Normally my adventures consist of exploring new areas of Los Angeles, or trying a new restaurant, or (once) skydiving. To me an adventure is anything that gets you doing something new. My new thing for today is creating this blog. I have blogged before, but never in a public capacity and it’s about time I let the world in!
From 1986 until about a year ago, I was living life the safest way I could and being satisfied with that. Don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t boring. I did travel around Europe for a while, I got a job in television and I even moved to a strange new city (Los Angeles) after graduating college in 2008. I’ll admit, these decisions took bravery and initiative, but when it comes to the day to day stuff I would always choose the familiar, usual, safe choice over the exciting, mysterious, new option. October of 2010 is when I woke up.
My “waking up” was not my choice. As most stories go, it stemmed from heartbreak. I realized that the adventurousness that my boyfriend brought to my life was now leaving with him. While dating he pushed me to do things I would never do on my own: art + music events, new bars, camping trips with strangers (who are now life friends). Im one of those people who is “down for anything” but I’ve never been one to actively seek it out and I often need a little convincing. Well once he was gone, who was going to convince me? How was I even going to know about these cool adventures around Los Angeles? So I took control of life and decided to seek out adventure myself. On my own.
Step 1: Find (free/cheap) Adventure Opportunities. It’s easy to say you want adventure in your life, it’s the followthrough that’s difficult. The first thing I did was sign up for every email list I could. I made a list of my favorite places/events since my arrival in Los Angeles. This consisted of restaurants, bars, museums, shops and even the groups that host events. I found these places on facebook and “liked” them (which meant I would get messages about free events) and I also subscribed to their email listings. Yes, this means I wake-up to 15 new spam emails every morning, but it also means I can name 15 different free events happening tonight.
Step 2: Go To Them. As a girl in a city with only a handfull of very busy friends, I had no choice but to get used to doing new things alone. There was no one to convince me to be adventurous, I had to convince myself. If I wanted to do something, I should just do it and enjoy it myself. It’s way better than sitting at home sulking about being alone. I learned that Bethany (me) is awesome to hang out with.
Step 3: Make a List of Goals. Since this new attitude toward adventure and really living life came about in Oct. 2010, for my 2011 New Years resolution I made a list of goals and fears that I wanted to conquer throughout 2011. This was a list of 50+ topics that ranged from “clean out top drawer” to “conquer fear of heights”. In order to hold myself accountable I would blog privately about it every month, crossing off things I completed and also making goals for the upcoming month. This way I could really see the changes I’ve made to my life as well as a master list of everything I’ve accomplished.
Step 4: Embrace Your Neighborhood (Los Angeles). My daily emails about events happening around LA made me realize that I don’t know this city as well as I thought. It can be intimidating going by yourself to a midnight event which you read about in a spam email. So I bought myself 2 books which I highly recommend: Walking L.A. by Erin Mahoney Harris and 101 Hikes in Southern California by Jerry Schad. Walking L.A. consists of 38 walks that take places in all different neighborhoods around LA. There is no excuse to sit inside on a gorgeous Saturday when you own this book. Walks are free and low impact. I set the goal that in 2011 I would do all 38 walks (I’ve currently completed 29 walks and have 3 months to complete the rest). I’ve even started creating my own walks which I would love to share with you.
Step 5: Adventure + Exercise. The great thing about the LA Walks is that it helped get me in shape. I used to hover around 200lbs (back in high school) and over time have worked my way down to 130lbs. The walks are a great way to be outside and keep fit, but in order to build strength I really needed to start doing some serious exercise. This is where the hike book came in handy. Hiking is another free way to get out of the house and see something completely new, and the tan and vitamin D were an added bonus. Along with slimming down and becoming (emotionally and now) physically stronger, it also brought with it a confidence that I’ve never had before. Confidence is the key ingredient to Adventure and conquering fears.
Why a blog? Why now? I probably should have created this day 1 of my “awakening” but I didn’t know if this was a short term feeling or a whole lifestyle change (keep in mind I just went through heartbreak and my goal was just to be happy again). These adventures were also a way of occupying my time and to keep me from getting depressed about the break-up, and it certainly did the trick. Now I fill my time with comedy shows, plays, live events, art openings, new walks, new EVERYTHING. This blog is chronicling how I spend (and fill) my days with fun (cheap) adventures around Los Angeles. My goal is to inspire you. If you live in Los Angeles and can go to some of the places I will write about, awesome. If you live in a small town no where near LA, I hope you are inspired enough to seek out what you can do locally. No matter what town you’re from, there are cool events happening around you and I hope I’m able to give you ideas as well as motivate you to seek out adventure and embrace life!