By Kyra Sacdalan
Adventure is calling! But, it can be a lonely pursuit. Ever wanted to convince a pretty guy or girl to come with you or just want to share the experience with a new friend? Here's how, and how to make sure they have a good time, too.
Camping is a pastime that anyone from the average joe to the avid mountaineer can share. Its setting and challenges may vary, but the unchanging, inviting characteristics are interacting with nature, witnessing beauty and unearthing the unknown. And it feels good to share that with someone.
First, plan your adventure
Whether its their first time or hundredth time camping, you should first approach your candidate with a well thought-out plan. Having something that you can present fully and confidently — including the sights, lagoons, hidden treasures and beautiful jungle or whatever — will help your proposal. Know where you want to go, what you want to see, what you'd like to do; then come up with options to allow for a variety of interests. To want company means you need to be flexible with the schedule, the attractions you'll visit and even the packing, but you'll want to keep a goal in sight.
Get comfortable with rejection
Not everyone is ready or willing to enjoy the outdoors. So not everyone is going to say yes. Learn what no looks like and don't waist time on it. Finding someone who can share your adventures is a worthwhile goal to risk some rejection for. Don't dwell on the emotional repercussions. Face facts, move on and get going.
Offer your expertise
You'll probably be inviting someone who's less experienced. Help them out, give them confidence and don't expose doubts. But do present challenges and risks truthfully and help them prepare for them through your experience. First timers or people who are just new to a specific activity can easily get stressed out about stuff that's not pertinent, important or even a real problem.
Share your experiences in the past, focus on the positive, but present the downsides too, then offer your tips and know-how on getting through them.
You'll also need to get them geared up with stuff that fits them and will keep them safe. This may be a mixture of your own equipment, stuff you can borrow from other people and also new stuff you'll need to buy. It can help break down barriers for them if you help ameliorate that cost as much as possible, whether that means breaking out your own credit card or just opening your rolodex and calling people who may be willing to loan you stuff. It's your responsibility to make sure they'll be comfortable, safe, legal and able to carry what they need; which may mean more gear on your back.
Plan with them, not for them
You may be the king of adventure, but that doesn't mean your companion is ignorant of all outdoors wisdom. They need to be part of the planning process not only to learn how to do it and feel included, but to allow them an opportunity to voice concerns or preferences and to put some of their skin in the game. If they were part of making a decision then they'll be more willing to accept its consequences without getting mad at you. Seriously, if you're faced with a choice, just getting their vote on it can be a major advantage of things get challenging or dangerous as a result. And who knows, maybe their perspective will make for a grander excursion.
The little things count
It's the little things that can make the rough days of a journey bearable, if not make them feel better altogether. Chocolate, whiskey, music or even just a tarp to hang out under on a rainy day. Having some go-to pick-me-ups are a great way to create lasting moments.
Having the right tools and knowing how to use them to fix any problems that may arise is a big part of being a leader. Accidents and emergencies happen, be prepared for them. This may mean you know CPR, carry a snake bite kit, always keep hot coffee close at hand or can turn a Zip-Loc into a replacement for a forgotten bowl; creativity is key.
Don't sweat the small stuff
You'll need patience. They may now know something, may not heed your advice or maybe just need to learn something by doing it. Give 'em a break. You're here to have a good time, so don't sweat it. Don't make them feel bad, make them feel confident. Then, they'll want to come with you next time and, maybe then, they'll do a little better.
In the end…
What matters most is going and doing something — anything! Be excited. Nature may be about to batter you, but steadfastly you'll both move towards a distant horizon with dreams of wilderness, campfires and sleeping pads unrolled under a starlit sky. This team of explorers has seized the day!
Kyra Sacdalan is an avid motorcyclist and author. Her work has been published on Expedition Portal, RevZilla and ADV Pulse, among others. Before her rapid ascent into adventure riding, Kyra had spent nearly a decade as an entertainment rigger and rope access technician. Although she's been riding motorcycles for a number of years, her passion for off-road riding and motorcycle touring is newly acquired, and with the help of her boyfriend (and partner in crime) Justin, she fell head over heels.
Photos: Justin W. Coffey