You know that feeling when an epic adventure comes to an end? I am talking about that sadness that might come over you when you get off the mountain and you have a pack full of wet gear, your day job and all of the chores of daily life waiting for you. This is perfectly normal, I call it Adventure Funk, and here is how I recommend dealing with it.
Epic adventures are like Christmas morning (if you aren’t a fan of Christmas then insert your holiday of choice) where you might spend months and lots of money to prepare only to have the fun part flash by in a day or week. To make matters worse it is possible to go from epic to everyday life in just hours; I was sitting back at my desk just 48 hours after standing on the summit of Mount Rainier on other side of the country. Because of this I think that Adventure Funk is natural but it is ok because there is a cure.
- Plan your next adventure
The best way to get over Adventure Funk is to plan another adventure. This way you have something to plan, save and train for. You might think this sets you up for a never-ending cycle of adventure followed by Adventure Funk followed by planning another adventure and you would be right. Honestly, is there a better way to live?
- Share photos and stories with your friends and family
Show those summit shots and the story of that epic 12-hour summit assault with friends and family who didn’t get to join you on the adventure. Maybe leave out the part when you had to self-arrest or cross-sketchy terrain; Moms don’t like stuff like that. This lets those who care about you know what you went through and it lets you relive the adventure by telling the story. As a bonus it will make you the center of attention at your next family gathering since people love hearing about crazy adventures more than they like to hear your uncle rant about his tax return.
Bonus tip: Present your stories and pictures at your local senior center. This will let you brighten someone else’s day through your experience; what could be better than that?
- Take a day or two to reflect
Taking some time to relax and reflect can build a critical buffer between your adventure life and everyday life. If you are on the summit one day and in the cubicle the next then there is no transition time and an epic Adventure Funk is likely to set in. I know this is not always possible since most of us don’t have unlimited vacation time and life’s responsibilities don’t like to wait until we are ready for them.
- Write a blog post
A blog post lets you relive your quest through words and it lets you connect with a community of readers who will encourage and inspire you. A blog post has the added benefit of making it easy to share your story with anyone who asks about it. This way when your coworker asks, “How was that mountain you climbed?” you can give them a link to the story with photos instead of just saying “good”.
- Try something new
The whole reason, in my view, that Adventure Funk happens is because we get excited about something then it happens and we feel a little let down when there is nothing to be excited about anymore. If you don’t want to plan another adventure right away then find something new to be excited about. Try a new activity, read a new book, take a local day trip to somewhere you have never been or anything else that is new to you. This gives you something else to be excited about and it broadens your horizons!
There you have it; that is how I recommend dealing with Adventure Funk! Now get out there and do something!
I should note that I am not a medical doctor and, as far as I know, Adventure Funk is not a recognized medical condition.
2 thoughts on “Adventure Funk and How to Deal With It”
I’d saved this link in my inbox for awhile and then put off reading it for too long. I enjoyed your outlay of that inevitable feeling we each experience after the high. I don’t necessarily have an answer to it, but I find truth in the words of Rene Daumal, when addressing the answer of “why we climb”:
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”
The real challenge of climbing is that it challenges us to bring that better, more engaged, more enlivened, part of us into everyday life in the valley.
Wishing you many satisfying summits–and many more happy climbs–in the meantime!
Thank you for this comment! It really puts things into perspective. If we keep part of the adventure in who we are then that is a great way to keep the funk at bay!