Annual leave: 5 reasons to swap the beach holiday for adventure this summer

“Wouldn’t you prefer two weeks lying on the beach?” exclaimed my bemused work colleague on hearing that I had signed up to a two week trek to Nepal.  Sipping cocktails while sinking my toes into warm sand versus slogging up mountains for days on end. It would seem he had a point.  But deep down, I know that a beach holiday can never compare to the exhilaration of an adventure holiday.  If you fancy shaking up your annual leave, here’s my top 5 reasons why you should swap the beach holiday for adventure this year.

empty beach loungers in Varadero Cuba

Rob Empty beach sun loungers, Cuba

Get out of your comfort zone:

They say that overcoming fear is the quickest route to self-confidence.  It’s fairly safe to say that office jobs rarely demand us to step out of our comfort zone and experience even a smidgen of fear unless the word redundancy rears it head.   Taking on a holiday challenge jolts us out of our passive mental state to board a roller coaster of fear and excitement.  Once we ride through the fear and succeed in our challenge, we realise that the barriers have only ever been in our head.  Whether it’s your first 5K run or you’re taking on Everest base camp, getting out of your comfort zone will give you the confidence to take on any number of new challenges in and out of your working life.

Achieve your wildest dreams:

In the hectic rush of the 9-5, the years speed by at an alarming pace leaving us with advanced skills in blue-sky thinking and a knack for navigating the perilous waters of office politics.  When we eventually retire, we’re left with a few vague recollections of the projects we worked on and the job titles we amassed over three or four decades.  But what are the accomplishments that we will feel most proud of in 20 or 30 years time? For me, it’s learning to swim late in life and trekking up to North Africa’s highest mountain.  What are the achievements that will stand out for you?

Expand your experience:

in our day to day lives, we live in narrow confines: eating in the same restaurants close to work, taking the same route home every day and seeing the same friends most weekends.  This familiarity also extends to holidays with 30% of UK workers going to the same holiday resort every year.  Seeking adventure, forces you to explore new territory, whether that’s mountains or sea, deserts or rain forests frequently in far-flung destinations which you may never have considered before.  This process of expansion continues when you return home as you you seek other new experiences or venture to more adventurous destinations on your next office break.

A brief stop while hiking from Port Eynon to Rhossili Beach on the Gower Peninsula

Hiking from Port Eynon to Rhossili Beach, Gower Peninsula

Bond with others

Taking on an adventure creates opportunities to really bond with others in a way that rarely happens in day to day life.  On my trek to Mount Toubkhal, we all experienced a cocktail of fear, excitement and apprehension as we took on the unknown on a daily basis.  Expressing our more vulnerable sides, opened up a whole new level of intimacy as people revealed more about themselves and their lives than I would ever have learned during a lifetime sitting next to them in the office.

Create life-long memories

Our most vivid memories are usually formed from the experiences where we felt most engaged.  Returning to the same beach resort every year rarely gives us new memories unless we’re having a go at paragliding or diving.  Taking on an adventure requires us to live intensely in the present moment, experiencing emotionally charged moments that stay imprinted on our minds.  More than can be said for the fleeting pleasures of Mojitos on the beach.

Are you taking on an adventure this year?  I would love to hear all about it below.

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