At the end of every year, we find ourselves looking back. Where did the time go, we sometimes wonder. Summer and fall seem to evaporate as soon as they’ve begun, and with them all the time we thought we had. Next year, we promise ourselves. Next year we’ll squeeze in that backpacking trip, that climb, or that epic bike tour.
But how do you make sure this year is that next year? For advice, we sat down with Liz Thomas (trail name: Snorkel). Thomas is a record-setting thru-hiker and has completed over 20 long-distance trails, including the “Triple Crown” of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, and a number of original urban thru-hikes through major cities across the U.S. She’s also the author of Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-hike. Over the last few decades, she’s made a career out of finding adventure anywhere.
Here are her tips for making 2022 your most adventurous year yet.
1. Make a Mini Bucket List
“A little bit after the holidays at the end of the year, I sit down and get a mini bucket list going,” Thomas says, which is a great way to organize dreams and goals for the upcoming year. Grab a sheet of paper and jot down three to five adventures you want to prioritize.
2. Lock Yourself In
Sometimes dreams slide to the backburner when everyday obligations pile up. But the best way to adventure more is to be resolute about making time for it, Thomas says. “For me, getting stuff on a calendar way in advance is a way to get out more,” she notes. “If you can put a deposit on a campground or hotel early, do it. The more you lock yourself into a trip, the more likely you’re actually going to go when the time comes.”
3. Loop in Some Accountability Buddies
It’s easy to bail on yourself. It’s not so easy to bail on friends. So, when you’re excited about trip planning in the beginning of the year, contact a few of your favorite adventure buddies and get some PTO on the calendar together. Plus, “planning as a group can get everyone super excited about an adventure,” Thomas says—as high collective psych is the best form of accountability.
4. Explore Your Neighborhood
When time is tight or the weather turns in the mountains, it’s time to open your eyes to the limitless adventure to be found close to home. Look for local parks you’ve never visited, concoct some new bike routes, or make like Thomas and plan an urban hike. “One of the things I really love about urban trips is that even on the streets you might drive a lot—it’s a very different experience when you walk them,” she says. “Walking, you see so many things you’d never noticed before. You see how all the streets and paths are connecting.”