Even though there are times when you can aimlessly wander somewhere and you can find something interesting, backyard adventures usually don’t just happen without any effort. More often than not, if you aimlessly wander without a purpose other than to find something interesting you will find a lot of the same stuff you see everyday. There are a few things that you can do to help increase your chances of finding something interesting in your own backyard and anyone can do them!
Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I wouldn’t call myself an expert at finding them, but I think many of my friends who live here in Japan with me are. I have recently picked up a few key points to finding a backyard adventure after tagging along with them that I thought I would share with you. To be specific there are 4 steps that I have found to be useful.
STEP 1: Choose An Area to Explore Carefully.
Is there an area of your hometown you don’t know much about but has always intrigued you? Is there a place that seems deserted and like no one is interested in it? Is there somewhere you have never been before but notice every time you drive past? These are the types of places where things are hidden. Where your adventure begins.
Picking a good area of town is key to finding a good adventure. On my most recent backyard adventure, my friend Nick decided he wanted to explore an area behind Maruoka castle that we often go to for BBQs. It’s a gorgeous area of Japan where the roads wind around the mountains and up towards a small dam. We always thought our BBQ area was the best “secret spot” that this mountainous dam area had to offer, but boy were we wrong!
Once you have your area clear in your mind its time to move onto step number 2.
STEP 2: Gather Information.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “true adventurers don’t gather information! They head out into the unknown and see where it takes them!” I think that’s baloney. You should know a bit about where to go and what you might find when you go there. If your exploring an area of your town that has a bayou you might want to know if you should wear boots for all the sticker burs in the tall grasses (I’m from Texas, remember?) Coming prepared, or as prepared as you can be, will help you to have a positive and successful purposeful wandering experience.
In the case of adventuring by our Dam BBQ spot, Nick google earth searched the area looking for any interesting places in the area. After searching the area he called me and a few other friends to let us know he thinks he found a nice watering hole that could be epic. With so few sunny summer days left we decided to head out that very friday.
Nick went ahead on an evening after work to check it out and see what we would need. Good thing we did because we did need a few good ropes to climb down into it safely.
STEP 3: Solo or with friends?
Originally I was going to write step 3 as, “find good company,” but then I thought about how many wonderful solo adventures I have had and decided against it.
Depending on your mood and what you want to get out of this adventure, you should decide if you want to invite a few good friends or if you would rather trek on your own.
If you are looking for introspection and thoughtfulness go alone or take a good friend who is good at engaging in those kinds of talks. If you are looking to get into a bit of trouble or make some serious memories a big group might be better. Its up to you.
STEP 4: Look for the positive.
To me this is the MOST important step. Not every adventure is blog worthy. Not every purposeful wander looks like the photos under the #wanderlust hashtag on instagram. But that doesn’t mean all adventures weren’t worth the effort or the time.
Each time you venture into a new place there is something you can learn. The revelation may not be mind blowing, the findings may not be glamorous, but they are there. Maybe all you found was that everything about your area of exploration is inconvenient and unhappy. However, you didn’t know that before! Lucky you that you know that and can now avoid that area!
Choose to take every lesson as a positive no matter how small. If you start to let yourself get negative about each outing you have you will give up. If you give up, every possible INCREDIBLE MIND BLOWING adventure will never happen and you’ll never learn the best places and things in your very own hometown.
Here are some more pictures from my adventure to the swimming hole and Dam just east of Sakai city. I’m sad we only found it during the last few weeks of summer. However, Now I know where I am going as soon as the weather starts warming up again in May!