03/18/2015 09:23 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Spin the Globe and Go: Take the Adventure You Always Dreamed About

With warmer temps and longer days comes the promise of summer and--if you're lucky--an adventure more epic than any you've ever taken. To be certain, everyone's idea of adventure is a little different. Some adventurers would prefer to travel to exotic cities where urban life whirls through open-air flower markets, winding among lei peddlers, and mingling with the curried aromas of street carts. Others would prefer a trip to Grandma's house, braving the outdated cartons of milk and the heavy clouds of Aqua Net in exchange for quality time.

Either way, the adventure you've always dreamed about consists of the following 5 ingredients:
  1. Anticipation. Close your eyes. Where do you most want to go? (Okay. So you can't really close your eyes if you're reading this blog entry.) Where does your mind travel when you have a few minutes to dream? The unmatched landscapes of Ireland? The warm climates of Thailand? Maybe you'd like to visit Venice with its labyrinth of water passages that leaves each visitor spellbound. No matter where you want to go, anticipation is a necessary ingredient.
  1. Challenge. Maybe you're ready to forge your own path in Denali National Park or hike one of the 1,000 miles of trails in Yellowstone. Maybe you'd like to tackle the rock climbing at Yangshuo in Guangxi where the limestone crags that once inspired poets now embolden climbers to push themselves to greater heights. No matter your activity of choice, do something that challenges you. Packing a suitcase to do the same ordinary thing somewhere else is hardly an adventure.
  1. Experience. Imagine spending a week or a month visiting demolished historical ruins or expansive city squares. What if you could visit famous temples, crumbling palaces, or ancient alleyways? What if you could do all this without a map or carefully crafted agenda? What if you were free to travel at your own leisure with nothing but the sun and your inner compass to guide you? These experiences would stay with you forever.
  1. Exploration. Another necessary element for a successful adventure is exploration. There's a word for going somewhere you've already been--staycation. Unless you're interested in vegging on the couch and eating stale potato chips for a week, don't do it. Go someplace you've never been. Make a pact with yourself not to eat at any restaurant you can enjoy back home.
  1. Risk. Risk is a necessary component to any lasting adventure. No, I'm not talking about getting-into-a-country-sans-a-passport risk. Nor am I advocating you drink the water in certain instances (though, what doesn't kill you can make you stronger). What I am encouraging you to do is pick an adventure that challenges you in some way. Go somewhere outside your comfort zone. Go somewhere where they don't speak your language or eat your food. Your destination of choice should stir the butterflies in your stomach. It should remind you that the world is bigger than you and waited to be discovered.
The beaten path isn't all it's cracked up to be. This summer, spin the globe and go. Take the adventure you've always dreamed of. You'll make it home with a suitcase of souvenirs and more memories than you ever thought possible.