paragliding mountains scenery

Overturn a midlife crisis with adventure travel. Seriously!

Apr 17, 2023
Reading time: 7 minutes

Midlife crisis looming? Or are you already in the thick of it? While therapy is certainly a good idea, so too is making some practical changes. We encourage you to make adventure travel one of them, as here are five important ways it can revitalise a life.

Midlife looks different for everyone. So too, then, the mid-life crisis.

For some, it’s driving the same route to school and going to the umpteenth kids’ birthday party on the weekend.

For others, it's enduring yet one more endless board meeting and choosing between equally grubby-looking seats on the train ride home.

Whatever it looks like for you, it’s about the crushing monotony of ‘same same’.

ginger tabby cat yawning


But the midlife crisis is also about the realisation that death isn’t just something that happens to others.

Our twenties and thirties rushed past in a blur, and many of us didn't have the time to ‘stop for Death’. But as the great poet Emily Dickinson reminds us:

He kindly stopped for me.

And once this phrase settles upon you like a soft winter mist, midlife is upon you.

The midlife crisis was created in 1957

The midlife crisis was introduced in London in 1957.

That’s when a 40-year-old Canadian named Elliott Jaques stood before a meeting of the British Psycho-Analytical Society and read from a paper he’d written, where he introduced the idea of a midlife crisis.

His presentation was received with a crushing silence. Crickets.



Of course Jaques wasn't the first one to ruminate on midlife turmoil.

In the fourteenth century Dante wrote in The Divine Comedy:

Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a forest dark / For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

So how best should we approach a midlife crisis without making too many stupid decisions that could render us broke and alone?

In one phrase: consider adventure travel! (And no, don’t break a leg.)

5 ways adventure travel knocks a midlife crisis off its perch

Here are five reasons adventure travel is a great idea for helping you to navigate your way through a midlife crisis to the other side ...

1. It puts some passion back in your life

Passion is that thing which in a moment can make you feel most alive. And for everyone, this looks different. 

Two adults riding bicycles and smiling


Adventure travel can help you to rediscover your passion for life by exposing you to new and exciting experiences.

The idea of adventure looks different from person to person. And probably it looks different to you now from what it did 20 years ago.

Adventure may no longer be walking down Khao San Road eating fried cockroaches. The recent version of you might be excited about different things, and hopefully even have more funds to pursue them!

Midlife could be the perfect time to reconnect with your wild side, whatever that now looks like. Or maybe it's a chance to feel like a fresh or revised you around your kids. Or both!

Group rafting on river


Remember that it's massively good for children to see their parents full of enthusiasm for things!

2. It breaks the stagnation

Another common symptom of a midlife crisis is a feeling of being stuck, or even trapped.

You may feel like you're in a rut, doing the same things day in and day out. You find yourself with a bond and a bunch of employees. With stickies reminding you when the trash is collected and when your licence needs renewing.

It's enough to make anyone hurt their jaw with an existential yawn.

Cycling safari rhino


A timely adventure trip interrupts all of the mundanity. It punches a decisive hole in the linear 'same-liness' of your life. It adds a surprise twist to the story you're bored writing.

And for many adults there may be some kids in the mix too – either in nappies or being endlessly ferried around.

The reality is that kids need stability. So here you are, in the throes and woes of stability. So how do you marry their need for stability with your desperate desire to break free?

Camping site and family


Either you break away for a short time-out, sans family. Or you take the kids along! You'll need to take the adventure at the pace they can handle, but adventures come in all shapes and sizes. There's no rulebook, after all.

Either way, make adventure a priority and help yourself to shape your midlife narrative, not the other way around.

Father and son sea kayaking


3. It gives you fresh perspective and insights

A midlife crisis often involves a lot of introspection and soul-searching. Adventure travel can help this process, because it provides you with open time and a new setting for doing just this.



When you're away from the stresses and distractions of everyday life, you have the opportunity to really focus on yourself and your needs. But sometimes sitting on a beach for a week with a journal is too much head space.

An adventure trip could well be a better option, as you're thinking through things while endorphins are flooding your brain. You want the very best version of you to help tackle the question of what you really want moving forward in life.

Snow bikes


4. It gifts you new connections and friendships

One of the challenges of the midlife crisis is feeling isolated or disconnected from others.

At work, your relationships aren't necessarily with people you'd choose yourself. The same with the fellow parents you chat to every day on the school run. These relationships are somewhat imposed (hopefully not too traumatically so!).

Seeking out adventure puts you in the same boat (sometimes literally) with other folks who share a similar interest and curiosity.

Group pic on Kilimanjaro Lemosho route


Adventure trips lend themselves to forming meaningful connections, which in themselves can combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Joining a group adventure trip is an even better way to grease social interactions and help you get to know others in a sustained way that could lead to incredible bonds and friendships – perhaps even life-changing ones!

George K. Kilimanjaro. 8-day Lemosho. Campsite. Clouds, mist, tents, climbers


5. It gets you feeling accomplished in a fresh way

Finally, adventure travel can deliver an empowering sense of accomplishment and achievement.

When you set out to conquer a physical challenge like climbing a mountain or canoeing a river, you push yourself in new ways and discover more things you're capable of doing.

You really can teach an old dog new tricks!

Man standing on ice floe

If you choose an activity that's a proper challenge, you give yourself something to work towards and the chance for a real sense of accomplishment.

The midlife crisis is often characterised by an onslaught of self-doubt, perhaps even 'self dislike'.

The very nature of adventure travel is that you engage in an activity (such as trekking or abseiling) that forces you to face a fear or take on a challenge. Doing so boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem.

It might be just what you need to remind you that can do new and hard things!

Man climbing rock as seen from below


And even if you don't 'succeed' in the challenge, you remind yourself that it's about the journey, and the effort, not the prize. That's the same with life, not so?

Ideas for midlife adventure travels

So what are some travels that you could consider if you're feeling inspired to treat your midlife crisis to some adventure therapy?

Here are a few ideas:

  • A multiday trek
  • A pilgrimage
  • A rafting or canoeing trip
  • A yacht trip
  • A cycling or mountain biking trip
  • A skiing holiday
  • A safari
  • A caving adventure
  • Camping
  • Paragliding
  • Snow sledding
  • An RV or 4x4 trip
  • Learning to rock climb
  • Learning to scuba dive
  • Learning to mountaineer
  • Learning to surf

We could go on.



The main thing we want here is to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, reflect, connect and try to shape a future that you can get excited about!

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

-Abraham Lincoln