3 types of fun in adventure

Since I started out on my adventuring journey, especially with my Canoe Club, we’ve always talked about there being 3 types of fun. Before the summer, most of my kayaking definitely sat in type 2 fun. I was shit scared whilst it was happening, sometimes in tears. But as soon as I got off, I’d have the biggest, beaming smile on my face.

I find having an understanding of these helps you process the feelings you have when out on an adventure. It helps me remind myself that feeling scared, nervous or anxious is ok and that it’s part of the fun journey. And give it a minute, a day, a week I’ll look back and realise I loved that moment.

Below I briefly talk through the types of fun through my adventuring lens.

Type 1 Fun: fun at the time and fun after

Type one fun and adventure happens every day, especially at the moment when we’re locked to the confines of our houses due to Covid. For me, this could be a stroll in the park, having a beer or glass of wine with an amazing view, some easier climbing routes or a nice gentle flat water paddle.

I think as you build up your skills, experience and knowledge, more and more falls in to type 1 fun. Which is great as that’s how you know you’re progressing in my view! But it also means you’re hopefully trying other things to tick the type 2 box.

Type 2 Fun: not so fun at the time, but fun after

Type two fun is where it gets really interesting. And where adventure addiction tends to play out. This is fun where you’re scared or pushed whilst you’re doing the activity, adrenaline pumping, and it maybe not feeling 100% fun in the moment, but you look back on it and wish you could do it all over again.

For me, this is when I’m lead climbing (unless it’s a super easy route) or when I’m trying new things out in my kayak like looping. Or maybe on a really long hike that hurts like hell, but you want to do it all over again once it’s over. Running definitely sits in type 2 fun for me!

A couple of years ago I took part in a Scout challenge called the Southern 50. We basically had to hike 50km as quickly as you can. It was a killer! I remember being in so much pain and really struggling for the last 10k or so. I said never again. But within a week, I was putting the date for the next event in the diary.

When it comes to building my confidence, type 2 fun can be super helpful. Over the last few months I’ve found that doing small things every time I’m out in my kayak that starts to push in to type 2 fun makes for huge progression over a short period of time. You’re not in the space for long enough that it becomes too scary, but in type 2 long enough that you stretch yourself. Some discomfort shows you’re pushing yourself to grow. But too much and I’d be at risk of ending up in type 3 fun…

Type 3 Fun: not fun at the time, not fun after

Type 3 fun is definitely where I don’t want to be when I’m on a journey that’s all about building my confidence, not breaking it. I’ve been close. Swims that have massively knocked my confidence. Or falls in trad climbing that have left me with some pretty impressive bruising. But I’m pretty sure I’ve not actually hit type 3 fun otherwise I’m not sure I’d still be doing those types of adventure today.

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