around the world.
posted by slowfasthazel at 8:49 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

The Guerrilla Art Kit by Keri Smith has some ideas on how to look at where you live differently and some simple projects you can do. Most are not illegal, but do involve some levels of sneaking around in the middle of the night for some mid-level adventure/excitement.

One thing I like to do is take my lunch and go eat it outside somewhere in town (weather permitting). It's a good change of pace and breaks up the day nicely.

You could also try geocaching - it's kind of like hunting for treasure and gives you some motivation to go out and hike/explore. You can usually meet a bunch of new local people.

These are not "backpack-around-the-world" levels of excitement, but consider them an easy way to start.
posted by mikepop at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2008

Pretend to be a time traveler.

And striking up random conversations is not a bad idea. I'm pretty shy, but talking to people is usually rewarding, in my experience.
posted by kidbritish at 9:03 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who seemed to be in a similar state - he wasn't unhappy with life, but he was a little bored. He started doing a martial art four days a week. He now seems a whole lot happier and more engaged.
posted by gt2 at 9:28 AM on January 14, 2008

Here are a few things I have been doing: Working through every recipe in a Galliano cocktail book from the 1960s; buying weird men's toilette products, such as mustache wax and old-school pomade, and trying them out; watching Shatner films from the 1970s; teaching myself fad dances from the 1960s; making food from children's cookbooks from the mid 20th century. I then blog about all of these things, and alternate them for novelty's sake. I remember the Giant Robot staff used to do things like buy candies or canned drinks from Asian groceries and write about what each was like, and I think this was part of my inspiration. The world is a pretty odd and interesting place is you're willing to try things you've never tried before.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:54 AM on January 14, 2008

My boyfriend just showed me an excerpt from something he's reading for class. The woman in the story was in the same situation as you until she decided to take two risks a day. This meant doing things she normally wouldn't do - like invite that co-worker she's never spoken much to before to lunch or sign up for some random class. The interesting thing was that she wasn't taking risks only in things she WANTED to do, she took them regardless of how she felt about it. It did not matter what the outcome was, be it wonderful or not so great. The point was that she kept taking risks and thus, added so much to her life and escaped the regularity she was in before.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 10:08 AM on January 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

My mom had (perhaps still has, I don't know) a policy of accepting all invitations. The results ranged from attending dinner parties to driving a truck across Canada.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:52 AM on January 14, 2008

travel in your own area

read the activities/to do/what's on section of your local papers

start going to groups meets, seeing different things, and being a traveller in your own town

it's great fun, and will make you popular among your current friends when you can show them lots of neat new stuff around town
posted by Salvatorparadise at 11:56 AM on January 14, 2008

Read this.
posted by flabdablet at 3:06 PM on January 14, 2008

I've recently begun trying out these kinds of things but I'm on the other end of the spectrum; I've just recently began to drive and gained the freedom to travel around by myself. These are a few things I've enjoyed:
-take a class- I've done ceramics and kickboxing and it's a terrific way to meet different sorts of people, something I find endlessly fascinating.

-Drive around your city/area. Basically this is the be a tourist in your own area thing- each weekend, drive to a new area of your town. Google Maps is your friend, as are any friends you have who have a good knowledge of interesting areas near you.

-Talk to people! Don't be afraid to be awkward or whatever. Especially when you go to new places where you don't know anyone- no follow up = extra low risk.

-Just freaking do it. You have more or less the same suggestions I've given you in your post. Don't think too hard about it, just do it. Go into the random store or restaurant you drive by every day and have always wondered about. Go see that art exhibit you read about in the paper. Talk to that friendly stranger at the library. Don't make excuses and don't overplan; just get out there.
posted by MadamM at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2008

This book has some fun ideas.
posted by andythebean at 3:17 PM on January 14, 2008

I love exploring my local environment.

I am currently working on walking each street in my neighbourhood, taking large blocks of major roads and then travelling each street in that block, then moving to the next one. I keep track of it with a GPS and google earth! I see a lot of interesting things, different houses, little parks and back streets I never knew existed.

On the weekend, I went and looked at the weird structure I found in Google Earth at
37°50'46.37"S, 145° 2'31.28"E It's a multi storey car park, in the middle of an empty lot! I would never have guessed it was there, and it was fascinating to look at and photograph.

Do a search on Urban Exploration and see what's about in your area. Go with a friend or a group and visit some places you might never have known about.
posted by tomble at 3:35 PM on January 14, 2008

Sorry this is going to be a broad answer, and a long winded answer, because to me novelty is everywhere, in books, ideas, media, places, activities, etc. A couple of these suggestions are things to do if you are lazy and/or have a short attention span (like me), a couple other suggestions ones on this list are geared towards things you may looking for (from perusing your past questions combined with this question):

-Is there an Appalachian Mountain club in your area? If you like the outdoors, this is the perfect activity for someone who is lazy yet wants a little more adventure. The AMC club in my area, for example, has offered a bike ride (and the guy leading the ride pointed out really novel places/ experiences, from stopping in an apple orchard to historic houses and homes); a canoeing/kayaking trip through the Bronx river; hikes; walking tours with the highlights of new places, etc. The reason it is for a lazy person is you just need to look it up in a book, pick what you want to do, sign up or show up at a certain time, and follow the leader. This may also introduce you to new people, who also like to do outdoor activities, which may lead to more new adventures.

-Are there outdoor activities that you like to do? eg., walk, bike, or run? Find a club that does this in your area, again, you will meet people who like similar activities, the activity can be challenging, and you will probably go to a new places. If you really start to want to challenge yourself and do even more (like ride a century or run a marathon), you could travel somewhere in the states, just for that event.

-Books on tapes and podcasts...Download many different types of podcasts, try different ones on the way to work. I don't know what topic you are looking for, but you can even find new music, every day of the week -- just download the podcast and listen. For you, since you also seem to be entertaining philosophical questions -- the teaching company offers some really interesting books on tape/CD on every topic, a couple go over philosophy. I'm sure your local library carries this. Some libraries let you download some of the 'books on tape' over the internet.

-It also sounds like you are looking for -? intellectual conversations with people? -from one of your past questions. If you live in a large enough town, why don't you try to start a book club, dinner club, focused on a particular topic or genre of book. It could be interesting because you could include your wife, find people with a common interest, etc.

-Meet new people. Above all, I would either ask your current friends, or make some new friends, and try things that they like to do. Isn't that how you normally get introduced to new things or new activities to try? You listen to a new music group, try a new activity, etc.?

-If you live in a large city, I'd check out craigslist (activities partners). There are usually people who want to make friends or find another person to try to - attend a play, go to a book club, try hang gliding, etc.

Have fun.
posted by Wolfster at 7:18 PM on January 14, 2008

Grab any sort of newspaper, magazine, flyer, etc that describes events. Pick a few - some you definitely like, some that look interesting, some totally unknown, some you think you may hate. Go to them and check them out.

I've followed a similar strategy for the past few years and it's given me a very interesting life so far!
posted by divabat at 8:23 AM on January 15, 2008

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