How I Learned Resilience Through Adventure Travel

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I recently read a post by Blake Snow on Entrepreneur that outlines a few of the many reasons why entrepreneurs should prioritize travel, and it reminded me of the lessons my own travel adventures have taught me. As Snow puts it, one of the most important lessons an entrepreneur can learn while trekking through a rainforest or paragliding above a beautiful blue ocean is “adaptive resilience.”

In his post, Snow recalls preparing for a 300-foot Bungee jump in Costa Rica.

“The thrill of overcoming that and similar experiences have made me better able to withstand the seemingly frivolous wrinkles that business throws our way,” he writes.

I share that experience. Adventure travel reminds me of my humanity, and how very small, weak and insignificant we humans are in the scope of nature and wildlife.

In front of my computer, I’m a powerful leader and the queen of my household. I’m a master of my equipment and can slay any challenge that comes my way.

In the middle of nowhere, I’m just a human. My survival comes down to my ability to use my senses, experience, body, mind and teamwork. And for most humans who work in front of desks, being outside in nature in an adventure travel setting is dangerous. We are not as well-practiced as those who work outside with their hands every day.

So I rediscover how to really use all of my senses, in combination with my brain, in combination with my experience, in combination with my physical body, to solve challenges and get where I need to get safely.

While paying close attention, I’ve been able to avoid so many dangers — hearing a falling rock that could signal a rock slide, or spotting a snake that could be poisonous, altering my path to avoid touching poison oak or poison ivy, or even preparing the basics like water, dry socks and first aid in my day bag.

In everyday life, I’ve become more conscious of my immediate environment. In the last two weeks, three people have noticed and verbalized how present I am. I notice everything about my surroundings, using every available sense. That’s helped me storytell, and sell… and see beauty.

Another resilience benefit: I now qualify danger in a much more realistic fashion, and feel less stressed overall whenever I’m home and doing something online. It’s as if my mind is filtering for me: Is the email I’m reacting to really as urgent as the crackle of a falling rock behind me? Or do I just need to breathe?

Traveling and exploring, in general, have so many benefits, but going on a real adventure provides an unmatched perspective. And sometimes, that perspective is all we really need to face risks and that pesky feeling of fear head-on -- in the business world and in life.