I have been thinking about bringing new life to old adventures lately. I do not enjoy doing the same things over and over again. That is why I always choose to go somewhere new instead of to the same vacation spot year after year. I know plenty of people who are perfectly content to return to the same city/island/country/beach/timeshare/etc. over and over again. That is great for them. However, that is not my style. If you are like me, and you enjoy discovering the new, then repeat adventures can sometimes get a little old.
This past weekend, I attended my 12th Braun Brother Reunion (a music festival in Challis, Idaho, that we refer to as BBR). It was the first time in 12 years that I was not looking forwarding to attending the event. In fact, R and I had decided that 2017 would be the “make it or break it” year for this particular festival.
For that reason, I treated this year a little differently than previous years. I am happy to report that I had an enjoyable time and I am planning to attend next year—a decision I made after trying out a new approach. If some of your adventures are feeling a little stale (like BBR was for me), perhaps a few of the ideas listed below will help bring new life to old adventures. If not, it might be time to find a new adventure.
How to bring new life to old adventures
First things first, you need to take a hard look at why you are doing something that may not bring you the joy it once did. Family obligation? Opinionated/overbearing friend? Habit? These may or may not be good enough reasons to continue. Only you can make that call.
When I sat back and really thought about why I go to BBR, several things immediately came to mind:
- I love, love live music (particularly the bands that typically perform at BBR).
- Spending time in the mountains is one of my most favorite activities.
- I really enjoy getting out of town, even if it is only for a few days.
- Spending time with people who appreciate the same kind of music I do is a thrill.
- I live for taking vacation days and getting out of the office.
When viewed like that, I realized I would much rather spend three days in the mountains with friends, listening to music, than going to work. It is that simple.
Next came the not-so-simple part: finding a way to enjoy BBR again. Below are some suggestions, based on my experience this year, for breathing new life to old adventures.
Find a new approach
Because I have been attending BBR for so many years, it is easy to focus on all of the negative changes and lament the loss of the “good old days.” An increase in size has led to some growing pains that include larger crowds, longer lines and much stricter rules. Given all of this, my old way of enjoying the festival is no longer possible. Therefore, it was time to find a new way.
This year, instead of arriving when the gates opened as we used to (and then getting angry that we missed the first band due to security’s inability to efficiently scan and get people into the venue), we simply hung around camp and arrived late. First, we made sure there were no early acts we wanted to see. By the time we arrived at the venue, the lines were gone and our wait to get in was minimal. Security was still inefficient and we missed out on some of the music, but we were more relaxed going in and less irritated at the situation.
It was refreshing to see what a different approach did for my attitude and my outlook. I would certainly recommend you try something new before you throw in the towel completely.
Find your tribe
We have been hanging out and camping with the same crew at BBR for several years now. Honestly, they are one of the main reasons I enjoy this music festival so much. But this year, there was some strife in the group. We knew about it before we left and it was one of the reasons we were not looking forward to attending BBR this year. Although it had nothing to do with us personally, we were caught in the cross hairs of awkward and uncomfortable.
However, this is a group that appreciates good music and fun times. Awkward and uncomfortable did not stand a chance with them and I did my usual laughing until my stomach hurt. In fact, we bonded more than usual with a couple of gals in the group (our all-girl cover band, singing mostly 90s country, is just about ready to hit the road).
Having a group that enjoys the same things you do can make all the difference—good or bad. Make sure you are experiencing your adventures with the right tribe. Find a new one if you have to. Adventures, both old and new, are always better with friends.
Find something to do
Some (or probably most) would say that a three-day music festival is activity enough for one weekend. However, that is not really how R and I roll. Even with all of the music and shenanigans with the group, there is still some downtime. Sure, we like to sit around and chat with our crew, but we can only do that for so many hours. After a while, we get a little restless and need something more to do before it is time to go to the venue.
One thing we did this year (and have done previous years), was take a scenic float down the Salmon River. It may be the easiest rafting trip on the planet, but it is fun and relaxing and we get to see a lot of Idaho wildlife. It eats up a good portion of the day that is not filled with music. In previous years, I have hiked to a remote hot springs, visited an old mining town and gone to lunch with a friend in a neighboring town. These mini-adventures are always a good idea in my opinion. On the last day of the festival, we realized that we should have scheduled something to do in the morning since we found ourselves twiddling our thumbs a bit. Perhaps next year we will go for a hike or take a drive down some dirt road.
Unless you enjoy lounging about doing nothing in particular (and it is totally fine if you do, that is just not our style), you will want to make sure you have ideas or plans for how to occupy yourself during downtime. It helps bring some new life to old adventures.
Find something new to try
As stated previously, I love seeing new places and discovering something for the first time. Granted, after you have traveled to a particular place or attended the same event year after year, it is going to be a little challenging to find something new and exciting. But you should at least give it your best effort and you may even be surprised at what you are able to find.
In all my years traveling to Challis, Idaho, for the Braun Brother Reunion, I had never visited the Challis Hot Springs. I had read about it, heard about it and even talked about it a time or two. But I never made the effort to actually see and experience it. This year, I finally made that happen. It was a lovely experience—one I would highly recommend. I can see a visit to the hot springs easily becoming an annual tradition.
As I looked around me this year, I noticed all sorts of undiscovered places including restaurants, hiking trails and unmarked dirt roads. It will not be difficult to try something new in the upcoming years, provided I want to take time away from all of the other fun things I like to do.
Find a local
Getting a local’s perspective is excellent advice for anything travel related. It is advice I think of and use often when I am going somewhere new. However, it is not something I tend to think of and use when I am going somewhere I have been before. And that is just stupid.
Three years ago, a local shared with us his favorite place to eat lunch in Salmon, Idaho. It was delicious and we made sure to go back the next year. This year however, we discovered that the restaurant had closed down and been replaced by something new. Instead of hightailing out of the new place and heading to a place our raft guide recommended, we decided to try it out. Bad decision. It was nothing like we had enjoyed in previous years and I cannot help but wonder what our experience would have been if we had listened to our raft guide.
Locals know what they are talking about. Whether you are looking for a good place to eat or a hidden gem to explore, ask a local. And for goodness sake, make sure you learn from our Salmon lunch spot experience and actually take their advice!
Old does not have to be boring. If you have got some old adventures that you are just not ready to give up yet, try making them fun and exciting again—which may be as simple as choosing a new approach or finding a new place to eat. You will not know until you try.